|Brighton & Hove Clarion Cycling Club|
Cycling in Brighton and Hove
The End of the Road for the Cycle Forum - Roger reports
Not many people have been attending recent meetings of the Cycle Forum, and Council officials have failed to bring important new developments to it for comment. No one has been willing to take over as chair following Tony Green's resignation at the last AGM. So it was no great surprise to find apologies flooding in for the meeting planned for last week.
Councillor Ian Davey finally took the initiative; he suggested cancelling the meeting and discontinuing the Forum, at least for the time being.
It's a pity: the Forum has done some useful things and potentially has an important role to play. On the other hand, the lack of commitment on all sides meant that this outcome was pretty inevitable.
We agreed at the Clarion AGM that we should still elect a Forum rep. to have a watching brief in case there are any initiatives to get it started again. I won the election! Watch this space?
Main points from the Cycle Forum Meeting on 16 November 2010
The Council has decided that pedestrians should have priority on the Undercliff Path, but cycling will not be prohibited. New signs will be installed shortly. There will be 'Cyclists dismount' signs and chicane barriers at the café near Ovingdean. Technically it will still be illegal to cycle on the Undercliff unless you are travelling to or from work. This could mean that insurance claims resulting from riding on the Undercliff could be rejected if the insurance company realised it was illegal.
£10,000 had been allocated to establish an off-road walking and cycling link between the Woodingdean cross roads and Falmer. Unfortunately the Council has now said that this work will not go ahead. Improvements to the road junction at Woodingdean will still go ahead with a budget of £410,000.
There is a useful way onto the NCN80 near Hangleton, which is blocked by barriers. Provided local residents don't object, the barriers are going to be removed; the path will be widened and given a new surface suitable for cycling. We will be using this link as part of the next ride (5 December), although the work won't have been done yet. So we'll have to lift our bikes over the barriers (not difficult).
Transport 21 is holding a public meeting about the new Local Transport Plan and about air quality at the Calvary Church in Viaduct Road, probably on 2 December at about 7 or 7:30 - exact details not yet finalised.
The Forum will not be responding to the Council's consultation on the Local Transport Plan - mainly at the suggestion of Councillor Ian Davey who said it would not be necessary if individual cycling groups are going to respond.
Cycling officer Tracy Davison is preparing guidance, which will clarify the legal and enforcement issues discussed recently about parking in cycle lanes. The document will be on the Council website and will be given to parking enforcement officers. Of course it will not solve the real issue that enforcement against motorists who stop for two or three minutes to use a convenience store is not feasible.
The Council is hoping to get general approval to install 'No entry except cycles' signs where appropriate. At present Department for Transport approval is needed for each sign of this kind. This may mean that contraflow cycle routes can be introduced through the North Laine, which is almost impenetrable at present.
There was a lot of discussion about the effectiveness of the Cycle Forum. It doesn't have a regular chairperson at present; attendance is poor; the Council does not consult about new cycling related schemes. I tried to point out some of the small but useful positive outcomes of our efforts. There is a chance that it will fold at the next meeting if things don't improve.
Cycle Forum (14/9/10) - Roger reports
Undercliff Path:- still no news on legalisation of cyclng. A Council report has been prepared, which may recommend it; It has been seen by Councillors but details are still not public.
King's Esplanade:- some improvements are to be made signage and parking to reduce the risk to cycle path users at blind corners. More significant improvements such as moving the cycle path onto the footway are not financially feasible at present.
Elm Grove:- none of the proposed changes to parking nor the introduction of one-way streets are now going to happen as the result of public consultation.
Stanmer Park \ Sussex University:- big changes are afoot. There will be a new entrance to the University. A toucan crossing will be provided for cyclists on the northbound cycle route but it may not be installed until after the new entrance is brought into use - so if you cycle that way, watch out!
Falmer Station etc:- there is to be a pedestrian bridge across the railway line just south of the station to provide access to the University of Brighton; cyclists will be able to use it but will be required to dismount. A new cycle link between the stadium and Moulsecoomb is planned along the east side of the railway line; it is expected to be open in time for the first match at the stadium (16th August 2011).
Parking in the Northbound Cycle Lane between Elm Grove and the Gyratory:- there was lots of discussion about the legal niceties of cycle lanes, arising from John Clinton's original query. Phil Clarke, Council Road Safety Manager explained that it is illegal to park in most of the Lewes Road lane because of double yellow lines, but enforcement officers don't have time to issue tickets because people only stop briefly. If the cycle lane had a solid white line it would be illegal for vehicles to cross it, but it would be an offence requiring police action and they would only prosecute if they actually witnessed an obstruction occurring.
There were some positive conclusions: offending vehicles should be reported to Operation Crossbow because if the same number keeps coming up the police will contact the owner. A longer term vision is needed for this stretch of road, for example providing some reasonably located short term parking for shoppers.
20 mph Limits:- a council scrutiny panel has made various recommendations for new limits but they are unlikely to be implemented because of the cost and because a city-wide speed limit review is currently under way.
Gap in Seafront Cycle Route at Wharf Road:- the Forum had asked for the cycle path to be extended past Hove Lagoon to join Basin Road South but it is not going to happen; advance stop lines will be provided at the traffic lights where Wharf Road joins the A259.
Cycle Forum Report – Kings Esplanade
In Roger's report in the last issue he included the following item:
Well, first of all thanks to Roger for raising the issue. As for Tracy's response, the first thing to say is that it is very heartening to actually get a response; I've raised this issue orally and in writing on at least two previous occasions over recent years without getting even an acknowledgement - so I'm very appreciative of the fact that the issue has at least registered.
