Health Innovation Campus

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Heading south on the A6, leaving the little bit of shared-use path outside the Health Innovation Campus

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Health Innovation Campus

A by-product of the coronavirus measures is that Dynamo has cycled up and down the A6 recently for the first time in years.  This has given us a good look at the new cycle infrastructure constructed on the A6 outside the new Health Innovation Campus just north of Lancaster University.  It is the usual thing: a development funds a little bit of infrastructure, and then you are dumped back into the path of traffic (as in the photograph above).

Dick has written to the County Council to ask if this is acceptable.

Posted in A6, Cycle Infrastructure, Cycling | 3 Comments

How many houses in south Lancaster? 3,500 or 9,135?

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The story so far . . .

  1. In September 2017 Lancashire County Council agreed to submit bids to the government’s Housing Infrastructure Fund – including a bid for approx. £150 million for up to 5,000 new homes in South Lancaster.
  2. The Issues and Options Paper for Bailrigg Garden Village (May 2018) proposed “some 3,500 homes for the Garden Village” (p.10).
  3. At some point, by 2019 Bailrigg Garden Village had morphed into the “Lancaster South Area Action Plan” and the number of new homes varied between 3,500 and 5,000. (Sadly the link to the City Council’s website is broken.)
  4. The proposed modified version of the Local Plan of August 2019 talks of “at least 3,500 new homes” (section 12.5, page 50).
  5. March 2020: the government awards Lancashire County Council £140 million for the “South Lancaster Growth Catalyst” – “which will unlock up to 9,185 homes“.

Naturally Dynamo is now looking forward to seeing how the cycle superhighway in South Lancaster develops.  (Obviously not all the £140 million will be spent on that!  There is to be a new motorway junction after all.)

But . . . how many new houses are there to be in South Lancaster: 3,500? 5,000?

Or 9,185?

Update:  we have written to County Councillor Erica Lewis to see if she knows more.

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

Cycling budgets

This may not seem like the most important topic at the moment, but at some point “ordinary” life will resume and cycling budgets will be on everyone’s lips again!

1.    In Lancashire County Council’s budget-setting meeting held in February, Green County Councillor Gina Dowding attempted to ring-fence 5% of the transport budget for cycling. This was voted down by 41 votes to 26 (see minutes for details), so – once again – there is no dedicated County Council budget for cycling.

2.   Dynamo received a letter from Cat Smith, the Labour MP for Lancaster & Fleetwood, who had raised a question in Parliament about funding for local cycling & walking infrastructure plans (LCWIPs).  Here it is:

Cat Smith

and we are considering our response to her helpful final paragraph.

Posted in budget, Cycling | 1 Comment

Objection to development on Bailrigg Lane

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Dynamo doesn’t normally look at smaller planning applications, but this one (ref 19/01562/FUL) opens onto Bailrigg Lane.  It’s an application to replace Downings with two small apartment blocks, but we are concerned about the exit onto Bailrigg Lane and extra traffic along this very well-used cycle route.

Dynamo objects to this proposal as it will increase traffic and hence risk to cyclists on this very well-used cycle route to Lancaster University.

In particular:

1.   There appears to be confusion over the number of car parking spaces. The Transport Statement says, “Minimal car parking will be provided as discussed in section 4”, but the objection from County’s Highways states, “There are approx. 15 car parking spaces proposed”. So how many car parking spaces are there to be on this site?

2.   It will increase the number of residents in the hamlet and – most likely – the number of car journeys. Most people who drive along the road at present know perfectly well how busy it is with cycle traffic, but University visitors staying at the new site may not be so aware or so careful.

3.   In addition to traffic from those staying at the new development, there will be construction traffic and, once the apartments are occupied, regular delivery vehicles.

4.   The exit from the development onto Bailrigg Lane is problematic. Cyclists use this lane regularly – often in the dark, particularly in winter months – and every cyclist’s fear is that a car will pull out of a side turning without looking. (This has been a problem at Queen Square and at Butterfield Street in Lancaster.) There needs to be signage and road markings at the new access to indicate to motorists that they must stop and look out for cyclists. In this respect, too, having the southernmost block so far forward seems detrimental to sight lines.

Update: this application was withdrawn.

Posted in Cycle Infrastructure, Cycling, Lancaster, planning applications, Safety | Leave a comment

Dynamo’s comments on possible Ellel holiday complex

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There is a scoping request – so it’s very early stages – on the Lancaster City Council website for an enormous holiday complex at Ellel, west of the junction 33 roundabout (reference 20/00064/EIO).  Although public comments are not invited, Dynamo yielded to a madly idealistic impulse and sent off the following:

(Our comments refer only to section 3.3 (Transport) and Appendix 4 of the scoping request.)

