Letter to BCC - Street Light Switch Off

posted 11 Dec 2011, 12:50 by Eli Kling

A final consultation on the street light switch off trial has been carried out by BCC.  Below is the text of a letter sent to them on behalf of GWC.

After discussion with interested members of Get Wendover Cycling [GWC] we ask that you take note of the following comments before reaching a final decision to switch off all sets of trial lights permanently.

Whilst we support the principle behind this energy saving programme we believe that lights should not be switched off at places where darkness is likely to cause conflict between cyclists and pedestrians on shared use paths. At the same time this action is likely to deter people from adopting cycling as an alternative to car use and negate any CO2 saving. Poor surface and lack of routine maintenance such as sweeping, vegetation cut back, debris clearance, are a constant hazard in daylight, a situation worsened after dark without the benefit of street lights.

Two sections of the street lights trail of particular concern to GWC are:

A413 Wendover Road between Marroway and Worlds End roundabout. The dual use path along side the road is part of BCC's promoted Amber Way cycle route. The reflective edge lining to the path is breaking up and loosing its bright colour. Only routine maintenance will ensure these lines remain visible and of value to cyclists.

B4009 Halton between Chestnut Ave. and Harebridge Road. This cycle path has no reflective lining, is badly overgrown in parts and is on a strong incline. Travelling down the hill towards Wendover against the headlights of oncoming traffic it is impossible to see the edge of the path next to the road.

Against this background we would ask Buckinghamshire County Council to restore street lighting to these and other stretches of road where there are adjacent dual use paths.

We await the outcome of the final consultation with interest.

Visit the GWC stall at the forthcoming Charity Market

posted 8 Nov 2011, 12:19 by Eli Kling

Visit our stall at the Christmas Charity Market, Manor Waste, Saturday 26th November, to see detailed plans of the new cycle routes between the Princess Mary Hospital site, the town centre and the school campus. It is also an opportunity to meet committee members, talk local cycling issues, and learn about our future programme.

New Cycle routes from PMH (aka Princess Mary Gate) by year end

posted 8 Nov 2011, 12:17 by Eli Kling

What a turn around since the last time we report on this only a few weeks ago. With the new offer of £125,000 from Sustrans, the national sustainable transport charity, plus the original £170,000 from the developers there is now enough money to meet the the cost of cycle routes from the PMH site (the old Princess Mary Hospital) to the clock tower and to the school campus via Manor Road.

After much consultation BCC approved the plans and work will commence mid November. Peter Hardy, Cabinet Member for Planning and Transport, said: "This is great news for Wendover, the launch of these two new routes will link the new housing estate to the local schools and to the wider community of Wendover village centre. Not only will this encourage an increase in safer cycling to the schools and into the town centre, the scheme also benefits pedestrians and will improve access for all residents. We hope that more people will be cycling in Wendover, making use of these excellent facilities."

If you would like more information on the work done by Sustrans please visit our stall at the charity market or visit their website www.sustrans.org.uk. At our stall you will also be able to see detailed drawings of the new routes.

New Consultation on Street light Switch Off Trial

posted 8 Nov 2011, 12:12 by Eli Kling

It now looks certain that the lights involved in the trial will, with only limited exceptions, be left switched off, although a further consultation is now open.

You might think that street lighting is for the benefit of local residents and the safety of vunerable road users rather than passing vehicles. Clearly this is not necessarily the case when there are savings to be made.

Two parts of the switch off trail in this area are the A413 Aylesbury Road section from the Wendover bypass to Marroway and the B4009 in Halton between Chestnut Ave. and Harebridge Road. Both these sections have shared use paths that are now in darkness at night increasing the possibilty of conflict between pedestrians and cyclists. A regular night cyclist on the Aylesbury Road section says that she no longer counts the number of near misses she has had with other cyclists, pedestrians, runners, posts and branches bent down by heavy rain. The Halton shared path is overgrown in parts and the edge next to the road is not defined.

Changes to be introduced on the Aylesbury road section show that, for the safety of motorists, T for B will install down the centre of the road, "Halifax Type Studs with white 3M inserts at 9m centres" No mention is made of any safety features for users of the dual use path that runs along the side of this road and forms part of BCC promoted Amber Cycle route. This would have been an additional expense and the cycling development budget has been axed and used to repair roads.

