Dynamo’s response to Bailrigg Garden Village consultation

Below is what Dynamo emailed to Lancaster City Council about their (so far vague) cycle plans for the proposed Bailrigg development.  You still have until 11 July to make your own comments on any aspect.

I write on behalf of Dynamo (Lancaster & District Cycle Campaign) purely on the matter of proposed cycle infrastructure for the planned new housing development around Bailrigg.

We are heartened to see all the general nice stuff about “network of green corridors” and “good local accessibility by walking and cycling”, and we sincerely hope that the Council’s plans will live up to this.

We have 3 points to make:

1.         Include a route parallel to the railway line

2.         Choose at least two options and build both

3.         Get the infrastructure in place and discourage car use before the first houses are occupied

1.         A ROUTE PARALLEL TO THE RAILWAY LINE

Having looked at the proposals for a cycle superhighway in the Options Paper, we were very disappointed that there is no mention of the possibility of a cycle route parallel to the railway line from Galgate to the outskirts of south Lancaster, at least as far as Cinder Lane.  The land for the proposed housing estates extends right up to the western edge of the railway line, so surely the Council could include such a route, which would be by far the flattest and most direct one.  It would also be more attractive to pedestrians who are walking into town for utility rather than recreation.

2.         CHOOSE AT LEAST TWO OPTIONS

We would also urge the Council not to limit itself to just one route from the new development to Lancaster city centre/railway station.  Some cyclists would prefer to go straight down the A6, others do not mind taking a longer, hillier and more circuitous route.  This is not just Dynamo being greedy: if you build good cycle provision and discourage car use for short journeys, cycling/walking routes will be so popular that a single route would be overcrowded.  Only consider the Lancaster-Morecambe path, which at times is so busy that it really needs to be twice as wide.

One other reason to have at least two routes is if you intend to focus on the canal towpath.  This is perhaps the pleasantest route, but, according to County Council and Sustrans recommendations, it is not wide enough for a proper shared-use path.  Three metres is the recommended minimum for a path with side restrictions.

3.         BUILD THE INFRASTRUCTURE AND DISCOURAGE CAR USE FROM THE START

If transport to/from this new development is to be sustainable, you need to discourage car use from the very start and have excellent new cycling and walking routes ready and waiting for the first new homeowners to use them.

We hope you will include these points in future plans.

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Posted in A6, City and County Councils, consultation, Cycle Infrastructure, Cycling, Galgate, Lancaster | Leave a comment

William’s cycle-commuting story in the Lancaster Guardian

william thompson photoThis week’s commuter is William, whose job is near Blackburn.  His occasional solution?  Catch the train to Preston, then cycle the remaining 13 miles.  He quickly developed pot-hole antennae for the A675 but has now encountered a new challenge: Transpennine’s new bikes on trains policy, which requires 24 hours’ notice.  The solution to that?  Pedal faster to ensure he never misses his train.

Nonetheless, he loves his cycle commute.

You can read William’s account in this week’s Lancaster Guardian or view a scan of it here.

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More objections to planning applications

Dynamo has objected to two planning applications currently in the pipeline:

Offices and factory on land off Imperial Road, Heysham – 18/00154/FUL

Dynamo (Lancaster & District Cycle Campaign) objects strongly to this application for the following reasons:

* This is a very large development with a total of 220 car parking spaces on site. All these extra car journeys will impact on cyclists who already use the A683 because there is currently no alternative route or decent cycle provision on that road.

* This is an office and factory development. Factories mean that there will be more HGVs on the A683 – hence more danger and DIScouragement to cycle.

* The developer offers precisely nothing towards sustainable transport measures yet expects the County Council and the public to cope with – and pick up the tab for – the extra traffic that the development will create.

* In its Transport Masterplan, the County Council commits itself to an off-road route between Lancaster and Heysham. Where is the funding for this route – or decent cycle lanes on the A683 – to come from if large developments like this don’t pay a penny towards improvements?

27 Dwellings on greenfield on Wyresdale Road – 18/00472/FUL

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Dynamo (Lancaster & District Cycle Campaign) objects to this application as there is no provision in the plans to encourage cycling to/from this new development. Indeed, given that the development will increase motorised traffic along this narrow road, it may even deter current cyclists from using it.

Posted in Cycling, Heysham, Lancaster, planning applications | Leave a comment

Email exchange with Transpennine about bikes on trains policy

Dynamo emailed Leo Goodwin, the chairman of Transpennine Express:

Dear Mr Goodwin

I am writing to you about your company’s recent change of policy requiring cyclists to reserve a space on your trains at least 24 hours before travel. I write on behalf of Dynamo Cycle Campaign in Lancaster.

