Planning application for 77 houses on Royal Albert site

Dynamo has objected to the planning application on the grounds that, as it stands, it will increase traffic along well-used routes.  Below is the text of our objection.

“I write on behalf of Dynamo (Lancaster and District Cycle Campaign) to object to this application on the grounds that it is detrimental to the County Council’s stated aim to promote cycling and other forms of sustainable transport.

“Our specific reasons are:

“- The new development will increase traffic along Ashton Road. The section between Haverbreaks Road and Cherry Tree Drive is a well-used cycle route between the city centre and Booths on the A6 and Lancaster University. It is already a somewhat hairy ride in the rush hour – particularly when heading south, with the wall of the Islamic College on one side and lorries on the other.

“- This and other developments will also increase traffic along Ashford Road, which is another well-used cycle route to the University. This road is unsuitable for more traffic. At one end there is a bottle neck and at the other a blind bend.”

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Bike theft arrests

The Lancaster Guardian carries a story this week about the arrest of an alleged ring of bike thieves.  This is part of a European-wide police investigation into high-quality bike thefts.

The problem of bike theft crops up regularly at Dynamo meetings, so it is good to know that bikes can sleep safer in their sheds tonight.  However, that still leaves the opportunistic thefts of very ordinary – but, to their owners, essential – bikes from outside shops or backyards.  It’s worth getting a good lock, ensuring your bicycle is always secure (even in the shed), and getting it postcoded.

Has anyone got any advice for others to minimise the risk of having a bike stolen?

(For Dick’s story of bicycle theft revenge, see the December 2008 newsletter.)

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Problems on the shared-use paths

There have been reports in the Lancaster Guardian recently of a few pedestrians being harassed by speeding and/or inconsiderate cyclists on our shared-use paths.  It’s easy for cyclists to go into “what about” mode – “what about that pedestrian who walked out in front of me on the A6 and knocked me off?”or “what about that uncontrolled dog?” – but it is true that there is some poor and thoughtless cycling going on.  So: “What about that group cycling three abreast?”

This is Dynamo’s response:

It is very unfortunate that a minority of cyclists are making the use of the shared used path uncomfortable for other users through lack of consideration. The basic rule of using shared use paths is to alert people to your presence and give way to more vulnerable users, and the vast majority of cyclists do so.  Pedestrians too can help the situation by walking towards the side of the path, rather than down the centre, which allows all users more space, and dog walkers should keep their dogs on a short lead, as the thin extendable leads are an unacceptable hazard.

The Caton to Morecambe shared use path is one of the major successes of the improvements at the end of the 1990s, as shown by the many people who enjoy this route, and so are able to travel without the dangers presented by cars. Each year, there are more than 1.2 million deaths across the world due to crashes involving motor vehicles and tens of millions more people are injured. Lancaster itself has some of the country’s most dangerous roads for pedestrians and cyclists, according to the Road Safety Foundation. When problems arise we must give them some thought and try to remedy – certainly the shared use paths are not for racing and cyclists should travel at a suitable speed for the conditions at the time.

However, we should avoid adopting the thinking of “cycling versus pedestrians”, when we should be working together to improve the provision of off road routes. It may be the case that existing shared use paths should be widened where possible to cope with the usage. In a way, this is a problem that we should all embrace, that so many people are choosing healthier and more sustainable ways to travel, and is one to bear in mind when we look at extending the shared use path across Heysham Moss, to ensure that it is wide enough and suitable for all users: pedestrians, cyclists and horse riders.

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More events to mark opening of Morecambe Bay cycle way

As well as the inaugural ride (see post below), Sustrans/Morecambe Bay Partnership are also organising two family-friendly events for Sunday 14 June:

1.   A celebration event at Glasson Dock on Sunday 14 June from 1.30-5.00 p.m. – a mini-festival, with live music, face-painting,  balloon sculptures; and bikes in all shapes and sizes. Details at http://www.sustrans.org.uk/events/glasson-docks-mini-festival-morecambe-bay

2.   A musical celebration ride from Lancaster to Glasson Dock on Sunday 14 June. Meet 1.00 p.m. on the Millennium Bridge, Lancaster, to decorate and bling your bike, then set off at 2.00 p.m. on a free, marshalled, musical celebration ride to Glasson Dock (5 miles). Details at http://www.sustrans.org.uk/events/bay-cycle-way-musical-celebration-ride.

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Contra-flow cycle lane on Spring Garden Street now complete

Men with white paint were out and about recently, and the new cycle contra-flow lane on Spring Garden Street, Lancaster, is now complete.  You cycle on the segregated pavement heading east, and on the road with the flow of the traffic heading west.  Funding came from the new development on the site of the former cinema and has been held over since then.  Not a crucial link, but a useful one.

Spring Garden Street contra-flow

Spring Garden Street contra-flow

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Dynamo’s response to county’s Transport Masterplan

Here is the Dynamo submission to the county council’s draft Transport Masterplan, along with specific proposals for action.  These documents were prepared for a meeting that Paul had with Hazel Walton and Andrew Hewitson of Lancashire County Council on 8 May.

We are hopeful that we will see safety improvements at junctions on the A6 south in the short term, followed by cycle lanes on South Road and improvements to Belle Vue Terrace for cycling.  The Heysham-Lancaster off-road route is also due to be schemed out.  The key issue here is, as ever, the transformation from a plan to something concrete with funding and a timescale.  Dynamo’s argument is that these should all be put in place by late summer 2016 to be ready upon the opening of the M6 link road.

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Inaugural Morecambe Bay Cycle Way ride – 11-14 June

Morecambe Bay Partnership and Sustrans are celebrating the opening of the Bay Cycle Way by organising a ride of the entire route.  This starts on Thursday 11 June from Walney and ends on Sunday 14 June at Glasson Dock.

There will be a big ride from Lancaster’s Millennium Bridge to Glasson Dock on Sunday 14 June, meeting at 2 p.m. on the bridge.  All welcome.

If you fancy a bit more of a ride, Paul has signed up for a “self-led ride” from Grange to Glasson Dock on 13-14 June and has room for others.  If anybody else fancies joining in, you’ll need a bike and a tent and contact Paul at dynamocycle@btinternet.com smartish.  It would be a great easy intro to cycle touring if you’ve never given it a go.

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