The suggesting for a new give way sign is welcome, But the problem remains. If we are concerned to minimise the legal consequences to the local authority in the event of a serious accident (God forbid!) then having stop lines on the cycle path may achieve this. But frequent observation - I use this route at least once or twice a week throughout the year - tells me that I have never seen anyone stop at either of the lines - except on a couple of occasions when an accident has been narrowly avoided by a cyclist making an 'emergency stop' as a vehicle rounded one of the blind corners. Many cyclists in fact continue - contrary to the by-laws - to ride along the promenade after the path behind the King Alfred crosses the road.
One of the main features of good cycle path planning is to avoid having 'halt signs' (or ones saying 'cylists dismount' - though the phrase has a certain archaic charm) To have two halt signs in about 100 metres is - to put it mildly - not a very good idea – particularly since the chances of anyone taking any notice of them is close to zero.
The only acceptable solutions in my view are either to continue the cycle path on the promenade - as it is at both ends of the Esplanade - or to put it on the other side of the road moving the car-parking spaces over to side occupied by the cycle path at the moment.
If you agree with me please let the Council (and Roger) know.
Report on the Cycling Forum Meeting on 13 July 2010
A consultant's report about cycling on the Undercliff Path suggests that it could be legalised provided suitable safeguards could be designed for the area around the café near the St Dunstan's steps.
Ian had asked me to raise concerns about the hazard caused by cars crossing the contra-flow cycle lane in Kings Esplanade. Tracy Davidson, the Council's cycling officer, has looked at the junction with Sussex Road; she said that there are give way signs on the cycle path, which is normal practice where a contra-flow crosses a junction, precisely because of this risk. She is trying to get a give way sign on the surface of Sussex Road as well.
There was a lot of discussion about cycle access to and around the new stadium at Falmer. The Forum is hoping to see plans showing the layout of cycle routes in the area. There will be 120 cycle stands at the stadium.
Plans for a system of one-way streets on the north side of Elm Grove seem to have stalled because of negative responses to the consultation. The Forum wanted to get exemption for cyclists should a one-way system be introduced.
There has been pressure for a while for an off road cycle route from Woodingdean to Falmer (for Albion supporters perhaps), but no action, even though there apparently is money for it in the Local Transport Plan budget.
The Council has £20,000 for minor schemes to improve cycle access from the city to the South Downs – things like improved signage, changes to cycle unfriendly gates, minor re-surfacing etc. If you are aware of any locations where a little bit of money could be useful, let me know.
John Clinton asked me to raise the issue of parking in cycle lanes. In some cases (e.g. Dyke Rd) parking is legal; in others (e.g. Lewes Road) it is illegal but not enforced. There was a feeling that cycle lanes plagued with regular parking are less than useless: they create the impression that cycling has been made safer when in fact it has not. There was even talk of suggesting removal of some lanes of this kind. The Forum wants to produce guidance for appraising if proposed cycle lanes would be rendered useless by parking.
This meeting was the Forum's AGM. Tony Green has stepped down after a year in the chair. No one rushed to take his place so there will be a rotating chair (I shall try to avoid it on the ground of suffering from dizziness). The meeting ended on a rather downbeat note because of recent poor attendance and the lack of positive outcomes from the Forum's activities.
Cycle Forum Meeting 11 May 2010 - Roger reports
Here are the main points of interest from the Cycle Forum:
Automatic cycle counters are now in operation southbound on the A23 and A27 routes into Brighton; as you pass they tell you what number cyclist you are.
New local cycle maps will be published in June during Bike Week. Most of the tourist blurb in previous versions is replaced with useful information for cyclists.
There have been a number of collisions at the junction of Grand Avenue and Church Road so improvements for cyclists are likely.
At Ian's suggestion I raised problems with the westbound, contra-flow cycle lane in Kings Esplanade (near Marrocco's café). The main problem is traffic crossing the cycle lane from side streets. There is also a problem with illegal parking, but this has reduced following recent enforcement efforts. There was general agreement that the design / location of this cycle lane needs a re-think, but the cycling officer, Tracey Davidson doubts if funding could be found. She agreed to look at the possibility of improved signs and road markings at the junctions with the side roads.
A report has been prepared on cycling on the Undercliff Path but it is not publicly available. Council leader, Mary Mears will meet local councillors to discuss it.
The plan for a continuous cycle lane along the Old Shoreham Road is now pretty well abandoned; the Forum is writing to Geoffrey Theobald to complain.
There is funding for transport improvements in the Shoreham Harbour area; the Forum will ask for better routing of National Cycle Route 2 near Hove Lagoon.
There has been concern about the impact on cyclists of a new flyover to be built near the entrance to Stanmer Park. Assurances have been given that a toucan crossing will be provided for pedestrians and cycles.
New parking plans for Elm Grove will involve several roads becoming one-way, including Bonchurch Rd, which some members know well. The Forum is pressing for all roads to remain two-way for cyclists.
Cycling Town funds will be available again this year; the main spending areas are:
Continuing provision of cycle parking on streets and at schools.
Investigation of a possible 'Green Wave' route on the Lewes Road. This is a scheme from Scandinavia, which keeps cyclists moving by using traffic lights to give them priority.
Investigate the feasibility of cycle wheel ramps on stairs at London Road, Moulsecoomb and Preston Park stations.
Create cycle access at the junction of Station Street and Trafalgar Street.
Small grants for cycle-related community groups including the Bike Train.
Improvements for cyclists and pedestrians on the seafront near the West Pier; this area missed out on previous widening of the cycle lane pending completion of the i360 project, but the new plan will go ahead regardless.