Please understand that we have no objection to the need to reserve. Since Lancaster is a halfway station on your Manchester and Scotland line, we welcome the chance to be able to book a space and be reasonably sure that we can get our bikes on.

Our complaint is the 24 hours’ notice. It is very rigid and makes no allowances for changes of plan. Would it not be possible for your company to emulate Virgin Trains West Coast and be more flexible in the notice required? With Virgin it’s possible to reserve a space until shortly before the train arrives at the station. Without being that generous, perhaps Transpennine could rethink its policy?

We do hope that you will take these comments on board and look forward to hearing from your company.

and quickly got a reply from the Transport Integration Manager:

I have been passed your email by our Managing Director, Leo Goodwin.

Thank you for your comments regarding the changes to the TransPennine Express cycle policy. We appreciate that this change is unpopular with some cyclists due to the amount of notice required prior to travel, and recognise the benefits that reducing this would offer. The change has been made in advance of the introduction of our new trains, which have a different approach to the carriage of cycles, with the storage areas slightly more segregated from the seating areas of the train, but also allows us to manage capacity on board our trains in the interim, prior to the new train arriving, recognising the popularity of our services.

We are currently unable to offer the same reduced notice period as some other UK operators due to the systems which are used to manage reservations on our trains, however with the introduction of new trains and updates to our systems, we hope to be able to reduce this timescale soon.

I hope this response is of use, and sets out the improvements we hope to make as soon as we can.

So it’s a question of wait and see . . .

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Mike’s cycle-commuting story in the Lancaster Guardian

mike whitfield's photoThis week’s commuter is Mike, known to his friend’s son – for obvious reasons – as “Mike on a Bike”.

He welcomes the positive effect on his sense of wellbeing that cycling to and from work along the canal brings him.  (Cycling along the A6 . . . less so!)

You can read Mike’s account in this week’s Lancaster Guardian or view a scan of the article here.

Posted in Cycle-commuting, Cycling | Tagged | Leave a comment

Respond to Lancaster City Council’s consultation on Bailrigg Garden Village

Lancaster City Council is holding an informal consultation on plans for “Bailrigg Garden Village” i.e. 3,500 new homes. The deadline is Wednesday 11 July and the consultation is at http://www.lancaster.gov.uk/planning/planning-policy/bailrigg-garden-village. Please do respond to this – particularly if you live in the area.

Dynamo’s concern is that this new development will generate lots of extra traffic without sufficient transport infrastructure being put in place beforehand. Obviously our focus is cycling, but public transport and walking will also be crucial. The options paper says nice, generalised things about sustainable transport, but Dynamo wants to get concrete proposals in there from the start – whether it’s cycle lanes along the A6, a new route parallel with the railway line from the Old Filter House, or a new route to Lawson’s Bridgem (from the proposed Booths supermarket site) to take you to Ashford Road.

You do may also wish to look at the CLOUD website (Citizens of Lancaster Opposed to Unnecessary Development); they are concerned, amongst other things, that the development is unsustainable and will aggravate flooding (e.g. Galgate at the end of last year).

Anyone can reply to the Council’s consultation, and there are also consultation events on the following dates:

  •  Tuesday 12 June, 11.30am – 2pm, The Storey
  •  Thursday 14 June, 2pm – 6pm, Rowley Court
  •  Monday 18 June, 11.30am – 2pm, The Storey
  •  Thursday 21 June, 2pm – 5pm, Ellel Village Hall
  •  Wednesday 27 June, 9.30am – 2.30pm, Lancaster House Hotel

You can also ask to join their the Council’s Bailrigg Garden Village mailing list

Posted in A6, City and County Councils, consultation, Cycling, Galgate, Lancaster | Leave a comment

Emily’s cycle-commuting story in the Lancaster Guardian

Emily bike 1 (002)This week’s commuter is Emily – a self-confessed fair-weather cyclist (fair enough, we think), who prefers the bus to the bicycle in the winter months.

Emily is complimentary about Lancaster University’s efforts to encourage cycle and bus use: currently 13% of staff cycle and 23% catch a bus, so the University is doing its bit to make the alternatives to driving attractive.

You can read Emily’s account in this week’s Lancaster Guardian or read a scan of the article here.

Posted in Cycle-commuting, Cycling | Leave a comment