Objection to planning application at Vale of Lune Rugby Club

Dynamo has objected to the application for 51 houses by the Vale of Lune Rugby Club (reference 17/00309/FUL) as there are not enough details for the  proposed shared-use path from the Bare cricket club alongside one-way Powderhouse Lane to the new road junction to the estate.  Our objection reads:

I write on behalf of Dynamo (Lancaster & District Cycle Campaign) to object to this application as it does not – as far as we can see – currently contain firm guarantees of the width and surface of the proposed shared-use path on the southern section of Powderhouse Lane. This path will be essential for cyclists to be able to access the new estate easily and safely. It is therefore very important that it is wide, well-surfaced and – crucially – safe from cars being parked on it (as has happened at New Quay Road, Lancaster). It needs bollards or a raised kerb to ensure that it is kept clear at all times.

PS  The Dolphinholme application was rejected but the Carnforth oneincredibly – was approved.

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Cycle Bunnies: Women’s cycling in Lancaster

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From the Cycle Bunnies website

Following a couple of queries about a women-only cycling group in our district, Dynamo finally tracked down Cycle Bunnies.

This is a local cycling group that promotes women’s cycling.  Their aims are to encourage “women everywhere, of every ability, to enjoy the FUN, FREEDOM and FRIENDSHIP of Cycle Bunnies. Cyclists of all ages and abilities are welcome to join [their] exciting friendly team of members”.

You can find out more by contacting them at cyclebunnyhq@yahoo.com or going to their Facebook page (link from their Events page).

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Morecambe Bay Cycle Way

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Barrow to Greenodd

Finally Patricia has cycled (most of the) 81-mile Morecambe Bay Cycle Way, which runs from Walney Island to Glasson Dock and gives her verdict below. (Map here.)

With a surprisingly laden bike for just an overnight stop, I caught the 07.33 train from Lancaster to Barrow, keen to get one of the two official bike spaces per train.  There were already four touring cyclists on the platform when I arrived.  Being gentlemen, they let me get on first . . . so there were already five of us before the train started.  Commuter cyclists got on as the journey progressed, and by the time we arrived in Barrow there were probably nine bicycles on the train.  I’m not sure what happens if the train staff are not quite so accommodating.

I skipped the Walney Island section and started – after a second breakfast – along Cavendish Dock Road, past the gas terminal towards Roa Island and Rampside, hugging the coast all the way.  It was a quiet route and the views across the bay are great.  After a short stretch on the not-too-busy A5087, the routes take you inland and uphill on quiet roads.  I ignored the Bardsea detour – it would have involved losing height and getting back on the A road – and sailed down into Ulverston for lunch.  Crossing the River Leven by Greenodd was confusing – the path was surfaced in unrideable shingle and narrowed to a footpath – but I eventually found the little bridge that takes you to the other side.  At Low Wood I had to get off and push (not for the first or last time) and overtook one of the touring cyclists from the train.  That was a seriously steep hill!  Then down into Cartmel (where everybody overtook me), Cark and Flookborough before joining the main road into Grange-over-Sands (the obvious halfway point for a 2-day ride).  The last couple of miles were busier – and steeper – than I cared for, but I was glad to find my hotel for the night.  I’d enjoyed discovering places I’d hardly or never visited so close to home.

Grange to the Arnside peninsula is a pleasant ride in itself.  Gilpin Bridge has its own cycle path now, but the route still dumps you on the A6 outside Levens Hall for a mile or so.  Once I got to the outskirts of Milnthorpe I cheated and chose my own way home, but the signposted route takes you through Arnside and Silverdale, Carnforth, Morecambe and Hest Bank before ending at Glasson Dock.

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Beside the A590 at Gilpin Bridge

It’s well signposted throughout (route 700): the reason I thought I was lost outside Greenodd was not because of the signposting but because of the state of the path.  There isn’t much new infrastructure, and you get the impression that it’s been done on the cheap (I’m not forgiving them for that stretch on the A6).  The views, however, are tremendous.  There are a few stiff hills, but there are also plenty of flat parts and stops for refreshment.  As ever, I would recommend organising a tail wind before you go.

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Posted in cycle touring, Other Places | Tagged | 2 Comments

Welcome to the new Cabinet Member for Highways and Transport

With the change in administration at Lancashire County Council following May’s local elections, there is a new person in the post of Cabinet Member for Highways and Transport: Councillor Keith Iddon.  Dynamo has written to Councillor Iddon to welcome him to the post and to enquire about the consultation forums that are mentioned in the draft Cycling and Walking Strategy.