Cycle Forum Meeting report, 17 November 2009
[I should have included this in the last circular. Our regular rep is of course Roger, but he couldn't make the last meeting and I deputised. Ian]
Quadrant and Undercliff
Representation on Civic bodies
Cycling Issues Database
Update on the 20mph review
Woodingdean, Lewes Road, UoS
Here's a brief summary of the main points from the meeting on 15 September 2009:
Chris Boocock of Sustrans wrote to the chair explaining that his reason for no longer attending Forum meetings was that Council officers rarely attended. Ironically there were four Council officers present when his comments were reported, but his complaint is a valid one.
One of the four, Tracy Davison, was introduced as the new cycling officer.
Two members of the Council's environmental protection team gave a presentation on air quality management. It seems that Brighton and Hove is currently meeting 7 of the 8 statutory targets; the exception is nitrogen dioxide. They said that the results for this are improving, though some members questioned whether the evidence really supports that view.
There was a serious accident in July near the junction of the Drive and the Upper Drive, caused when a cyclist trying to turn right into the Upper Drive hit one of the low kerbs which separate the cycle path from the main carriageway; she did not see it because she was looking behind to check traffic before pulling out. She was seriously injured. This is clearly a hazard and needs removing. The Council officers were not able to comment because of pending legal action but promised to report back.
There is currently a consultation on plans for a cycle route along the Old Shoreham Road. Concerns were expressed that it will not be a continuous route and will be too narrow. You can see details and comment online at www.brighton-hove.gov.uk/cycling. Consultation ends on 16 October.
The Council is currently carrying out a safety audit related to cycling on the Undercliff Path. At present cycling is not legal on this route unless you are on your way to work in the immediate area. The Forum is keen for legalisation of all cycling.
The Council has refused to allow cyclists to turn right at the Clock Tower from North Street into Queens Road, even though buses and taxis can. The reasons relate to concerns about safety – but it's safe for busses and taxis.
There have been two accidents at the junction of Lewes Road and Coombe Road since the removal of the advanced stop line for cyclists. Council officers are looking at the possibility of re-instating it.
Fred had asked me to raise the lack of cycle parking in central Brighton but there was not enough time because the air quality control discussion took almost an hour – sorry Fred. I'll ask for it to go on the agenda for next time.
The next meeting will be on Tuesday 17 November at 4pm. I can't go – would anyone like to represent Clarion?
City Cycling Forum meeting on 14 July 2009 - Roger's Report
This was the AGM of the Forum and was rather a downbeat meeting. Here are the main points:
Clock Tower: a right turn has been agreed for cyclists from Queens Road towards Churchill Square. There is still confusion over whether a right turn will be allowed from North Street into Queens Road. Reinstatement of the North Street Quadrant cycle route is now recognised as a lost cause (except perhaps by Becky Reynolds).
Undercliff Walk: there have been comments in the press recently that this should remain a 'walk' only. However, Chris Boocock of Sustrans is involved in an initiative which he hopes will persuade the Council to allow cycling.
Air Quality: lots of concern that this is getting worse. The Council has identified areas requiring 'air quality management' but no one knew what 'management' involves. Sam Rouse, one of the Council's air monitoring team, will be invited to the next meeting.
White Bike Memorials: the Devils Dyke Road memorial for the death of cyclist, James Hatcher has been removed by the police because of concerns about safety! There seems to be no consistency in how long roadside memorials stay in place.
Woodingdean – Falmer Route: a 'grass track' is now open and may be cycleable.
Frustration claims a casualty: Chris Boocock of Sustrans announced that he would no longer be attending Forum meetings because of his frustration at the lack of progress.
Councillor Tony Janio tried unsuccessfully to change Chris's mind, saying that while the Council necessarily moves slowly, the forum has had successes. He encouraged members to email him directly if there were issues they wanted the Council to take up.
Others also show symptoms: Chris was not alone in being frustrated. The poor attendance of Council officers at Forum meetings and the lack of a minute taker were amongst the concerns expressed.
Jobs: Adam Pride of Bricycles stood down as chair and Tony Green of CTC took on the job. I volunteered to write the minutes of the next meeting.
Brighton & Hove Cycle Forum Meeting – 12 May 2009
I am afraid I missed half of this meeting – Roger got his meetings mixed up and told me it was starting at 5pm instead of 4, but it turned out that applied to the March meeting, not the May one!
Hence I was unable to make much of the presentation that was going on when I arrived, except to say that it involved on-line maps of cycle routes – something that might be useful to us in planning rides, although of course only if it extends behond Brighton & Hove, into true 'Clarion territory'! The website www.journeyon.co.uk was mentioned, although a quick glance at that did not immediately reveal anything cycling-related.
As on previous occasions when I have attended these meetings, I was somewhat bemused at the level of detail discussed, including the question of whether you can turn right from X street into Y street, and if not, why not … it amazes me that a body that meets for only two hours every two months has time for such details! To be sure, all such items were dealt with fairly quickly, and there was a hint that in future these types of matters will tend to be shunted into the Council's Cycling Issues Database (mentioned in a previous report) and not discussed by the meetings at all. That seems sensible to me, since I feel the Forum should talk only in generalities, or discuss only the most major schemes.
