Dynamo wrote the following to County Councillors whose divisions include the A6 between the city centre and Lancaster University to seek “support for the installation of good quality cycle lanes” on this route.
I am writing on behalf of Dynamo’s members to ask for your support for the installation of good quality cycle lanes on the A6 between Lancaster city centre and Lancaster University, a scheme which already has the backing in principle of Councillor Tim Ashton, the cabinet member for Transport.
As you probably know Lancashire County Council has employed Jacobs Engineering to help it implement its policy objective of making the A6 corridor sustainable in transport terms. Dynamo met representatives from County, Jacobs and other stakeholders in January, and the outcome was positive about achieving the building of safe, continuous cycle lanes on the A6. As a rule of thumb, safe lanes are ones that a mother with her children on a trailer bike would feel confident in using. Unfortunately the current recommended cycle routes between the city centre and the University are circuitous and intimidating to many inexperienced and would-be cyclists because of perceived danger from fast moving traffic and some steep climbs.
You are also probably only too well aware that traffic is already frequently congested on the A6, and with the likely development in the near future of a new supermarket and the Bailrigg Science Park it is only set to become more gridlocked. That is why cycling, which is ideal for covering the relatively short, flat distance between the city centre and the University, is an appropriate mode of transport to provide a solution to this undesirable increase.
There is already a growing number of utility cyclists in the district, partly as a result of the success of Lancaster’s status as a Cycling Demonstration Town between 2005 -2011, but there is still a suppressed demand for cycling. Dynamo’s surveys of local commuters, shoppers and students showed that the overwhelming deterrent to cycling for utility purposes is fear of on-road cars, lorries and vans, and that if safe cycle lanes were built on busy arterial roads they would be keen to cycle.
Dynamo hopes you will lend your political support to this project which would do much to reduce traffic congestion and help the County meet most of the seven transport priorities it sets out in the 2011 Local Transport Plan: i.e. to meet its carbon emissions targets, improve access to education and employment, improve safety, and provide safe, reliable, convenient and affordable transport alternatives to the car – and of course promote the health of local citizens.
We look forward to hearing from you.
Yours faithfully… etc
This is Councillor Jackson’s reply:
I acknowledge receipt of your email and note the contents. Considering your comments on congestion I would have thought the current cycle route to the University would be more acceptable than the pollution on the A6.
Joan Jackson (Mrs)
Lancaster South East
The Dynamo committee felt this response wanted something in detail, so today we wrote individually to Councillor Jackson as follows:
Dear Cllr Jackson,
Thank you for your email of 11th April…
We acknowledge your response to the case for a continuous cycle lane along the A6 from the city centre to the University and Galgate.
Dynamo members will be pleased that you share their concern about pollution from motor vehicles along this route. However, for the reasons set out in the previous email we do not believe that the current setup is the most suitable for supporting cycling and reducing motor traffic pollution along the A6.
We also believe that a cycle lane would be an excellent facility for taking some of the load of motorised traffic off the A6, and so would begin to address some of your own concerns regarding the current pollution in that area.
To reiterate our concerns about the current cycle provision between the city centre and Lancaster University:
1. The current cycle routes entail significant obstacles to encouraging cycling. They include steep hills that challenge many cyclists, whilst the A6 does not have these obstacles.
2. The current cycle routes are on busy roads for much of their length, and so are not perceived as offering a safe-haven as compared with a protected cycle lane along the A6.
3. The current cycle routes are circuitous. They involve significantly greater distances than the direct route.
A dedicated cycle lane along the A6 would remove all these obstacles to cycling, and demonstrate the County’s commitment to its stated objectives within the 2011 Local Transport Plan.
Dynamo members would welcome the opportunity to show you in person the routes that are currently provided for riding, and discuss with you the benefits for Lancaster of providing dedicated A6 cycling provision. [The committee] would be delighted to facilitate your meeting with Dynamo members to advance healthy, efficient solutions for the A6 corridor, and we look forward to hearing from you.
Yours sincerely, etc…
To which we swiftly received this reply from Councillor Jackson:
I acknowledge receipt of your email. At present I do not have anything to add to my original response. Lancaster has spent a great amount of money on the cycle infrastructure unfortunately grants are not readily available due to the current economic circumstances. Just a passing thought – whichever way you approach the University you will have a hill to climb owing to its position.
Joan Jackson (Mrs)
Lancaster South East
If you live in Lancaster South East and/or would like a protected cycle route along the A6 between the city Centre and Lancaster University please let Councillor Jackson know via the contact information on her website http://council.lancashire.gov.uk/mgMiniSite.aspx?UID=164 that you support Dynamo’s initiative. At the same time, would you kindly let us know you’ve done so by leaving a comment here or tweeting to @LancasterDynamo. Thank you!