Dynamo is the grassroots organisation that has campaigned since 1994 in Lancaster, Morecambe and district to increase the role of cycling in our transport system, especially through infrastructure and other measures that make cycling pleasanter, safer and more attractive to all. Dynamo asserts, therefore, that it should be included as a partner at every stage of transport planning where cycling is affected. This is especially true of arterial routes linking major urban destinations like the two Universities and the hospital. Dynamo maintains that the ‘public consultation’ stage of planning, where worked-up proposals are aired, is far too late to ensure due weight is given to the specific needs and insights of cyclists and potential cyclists. They, not bought-in and often brief-constrained consultants, are the local experts in this centrally important mode of transport.
Historically, cyclists have had to fight for their rightful stake in road planning. And it seems that the County Council still finds it easier to rhapsodise about the joys of being a cyclist in Lancashire than to actually talk to them when designing the roads they ride on. Aware of changes afoot for the A6 between Lancaster city centre and the University / Galgate, Dynamo requested to be both informed and included, only to learn that the Council had already been working with consultants (Jacobs), who had already made recommendations to exclude, for example, a dedicated cycle route along the A6.
Knowing that Jacobs’ conclusions would have been heavily influenced by the remit given them by the County Council, Dynamo pursued the matter by asking for a copy of the Council’s brief to the consultants. This to date has not been forthcoming. All that Dynamo has received is Jacobs’ suggested plan, which is almost certain to have been constrained by (unknown) restrictions imposed by the County Council at the outset. So the process has ground onward and money been spent – all managing to exclude a key road-user constituency.
Dynamo is not content to pick up the crumbs from under the table of this exclusive planning process. It does not accept consultants’ recommendations guided by an unknown remit and excluding a main stakeholder. On Monday 16th January 2012, therefore, Dynamo wrote to the County Council setting out its case for a dedicated, fully protected cycle route the whole length of the A6 from Lancaster City Centre to the University and Galgate, deriving solid and consistent support from the County Council’s Local Transport Plan of 2011 and from central UK government policy. Here is the letter, to which on 24th January no reply had yet been received:
Extracts from the letter and supporting documents:
Mr Tim Munday
Jacobs Engineering Ltd
Dear Mr Munday
Cycle provision along A6 corridor between Galgate and Lancaster
As the Lancaster & District Cycle Campaign, Dynamo represents the views of its members and those of other cyclists in the district. We have 15 years’
experience of cycle campaigning, which has in the recent past involved
collaborating with Lancashire County Council and consultants Mayer Brown in
how best to maximise the six years of Cycle Demonstration Town investment.
Thus as legitimate and appropriate stakeholders in the development of the A6
corridor from Lancaster city centre to Junction 33, we feel justified in submitting our proposals on behalf of the many cyclists in the district.
Moreover, cycling, which clearly has a major role to play in delivering
LTP3 objectives of meeting major national, transport and health policies, as well as observing Lancashire County Council’s own road user hierarchy, is not
represented in your list of named stakeholders.
Waiting to input at the public consultation stage has, in our experience, always proved futile. For this reason, we attach below for your consideration, at an early stage, our proposals for the A6 corridor with the necessary supporting evidence.
We look forward to hearing from you.
cc: County Councillor Tim Ashton; Jo Turton, Environment Directorate; County Councillor Chris Coates; County Councillor Joan Jackson
From the supporting documents:
Dynamo’s specific case is as follows:
a. The University – City Centre route links a major educational institution and
employer (LU) with a major health facility and employer (RLI), and with
multiple businesses in the centre.
b. A safe and attractive cycling route along the A6 would reduce transport, and
thereby social, inequalities by making the cheapest, healthiest, fastest and
most reliable urban transport modality available to all residents and visitors,
regardless of social milieu.
c. [Car parking] use of space does not meet any of the transport or
health goals stated in the relevant national or local policies, and interferes with the priority use of this corridor for transport.
d. As well as specific advantages for the A6 route, prioritisation of cycling
‘supports the district’s achievements in encouraging a culture of cycling and
e. Prioritisation of cycling … would reduce noise and pollution for people living near the route, the improvement in living conditions contributing to wider social policy aims.
f. Even more urgently from an ethical standpoint, there would be road safety
improvements for residents along the route, with less road space devoted to
fast and/or heavy vehicles, making the corridor a much safer place for users
of all ages, needs and abilities.
g. Prioritisation of cycling along the A6 would … demonstrate, in a highly visible way at the gateway to the city, leadership in the transition to low-carbon