One item that did, I think, merit discussion, because it has implications for all sorts of places, was the question of cycling on the Undercliff route between the marina and Saltdean. Apparently it is illegal to cycle there! (Nobody told us when we had our 'Summertime Special' ride last year!) but because the fine is only £5 and it costs £500 to prosecute someone, it is not enforced. The matter was raised because a cyclist had reported having rocks thrown at them by pedestrians on the undercliff. Everyone felt that this route was an ideal 'shared space' where there is room for both cyclists and pedestrians; the trouble is that the fine exists, not because the Council or anyone else has ever deemed it dangerous to cycle there, but rather, as Mark Strong put it, for 'historical' reasons – basically, when it was built several decades ago, there weren't many cyclists about, so it was made a 'no cycling' route! Worse still – it is felt that if an attempt were made to raise this with the Council with a view to abolishing the fine, it might go the other way and end up having a £500 fine imposed instead, to match that applicable on the Hove promenade. What an absurd situation!
I say this applies to other places, not because of fines, but because it seems to me that people need to learn to use shared spaces. The day after the meeting, a minor 'altercation' occurred in Beaconsfield Road, near where I live, when a pedestrian 'tutted' at a cyclist coming towards her on the pavement. The cyclist had obligingly slowed right down – as I do when I use this route, a busy one-way road which is part of the main route into Brighton – and there was no danger; but such situations can easily get out of control. Mark Strong has been involved in 'shared space'" initiatives elsewhere in the country, and they work, as long as both cyclists and pedestrians behave responsibly.
I also learnt about 'Operation Crackdown' which has a website linked from the Bricycles site. This is aimed mainly at reporting abuse and assault, but apparently if cars are seen parking in cycle lanes, they can be reported to the Crackdown team.
There was mention of a 'stakeholder workshop' being held by Cycling England, on Wednesday 20th May from 5-7.30 at Hove Town Hall. Not sure who is supposed to go, but Roger or I could probably find out more about this from the on-line forum if required.
National Bike Week will be from 14-20 June, and will feature a bicycle ballet in Jubilee Square, and gigs in bike shops, amongst other things. Details are apparently available at www.journeyon.co.uk.
The Cycle Forum is drawing up a constitution; this wasn't discussed, but it was confirmed that Roger's comments on the draft document had been received. I have now also made some comments of my own and sent them in.
The next Forum meeting will be on 14 July (not June as previously proposed) and will include an AGM at which the constitution will be discussed, and (hopefully) adopted.
Cycle Forum Meeting - Joyce's report
I attended the March Forum as a substitute for Roger.
Under Matters Arising it was confirmed that the rumble strips at Anne street are being removed. However it was reported that it was not the developer's work but that it was being done at the cost of the Council. The point was made that there needs to be clearer communication and consultation with cycle interests right at the start of developments to avoid such experiences. It was reported that there is a continuing audit on the New England Quarter to check on the commitments made by the developers.
Brighton & Hove Cycling Forum Meeting - 13 January – Jim's Report
This was my second meeting and it was twice as big as the first, with 19 people in attendance. It was a crowded table and a crowded agenda. With only a 2-hour meeting every 2 months, it's very difficult to discuss things in detail at these meetings – it is more a case of updates, which means you need to know what's going on (and you need to know the jargon) to make much sense of it. As I said in my last report, I don't actually cycle much in Brighton & Hove, so even where I could work out what was being discussed, I wasn't sure what I thought of it.
Of course I was there to represent Clarion rather than as an individual. Quite what that means is another matter; we can hardly have our own meeting to discuss the agenda and mandate the delegate beforehand, so it is more a case of representing what I think people would want. But even there, I have no idea what the consensus is among our members on most issues. Even on such a basic thing as new cycle paths, it turns out that Roger (who normally attends these meetings) and I have very different views, as mentioned in the circular. I did get a couple of messages from other Clarion members about this before the meeting, and these were very helpful, but of course there are more than four of us in the Clarion! What does everyone else think?
The main 'big issue' we discussed was the extension of National Cycle Network route 2 from the Palace Pier to the Marina. There was criticism of the short notice given for consultation; however the Forum gave the scheme a cautious welcome, with some reservations. There was widespread support for the planned route along Madeira Drive to be supplemented by one on Marine Parade (the top road) which is more widely used by cyclists at present.
Other issues discussed broadly followed the pattern of the last meeting. There was also discussion about the availability of the minutes of the Forum, and it was agreed that they should be in the public domain, with any confidential issues not minuted. So if you want a detailed report it might be better to get it from the horse's mouth. The Forum has a Yahoo group, which anyone can read, at http://uk.groups.yahoo.com/group/brightonhovecycleforum/ but the 'Files' section (where the minutes are presumably kept) is only accessible to Forum members – so you will have to ask me or Roger if you want them. Having said that they are very comprehensive minutes, which makes it difficult to see the wood for the trees, so I'd recommend reading the summary in the Bricycles newsletter instead. Unfortunately to get that, you have to be a member of Bricycles! But back issues are available on the Bricycles website at www.bricycles.org.uk. Do look at the Yahoo group though; it will give you a feel for what is being discussed, and maybe we can even have our own discussions over long lunches during our rides, and then get Roger to post our thoughts to the group. As I said at the beginning, there is little time for discussion at the meetings, so the Yahoo group is where it should all be happening. (Perhaps we could even have our own on-line discussion group? Fred …?) [it's possible! how about a Facebook group?]
Brighton and Hove Cycling Forum 11 November 2008– Jim's Report
I sat in on this as Clarion rep as Roger couldn't make it. There were people from Bricycles, CTC, Sussex University, Friends of the Earth, the Local Access Forum, and Brighton & Hove Council – the latter including two councillors and a council officer. There was also an invited rep from Sussex Police.