If you believe there are sections in the trial that should not have there lights switch off make your views known via the current consultation that can be found on BCC website under the Have Your Say heading. You never know they might just change their mind.

An open letter from a GWC member in response to an article on proposed Wendover cycle routes in the 12th Oct. issue of the Bucks Herald

posted 13 Oct 2011, 13:58 by Eli Kling

 WENDOVER PARISH COUNCIL SAY NO TO SUSTAINABLE TRANSPORT OPTION

The article in last week's Bucks Herald on the cycle path row (Page 11) should have been headed “NOT on your bike”. It is a shame that the decision at the meeting not to support a scheme to convert the existing footway on Manor Road to a dual use path was made by councillors, the majority of whom do not cycle and as a consequence have little understanding on how to cycle safely.
The off-road route along the edge of a field behind houses in The Beeches was first mentioned to me early in 2005. Six and a half years later BCC have still not valued the required land so are not in a position to make a purchase offer to the Canadian owner. Clearly there has been no rush to pursue this option. Also the proposal does not include lighting. Is Wendover Parish Council happy to support the creation of an uncosted, unlit cycle/ pedestrian path round the edge of a field? Oh, and BCC are not able to say where the money will come from to pay for it anyway. This year BCC completely removed all the money from the cycling budget diverting it to the road repair budget so that motorists can travel faster in safety. Who is to say this will not happen in future years?

What was not mentioned in your article is the fact that the Manor Road scheme is only one part of a legal agreement attached to  money from the developers of the Princess Mary Hospital site. Other parts of the scheme are improvements to the Clock Tower junction and to pedestrian/cycleway facilities from the B4009/Chestnut Avenue junction along the B4009 to Wendover High Street.

As a resident of Halton village I cycle into Wendover usually twice a week and welcome the proposed improvements to the town centre.   I am sure many other local residents would similarly support these improvement  On the Tring Road pinch points caused by pedestrian islands are a real hazard for cyclists and being able to avoid these would significantly improve safety.   This will be particularly helpful in encourage people who would like to return to cycling but ar not confident in traffic. I wonder what the Parish council views are on these other proposals? Were they discussed in detail at the meeting , if so were they approved or rejected?
Given the go ahead, these schemes can be completed without local funding, partly by money from the developers and partly by the government funded Safe Routes to Schools programme managed by Sustrans.  If BCC do not give approval, the currently available Safe Routes to Schools funding will be lost as it is time limited and the scheme was recently cancelled by the government.
Continued stalling could see all the schemes being kicked into the long grass for years and £295000, currently available lost to our local community.

Cycle path from Princes Mary Gate to schools and town center - letter to BCC

posted 11 Oct 2011, 07:34 by Eli Kling

As chair of Get Wendover Cycling (GWC) I am writing to place on record the group's approval for the creation of two new cycle routes in Wendover.


    Over the past 3 years GWC have worked closely with your cycling officers both in meetings and cycling round the area to identify problems and assess best options. GWC have commented in detail on the 2 consultations and followed the outcomes carefully. At our most recent informal meeting with Simon Glover we were delighted to learn that £120,000 had been obtained from the Safe Routes to Schools programme that is funded by the government and managed by Sustrans. This combined with the £170,000 of S106 money from the developers is sufficient to fund the work although up to date costings still needed to be carried out.

    Our support is based on the following considerations which are also reflected in Local Transport Plan 3's Local Area Strategy for Wendover that states under the heading Priorities 'Cycling Conditions' and as an approach 'Enhancement to Walking and Cycling Environment'. In addition, the legal agreement with the developer requires the creation of pedestrian/cycleway facilities to the schools and to the High Street and also improvements to the Clock Tower junction.


    The proposed routes fully accord with the those objectives in that they will

  • encourage people to cycle to the town centre and the station thus helping to relieve local parking problems

  • encourage more children on the east side of the Tring Rd. ( not just those living on the PMH site) to cycle to school thus helping to reduce traffic congestion at school times

  • improvements at the Clock Tower junction will improve conditions for parents with prams and people confined to powered mobility scooters

  • The work can be completed without local funding. This is important as BCC have no funding this year for cycle route development. If the work is not allowed to proceed the Sustrans money will be lost and the government funded Safe Routes to Schools scheme is to be cancelled at the end of this year.