This is potentially an enormous holiday complex, with:

  • 400 lodges
  • 100-125 pods
  • a 100-bedroom hotel.

When fully occupied, there could be well over 1,000 people staying there, not to mention all the delivery vehicles of various sizes that will make regular service visits.

Dynamo’s opinion therefore is that the developer is taking too narrow a view of the environmental impact of this complex.

In particular:

1.  Despite the aim of trying to keep residents on-site (p.23), they will obviously have to travel to the complex and, once there, cannot be prevented from driving around to visit local sites. The proposed Transport Assessment (TA) will look only at impacts on the A6 and the M6, but holidaymakers will no doubt want to visit the Forest of Bowland and other local beauty spots accessible only via minor roads. The scope of the TA should be widened to include such roads and the detrimental impact on cyclists who use them for healthy leisure rides. After all, why should a holidaymaker’s leisure drive be more important a holidaymaker’s – or anyone else’s – leisure cycle ride?

2.   The list of policy documents to which the TA will refer does not mention potential policy changes – in particular, Lancaster City Council’s future plans to tackle the climate emergency. The scoping request should make provision for addressing these future policies.

3.    Section 2.9, Appendix 4 states that “the proposal will include measures to allow site users and the wider community to cycle around the site and provide appropriate facilities to connect to the wider network”.

The City Council should be more directive about what it wishes to see in terms of “connection to the wider network”. Is it thinking of using the canal towpath? If so, please remember that it is currently unsurfaced and will be unlit, so it is a poor utility route. Alternatively, will there be a link to Condor Green Road?

4.    And finally . . . Given that this development – if it happens – will not be finished for some years and that we need to do things differently to try to minimise the impact of climate change, why not encourage the developer to be more imaginative about this holiday complex?

Could this site not be marketed as an environmentally-friendly holiday complex where you leave the car on arrival (or even leave it at home) and spend the rest of your holiday using sustainable transport? Why not make this vast site into one from which hundreds of bicycles (both pedal cycles and e-bikes) take to the roads each day to explore the local countryside and spend their money in local businesses?

There are studies about the economic benefits of low-impact tourism like cycle-touring (e.g. section 1.5 of Sustrans report https://www.sustrans.org.uk/media/4472/4472.pdf) which make a good case for this vision.

If this sounds fanciful, then please stop to consider that we need to change direction to avoid the very worst of climate change and biodiversity loss. It is even more fanciful to assume that we can continue with high-impact developments in the way that we currently do.

Posted in Cycling, Galgate, planning applications | Leave a comment

Guidance for cyclists using new Caton Road route

DC3772BA-100B-4D9C-9450-25D8B19A733CThe finishing touches are being put to the toucan crossings and junction markings on Caton Road while the Lune Millennium path is closed to cyclists and walkers for 12-18 months.

A personal note here: please be alert when using the cyclist priority junctions (the ones where the green surfacing goes straight across the road).  These are still unusual and many drivers are not used to them: some will assume that they can just turn into or out of the junctions without giving way.  As a cyclist on the shared-use path (aka “pavement”!) you have priority at the following junctions:

  • Langdale Place
  • Langdale Road
  • Standfast and Barracks car park
  • Dennison Trailers Ltd
  • Lansil Sports and Social Club

but – realistically – it will take time for some drivers to grasp this.  So please be prudent – and remember that at other junctions cyclists on the path do NOT have priority and must give way.

Download the guidance notes for using the Caton Road alternative route

Posted in Cycle Infrastructure, Cycling, planning applications, River Lune, Safety, shared-use paths | Leave a comment

Manchester

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Oxford Road, Manchester

A visit today to Manchester turned into an impromptu fact-finding mission for Dynamo, given the high hopes for the new Bee network for cycling and walking. The cycle lanes on Oxford Road, combined with restrictions on cars, look good – although, outside rush hour, it was hard to find many cyclists using them. The design around bus stops accommodates everyone (and even comes with its own cycle zebras and traffic signs):

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Most surprising was the Brompton bike hire dock oustside the Midland Hotel. Given the cost of a Brompton, one assumes the deposit is fairly hefty. The dockless Mobikes for hire have disappeared, which removes some pavement and canal clutter.

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Are there any Mancunians out there who can tell us what difference all this has made?

Posted in Cycle Infrastructure, Cycling, Other Places | Tagged | Leave a comment