Inevitably there were a lot of references to ongoing issues which were totally new to me, and also a fair bit of jargon flying around. As a Clarion member who does not cycle much in town, apart from the bit between Springfield Road and Dockerills (perhaps it would make more sense for us to be represented on the Polegate or Shoreham cycling forums instead!) I was probably not the best person to participate in these discussions, so, on the whole, I didn't, although I did raise a couple of points that Roger had asked me to, including the dangerously high-kerbed cycle lane in Grand Avenue where a cyclist recently had a serious accident, and our own Leon also had a spot of bother there. I'm not sure what, if anything, is going to be done as a result, but at least it got a mention. The Council is setting up a database of 'cycling issues', so hopefully this issue will be included in that.
Probably the best bit of news is that the cycling contraflow in Ship Street, which several Forum members have campaigned for, but was thought to have been turned down in favour of a one-way only option, is likely to go ahead after all. The 'rumble strips' (strips of very bike-unfriendly cobblestones) in Providence Place, Ann Street and other nearby streets have been the subject of much discussion at previous Forum meetings without any action being taken, but I understand a council officer has now been given the job of expediting their removal. However there is no date set for this.
The police representative spoke about the problem of cyclists jumping red lights, cycling on pavements etc, and there was a discussion about why this happens and what can be done about it. These activities give cyclists a bad name, and it was suggested that it would be helpful if cycling groups could make public statements condemning illegal cycling.
The meeting used up its time allocation and we had to skip one agenda item, 'Cycling Priorities'. This, like many of the issues discussed, was an ongoing one which had also appeared in the minutes (why don't they just use the minutes as the agenda, I couldn't help thinking, so that such duplications are eliminated?) Anyway, we were invited to think about the Cycling Priorities for next time; these were listed on the agenda as:
An end to 1-way streets without 2-way cycling;
It was good to go along and meet some of the local cycling 'movers and shakers'. The next Forum meeting is on Tuesday 13 January; Roger can't make that date either, so there's a chance for someone else to go, but if no-one wants to I would be happy to sit in again.
Points from the Cycle Forum Meeting on 22 July 2008
Roger reports back.
There was discussion about how the Cycle Forum should relate to the City Sustainability Partnership, which is being established under the auspices of the Local Strategic Partnership. Clearly transport is relevant to sustainability, but should the Forum seek direct representation, or press for a transport sub-group to be established on which it would have a place? Gripping stuff!
A safety audit is to be carried out of the new cycle lanes in Grand Avenue (and northward) in Hove. Once that is complete the Forum will call for better publicity of its existence.
The Council has finalised plans for changes to North Street, Brighton, designed to improve pedestrian safety. It has rejected the Forum's plea for a two-way street in Ship Street and decided to create a one-way, southbound route. This option was not included in the original proposals, which went to public consultation and were subjected to a safety audit. It is not clear yet whether a cycle contra flow will be allowed, but either way the Forum is unhappy with the outcome and would have preferred a two-way route for all traffic.
A final decision has also been made against a cycle path at the North Street Quadrant to provide a link for cyclists between North Street and Queens Road; this would have re-instated the route that disappeared when the short road to the west of the Clock Tower was closed. I must confess that I had been a lone voice in the Forum speaking against this idea: I felt that it would cause conflict with pedestrians and create two difficult right turns for southbound cyclists. The Forum will now press (rightly in my opinion) for a right turn at the traffic lights for southbound cyclists from Queens Road towards Churchill Square.
At its next meeting the Forum will try to identify three (say) strategic aims that should be adopted for improving cycling facilities throughout the city. Examples mentioned were no more one-way streets and filling in gaps in the cycle network. The main point is that the aims should be general principles rather than related to specific locations. I am thinking of suggesting more cycle training for youngsters, to develop road sense. If you have any suggestions you would like me to put forward, let me know.
Cycling Forum Meeting – Roger's Report
The council has plans to extend the two-way seafront cycle path east from the Pier to the Marina, to plug a gap in National Cycle Network Route 2. The first section would be on the footpath; then it would be on the road. Madeira Drive is used for events, so the on-road section would only be segregated from other traffic by road markings rather than a raised kerb. This would mean potential conflict between eastbound cyclists and westbound motorists, especially in the section beyond Dukes Mound where the road is narrow. The consensus was that things should stay largely as they are. There were suggestions for a 20mph limit along Madeira Drive, and changing the end-on parking to echelon.
There was discussion about how the Council's new leader and cabinet system would affect the status of the Cycling Forum. Cllr. Tony Janio, is the 'member champion' for cycling and vice chair of the Environment and Community Safety Scrutiny Committee; he will ask the committee to seek advice from the forum where appropriate. (I hope this is a fair report of the outcome of a long discussion!).
There was also talk (generously laced with three letter acronyms) of trying to establish a sustainable transport partnership. I must confess that I start to lose it when confronted with the word 'partnership', unless it relates to solicitors or cohabiters, so I didn't really understand this bit.
Mark Strong did not seek re-election as chair of the Forum. Adam Pride (Bricycles) has taken on the job. Nick Marks (Bikes for Life) was elected vice chair.
Funding is available for a cycle freeway on the Old Shoreham Road; there are no plans yet.
Bike week is 16-20 June. Cyclists can get a free breakfast at Baobab Café on the 16th and Meeting Place Café on the 19th (both from 7:30am – 10am).
There will be a car free day on 21 September.
Hanover Community Association has around £7,000 to spend on secure, on-street cycle storage.
The Southern Railway franchise is currently up for consultation.
Cycle Forum meeting, 1 May 2007 – Ian's report
A useful meeting, I thought. Here's a brief summary of the main points.