  • Whilst there are legitimate concerns about mixing pedestrians and cyclists on the Manor Rd route because of the slope, none of this is new and must have been taken into consideration during the two consultations.

  • Based on signs by the toucan crossing on the Tring Rd. we believe that BCC are already satisfied that Manor Rd. is a safe road for school children. ( one sign, pointing across the toucan crossing, carries a cycle sign and reads ' local schools'. A second sign on the other side of the road advises cyclists to return to the carriageway with an arrow pointing down Manor Rd.) Bearing this in mind we are strongly of the opinion that converting the footway to a dual use path will provide an even safer route than the one currently signed.


We trust that the above views will be taken into account when the scrutinising committee meet to consider the proposal being put forward for approval.

Say no to longer lorries

posted 6 Sep 2011, 15:10 by Eli Kling

A road safety issue of particular concern to cyclists has been highlighted by the CTC.

Lorries are involved in a disproportionate number of crashes with both cyclists and pedestrians. Despite this fact the road safety minister Mike Penning MP is planning to allow lorries that are over two metres longer! The increase in length will mean bigger blind spots and more tail swing, which is likely to result in more accidents and possible deaths to cyclists.

CTC is asking cyclists to contact their MP to try and prevent this. They can provide a letter for you to use. Visit

www.ctc.org.uk/nolongerlorries.

You can also help by spreading the word. If you're a Twitter user, please tweet the campaign using the tag #nolongerlorries.

The Visions2030 Survey for Walking and Cycling

posted 5 Aug 2011, 13:13 by Eli Kling

The Visions for Walking and Cycling is a research project being undertaken by The University of Salford's School of the Built Environment. The project seeks to assess the potential in the UK for achieving substantial increases in walking and cycling by 2030.

As part of the research, they have created an online survey that can be easily accessed through survey monkey. By taking part you will be helping them to better understand perceptions and experiences about cycling, particularly in terms of what helps and hinders you in cycling.  It also includes visual ideas on how the future might look and asks for your views on various scenarious. Results from the project will be used to illustrate to Government features and incentives likely to encourage more people to adopt sustainable modes of transport.

Please click the link http://www.surveymonkey.com/s/2HPV82W in order to take part. It is worth it even if only to see the illustrations of futuristic ideas on the built environment.

LATEST NEWS ON PROPOSED CYCLE ROUTES FROM THE PRINCESS MARY HOSPITAL SITE

posted 31 Jul 2011, 14:35 by Eli Kling

BCC has now received £170,000 from the developers as their contribution to the creation of cycle routes from the PMH site to local schools and also to the centre of Wendover.

The school route prefered by BCC is Option D, that goes off road along the edge of the field at the back of The Beeches. In March the Canadian owner of the land agreed in principle to sell the needed strip of land subject to receiving an acceptable offer and BCC indicated that the would go ahead and get a valuation. This clearly is not something that happens very often as it took to the middle of July to ascertain the procedure for land acquisition.   It is now hoped that BCC Property Services will be in a position to make the land owner an offer in the very near future.

However it appears there is another hurdle to cross. A Business Case has to be made to justify the land purchase, this will have to show the benefits of the proposed route compared to other options and will have to be approved at Cabinet level. So it would seem we are deep into BCC politics and how long it will take to get the Business Case approved is an unknown.

If this route is to go ahead it will require a significant input of external funding. When first costed in 2009 the estimate excluding land was £206,000 so there is a significant shortfall without taking into account the fact that there will already be internal costs to set against the £170,000. BCC are hoping that any gap in funding will be met from a successful bid to the Sustrans 'Links to Schools' fund. It also overlooks the need to fund a route into Wendover that formed part of the original agreement which was made with the developer.

Looking back through the records, a letter dated April 2005, from the Area Planning Officer (South) states that " the cycleway will cross the field to the north of the primary and secondary schools to avoid the need to travel on the busy roads serving the school". So please do not expect any action in the near future.

Family Cycle Ride in the Rain

posted 12 Jun 2011, 12:16 by Eli Kling

Although it rained all day, dedicated Wendovrians turned out with their children to support the Get Wendover Cycling and participate in the cycle ride.


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