(Cabinet Members can wield considerable power: Councillor Tim Ashton, Mr Iddon’s predecessor-but-one, was responsible for pushing through the introduction of county-wide 20mph speed limits in residential areas. And Councillor John Fillis, the last incumbent, was willing to engage with Dynamo on A6 matters, even if we were disappointed with the outcome.)

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Heysham bypass road surface – what’s it like now?

Cyclists on the Heysham bypass road (in particular, by the second roundabout as you are coming from Heysham) will have noticed earlier this year that the already-narrow cycle lane was covered in potholes and lumps of concrete.

County Councillor Gina Dowding followed this up with the county officers and was reassured (two months after checking!) that surface works were due to be completed and that the cycle lane would be rideable again.

Dynamo hasn’t been on that road for a while.  Does anyone have an update on it?

Posted in City and County Councils, Heysham, M6 link road/Bay Gateway | 2 Comments

Responses from general election candidates

We have had the grand total of ONE response from general election candidates for our two constituencies to our letter asking for their views on cycling.  This came [not from Mrs Trellis of North Wales but] from Cat Smith, the Labour MP for Lancaster and Fleetwood, as follows:

Thank you for your email regarding cycling.

I appreciate the economic, health and environmental benefits which cycling provides and agree we need to be doing to support cycling both locally and across the UK. This is why Labour is committed to inviting the National Infrastructure Commission to recommend the next stages for developing and upgrading the National Cycle Network as well as reaffirming the commitments in the Cycling and Walking Investment Strategy.

I think there is a case for going further still and I therefore welcome the Space for Cycling campaign. I would be very happy to work with Dynamo to ensure that Lancashire County Council are putting the necessary resources into cycling.

I was interested to read the findings of the APPG report and think their recommendations are very sensible. I can see no reason why the next Government should not adopt them.

Finally in relation to strict liability for cyclists and pedestrians I approach this with an open mind and would like to look at the evidence at how effective this would be in promoting safe and sensible driving. I would be particularly interested at looking at how it has operated in the countries which you refer to in your letter.

I look forward to working with Dynamo on these matters if re-elected on June 8th.

Yours sincerely,

Cat Smith

To be fair, we did receive a very positive response from Robin Long, a Lib Dem candidate to the County Council back in May, to our letter which posed more strictly local questions.  He is now the Lib Dem candidate for the Lancaster and Fleetwood parliamentary constituency, so it seems reasonable to assume that his views have not changed and to post his earlier reply here:

. . .  Firstly, thank you for the campaigning you have done over the years – I cycle to work with my two children in tow, and suspect that many of the cycle paths would not be there without the work of you and your organization.

Secondly, in response to your questions:

1:   Yes.  I think we need to encourage a lot more cycling and walking to schools.   There are many ways that this can be achieved, and this has been demonstrated in other areas across the country.  We should learn from what has worked and not worked in other places and try to implement some ideas in the area.

2:   Yes, again I think this is very much needed.   I have had so many near misses on and around the A6 especially, that are due to poor visibility and/or poor road layout.   There is much that can and should be done across the area.

3:   I agree that it [the County’s transport budget allocated to cycling] should increase. In general, I am not a supporter of setting aside X% of a budget for certain purposes – in my experience, this is where money has the potential to get wasted in the future.  However, I would want to look at what Edinburgh and Cambridge are spending their funds on, and how Lancashire could replicate the most effective schemes. I would also prioritize working with anyone / supporting any budget at County where the outcome is fully transparent and public – in that way at least we could see the numbers for cycling and other services in order to critique it properly.

If you have any further questions, or want me to clarify anything, please send me a reply.

Thanks,

Robin Long.

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Letter to general election candidates

Dynamo has written to the nine candidates for our two local constituencies (five for Morecambe and Lunesdale, four for Lancaster and Fleetwood) to ask them for their views on the future of cycling.  In particular, we have asked about the following:

  • Cycling UK’s “Space for Cycling” campaign, which aims for a full network of high quality, cycle-friendly routes plus a minimum of 5-10% of the local transport budget;
  • their thoughts on “Cycling and the Justice System” published by the All-Party Parliamentary Group on Cycling;
  • their thoughts on strict liability for cyclists and pedestrians.

You can read our full letter here. We will publish any responses we receive.

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