Diversion of Seafront cycle path. Southern Water are carrying out a major flood-protection exercise in Hove which involves putting in new sewage pipes and – what concerns us – putting up a large compound on the Lawns opposite Brunswick Terrace to accommodate materials and machinery. It will be there for about a year. A temporary cycle path diversion – with, we were assured, gentler than 90 degree turns at the corners will soon be in place.
Cycle Forum – Mark's proposals for a more permanent and more structured arrangement. Feedback is sought for the next meeting. I will either attach Mark's proposals to this circular or send it on later - depending on whether I manage to get this circular finished before midnight (when I turn into a pumpkin) or not. [reproduced below]
Cycle Demonstration Town project. Dean's report was (justifiably) upbeat.
28 new advance stop lines are now in place. Please let Dean know if you spot any errors in the way they've been done (Dean.Spears@Brighton-Hove.gov.uk)
Regional Route 82 – consultations will take place in June. There will be segregated cycle paths along Grand Avenue and The Drive. Old Shoreham Road will be started in 2009. I have a copy of the Route 82 plans if anyone would like to take a look at them.
Early returns from the Personalised Travel Plans part of the project are encouraging and there has been a great increase in cycle use at local schools.
North Street - work should be finished by November. Mark drew attention to the temporary traffic arrangements in West Streeet – which are not exactly cyclist-friendly.
North Street Quadrant – report for next meeting on 19th June.
Please let me have any comments on these or on issues you'd like raised in good time for this meeting.
Brighton & Hove Cycle Forum – the future
Discussion paper, Mark Strong (Acting Chair), 26 April 2007 Revised 30 April 2007
Two tier structure:
Plus Working Groups (e.g. Health, Engineering, Policy) etc., drawn from Executive and coordinated by Executive members, but with ability to have outside membership.
AGM – full forum
Cycle Forum meeting – 24 January
I thought it was a useful, if at times confusing, meeting... Lots in the pipeline – particularly in connection with the Cycling Demonstration Town (CDT) project and there'll be much to report about this next time, but I'll confine myself here to issues of concern where there are signs of immediate (well, more or less) progress.
North Street Quadrant. A letter is being sent to the leader of the council on behalf of the 'forum'. It explains the concerns and makes it clear that an early rectification of the situation is necessary, from the point of view of safety.
Journey-On. Because of Fred's alert about the unreliability of the routes we had Tim Moore from that organisation at the meeting. He was very up-beat about the project – rather too much so, I thought, if Fred's experience is at all typical. He claimed that 80% of the time the site gave sensible routes. He did agree, though that
Try it for yourself on www.journeyon.co.uk
Providence Place/Ann Street. Jeannette Walsh, the Major Project Officer for the New England area, also attended the meeting. She still seemed unsure, to start with at least, what we were complaining about. An imminent on-site combined approach by Dean Spears and Sustrans will no doubt provide any clarification still needed. The meeting pressed for the removal of the 'cobbles' or failing that for spaces to be left on either side for cycles. My money is on the latter solution being the one that is decided upon – but time will tell. In the meantime, if this route is one you use and you haven't done so already , please still make your views known to Jeanette and the project engineer. Their emails are Jeanette.Walsh@brighton-hove.gov.uk, Leon.Bellis@brighton-hove.gov.uk.
Parking in Cycle Lanes in (eg) Lewes Road. The hardy perennial. Dean reported that this will be part of a coming review. Fingers crossed!
Advanced Stop Lines. These are being done mainly in the CDT area with part of the funding for the project. Both bus drivers and taxi drivers have been reminded not to enter the 'boxes.' I raised Fred's points about Preston Circus. Dean made a note of them – but stresses that further improvements are dependent on funding becoming available.
City Cycling Forum Working Group Meeting
This was a well attended and, I thought, useful and constructive meeting – which is not what I've always felt about its predecessors. As always the proof is in the eating. Fred is putting the minutes on the website (see below) page, so I'm just going to pick out a few items which I think are of particular concern.
North Street Quadrant. (see also my previous report, where I reported that it was likely to be well into 2007 before this was put right). There were two important developments; the group requested the immediate re-opening, and there were assurances that real efforts were being made to ensure that proper consultation will avoid such situations arising in the future. Let's hope so.
Cycling Demonstration Town. Much work is in hand – advance stop lines are being installed at every signalised junction in the Cycle Demonstration Town area (Hove and West Brighton) – a dedicated cycle route will link the seafront and the Downs and the Old Shoreham Road will have cycle lanes up to the city border.
It was reported that the Personalised Travel Planning programme has been one of the cheapest in the country, costing only £10 per head, compared to £30 in some other areas. Brighton & Hove, we were told, has consistently higher levels of cycling than any other Cycling Demonstration Town and the PTP approach is said to have a very good track record in getting people on their bikes. A survey of 2,000 households will be carried out in the coming spring, so we should be able to see how well it has worked in this instance fairly soon.
Opening the Undercliff to cyclists – inevitably, repealing by-laws is a lengthy process involving consultation with all interested parties and opportunities to consider objections, but the Council has approved amending the existing by-law to permit cycling.
Providence Place 'bumps' According to the draft minutes the 'Action' from this agenda item was that 'Members are invited to contact Jeanette Walsh and copy in Leon Bellis with comments regarding this infrastructure.' This is not my recollection of the meeting – and I have already made this clear. In fact the meeting felt that passing the matter back to individuals in this way was completely unsatisfactory and asked that representations seeking the early removal of these obstacles be made at once from the Forum Working Group itself.
That said, I think it will be a good idea if people who have had personal experience of trying to ride over this route - Joyce and Fred spring to mind, but there are probably others – do reinforce what I hope has been the collective demand by contacting the named individuals. I had no idea who they were – but I've found out! Jeanette Walsh is the Major Projects Officer and Leon Bellis the Project Engineer. Their emails are:-
The next meeting is scheduled for 24 January. Please let me have the suggestions and concerns you would like raised.
The minutes are available here as a Word document.
The quarterly cycle monitoring report for all the Cycle Demonstration Towns from Sustrans is available here as a PDF.
City Cycling/Cycle Reps meeting, 9 November
Inaugural City Cycle Forum meeting
As Ian was off at the Tour de France – no not taking part, that would be a coup for Brighton! [hardly! IB] Fred deputised at this meeting, which brought together the Cycle Reps and City Cycling Groups. It was chaired by Paul Jarvis, Health Promotion Advisor (Active Living) and attended by Adam Pride from Bricycles and reps from other organizations, plus Joyce with her council hat on. The first part of the meeting was a discussion on the draft terms of reference for the Forum, which will have an annual celebration in January, organised by the BHCC Walking and Cycling Team. A working group will be made up of cycling groups (max 4) and other organizations which will meet more frequently, every couple of months (and presumably take over the role of the old cycling reps group?). Communications will also be facilitated by an email forum. Joyce and Mark Strong (of Transport Initiatives) wanted a more forceful top aim or objective of just plain promoting cycling full stop, and also adding climate change to the list of objectives, and Joyce wanted the word 'sustainable' added to the vision: 'A healthier population living in a cleaner and safer city.'
The second half of the meeting was taken up by a detailed look at how the CDT (Cycling Demonstration Town) money has been and will be spent. It was too hot for Dean Spears, Principal Transport Planner and former Walking and cycling officer (a role now taken on by Abby Hone) to give his Powerpoint presentation, so he handed out a detailed list of cycling works, 1 April to 20 October 2006. This was divided into infrastructure and 'softer measures'. First was almost £30,000 spent on manual and automatic monitoring. A manual count took place on 12 July and revealed that the number of cycles on Marine Parade, for example, had increased 79% since 2003.
Just under £14,000 of CDT money will be spent on cycle parking – 245 stands around town and at GP's surgeries – and £6,000 on the Bike It project for cycle parking in schools. Other sums are to be spent on the Hove to Hangleton route (£90,000) and the Undercliff Walk (£10,000). Dean was keen to include other sources of funding, by developers (who paid for the £15,000 York Hill contra-flow lane, for example), and from the Local Transport Plan. A total of nearly £3 million has been spent on infrastructure in this six-month period, of which £160,430 came from CDT funds.
The biggest spend in the 'softer measures' was the Personalised travel planning (PTP) project for the good folks of Portslade. This involved doorstep interviews and a pack including all sorts of goodies, including the above mentioned personalised travel plan for Mr Joe Bloggs and discounts on bikes. A further grand goes towards adult and family training as part of the PTP. Other cash has been allocated to a revision of the city cycling map, a new coastal map and 20 grand towards In Town Without My Car day in September, which includes the Bicycle ballet and a return of Les Cyclistes, on Madeira Drive. Another £7000 was spent on Bike Week. In total £339,570 from CDT will be spent on these softer measures.
In any other business, Adam Pride asked what happened to the cycling strategy and Dean replied that there was one. Next meeting is on Thursday 14 September, 4-6pm.
One unfortunate postscript was that as we left the building, Mark Strong discovered that his Brompton had been stolen in broad daylight from outside Hove Town Hall!
Brighton and Hove Cycle Reps meeting
For this meeting I deputised for Ian. The world of politics is a newish one for me, and a different world it is, full of acronyms and awards, a parallel universe it seems from my daily rides from A to B around Brighton looking for somewhere to hitch my bike! First off, Brighton has been shortlisted for two awards at the ATOC [Association of Train Operating Companies] National Cycle-Rail Awards [www.cyclerailawards.com]. First is for 'Station of the Year', specifically the newly refurbished London Road station, my local, which seemed a bit odd as Becky from Bricycles pointed out – you can't get from one platform to the other without having to negotiate lots of steps over the (new) footbridge or under the (old) subway. Second nomination is for 'Best Local Government Contribution' (that'll be our Joyce then). Results will be announced on 8 November. I gather that the subtext of all this is that we get to engage with Southern Rail about our other niggles.
Next agenda item was about art, but perhaps not as we know it. Madeira Drive has been earmarked for next year's Car Free Day on 22 September, with amongst other things, a 'Bike Ballet'. Then we came to the main item of the evening, Brighton (or rather Brighton west of and including London Road, and Hove) becoming a Cycling Demonstration Town and all that lovely government money to spend – that'll be down to our Joyce again. The six selected towns were: Aylesbury, Brighton, Darlington, Derby, Exeter and Lancaster. The City of Brighton and Hove was apparently too big to qualify, hence the award to West Brighton and Hove.
This is where it gets complicated. My understanding is that we will receive an annual DfT grant of £500,000 over the next three years administered by Cycling England [www.cyclingengland.co.uk] and the City Council will match this funding each year, totalling a £3 million investment in cycling over the next three years. Dean Spears, the Cycling and Walking Officer, hinted that this may be extended to four years leading up to 2009, designated the Year of Walking and Cycling, for which £4M will be allocated over the two financial years 2008-9 and 2009-10.
Details on how the money will be spent are still a bit vague. For Year 1, which began on 1 November this year, the £500k from the DfT will be divided up as: £195k for an 'outstanding European-guided engineering and Copenhagen-style bicycle account', which I understood to mean improving the Hove to Hangleton cycle route to a high standard, and perhaps doing 'amazing things' with a junction; £160k on personal travel planning; £40k on a Beacon Cycle Training Centre; £60k on two new members of staff to support Dean; and £45k on a 'High-profile walking and cycling Chartermark', which involves bringing in branding experts and designing a logo. The Council's matching £500k has already been allocated to on-going projects. Finally, as a follow up to Ian's last reps report, Dean said that he has had talks with the police about enforcing cycle lane parking transgressions. I also picked up a huge tome that is the Local Transport Plan 2006/7-2010/11, so if anyone wants a look, let me know.
As a PS, London Road did win the Station of the Year award, jointly with Ely, and Brighton & Hove Council was Highly commended in the Best Local Government Contribution category (West Sussex County Council took the first prize) at the ATOC National Cycle-Rail Awards in London on Tuesday 7 November 2005. Derek Twigg said: 'It's extremely encouraging to see so many examples of improved facilities for cyclists across the rail network. Interest in cycling is high amongst commuters, which is why we've supported cycle parking and CCTV at over 100 stations and leisure users are also benefiting from our investment'. ATOC Director General, George Muir said: 'It is ATOC's aim to make rail easier to use for cyclists. In doing so, the industry can offer an acceptable and healthy alternative to the car'.
Brighton and Hove Cycle Reps meeting 13 October
Brighton and Hove Cycle Reps meeting 28 July
Lewes Road cycle lane
On Saturday 11 December 2004, we cycled to Falmer for our Xmas Get-Together at the Swan Inn.
Joyce and Shiela with parked white van
So I met up with Sheila and Joyce outside the Racehill pub at the bottom of Elm Grove and at the start of the newish Lewes Road cycle route, heading North. Almost immediately we encountered parked cars and vans on the cycle lane, which required us to veer out into the heavy traffic! Some parts of Lewes Road have loading bays, with the cycle lane between them and the road, which works better.
Not a good start!
Joyce followed this up with local authority, received an encouraging response and will be meeting to discuss the issues raised when the new cycling officer is appointed. She wrote:-
Further to my previous message about the danger of cycle routes in B&H, particularly the Lewes Road I send herewith some pictures taken on Sunday (not a particularly busy day). They show clearly the complete disregard for the cycle lane – with cars parking all the way along, yellow line or not. One of the pictures shows the manoeuvres cyclists are forced to make- pulling out into a line of traffic. The person in the picture is Sheila Schaffer – an ex-councillor and Mayor of Brighton & Hove who wishes to continues cycling as long as possible. She is surely representative of the kind of person you were talking about at the Scrutiny meeting, but she finds, as I do, these cycle lanes extremely unpleasant.
The point I made in my previous note is that, unless we are able to properly enforce these cycle lanes, I think we need to have a serious policy rethink. Painting lines on roads is probably the cheapest way to get a cycle route. However, if the result is that we are making the situation even more dangerous for cyclists I cannot but question whether that is money well spent. I would argue that we need a step change in our attitude to cycling if we are really to make a difference.
On another point – further down the road we had to contend with the Vogue gyratory. I understand the plan is to take a cycle lane 'through the middle'. I can think of nothing more dangerous than this – one just has to stand there for a bit to see the cars crossing over to know that they will not respect a cycle lane – even if Bricycles is happy with it. It is, once again, not something I could be happy with my granddaughter doing. I had proposed that some of the pavement alongside the garage could be used, with phased lights to take cyclists across to the cycle lane – more radical, but much safer. There would be nothing to stop the experts continuing to go round the gyratory as they do now.
Not long after this, Ian responded to an excellent article on cycling in the Argus. The letter was published – with a few changes – on 20 December.
Adam Trimingham's piece in today's Argus is spot on. There are many problems with cycle lanes in Brighton and Hove as well as elsewhere. 3 examples:-
1. The stretch behind the King Alfred – with all those little roads coming out onto the seafront is positively dangerous. And the 90 degree turn coming east into the road down to the car park is difficult to negotiate even at minimal speed without braining yourself on one or other of the metal posts.
2. Some of the old East Sussex cycle lanes which have been left in place are just a joke – but one at least is potentially lethal. Coming into town along the A23 at the southern end of Preston Park you're supposed to realise that you need to cross over and then take the signposted route that takes you round the houses and eventually to Preston Circus. But there's a bit of old cycle lane left on the corner going up towards Ditchling Rise which – if you spotted it and misguidedly tried to use it would leave you on the 'fast lane' side of the one way traffic steaming up towards Beaconsfield Road.
3. A major problem with Lewes Road – especially the notorious Coombe Terrace stretch and the new provision between Elm Grove and the Giratory - is routine parking in the cycle lanes on double yellow lines. There seems to be zero enforcement. Many people who've come to cycling in recent years are genuinely quite scared of being on a busy road. For them not being able to use the cycle lanes properly because of parked vehicles is not just an irritation like it is for me – it's a deterrent, and must be even more so to those many folk who would like to use a bike but never quite pluck up the courage
As for the 'young outlaws' Adam mentions – they don't impress. I can remember the '40s and '50s when half the police force seemed to be deployed catching cyclists riding without lights, and cycling on the pavement or jumping red lights was – if I remember rightly – punished by transportation. So I can't see much derring-do in doing these things at a time when the constabulary are far too busy and – as long as you don't ride on the seafront – the chances of having to sprint like the late Reg Harris to avoid arrest are about the same as winning the Lottery jackpot.