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OCTOBER 7TH 2021

Plymouth Cycling Campaign (PCyC) Response to Plymouth City Council’s Consutation re LCWIP (Local Cycling and Walking Infrastructure Plan)
Plymouth Cycling Campaign is a non-statutory consultee recognised by Plymouth City Council

Foreword

As a cycling campaign, we are committed to make it easier for people to cycle throughout the city and into the neighbouring areas outside the city boundaries.  We recognise that cycling is one part of the active travel agenda and the LCWIP but have limited our comments to cycling aspects only.

Cycling is increasingly popular locally as a leisure activity and more people are using bikes to cycle to work, school or for utility journeys but the numbers remain low. We have noticed increased use of electric bikes, especially among the older age group such as recently when a gentleman age 92 was accompanied by one of our committee on a hilly cycle ride of 22 miles in South Hams. Equally young children and families have joined rides with us and will cycle when they feel safe.

Our cycling design criteria are reproduced from Table E/1.1.1 of CD195 as follows:

  1.  Coherence: Cycle networks link trip origins and destinations, including public transport access points and are continuous and easy to navigate.
  2. Directness: Cycle networks serve all the main destinations and seek to offer an advantage in terms of distance and journey time.
  3. Comfort: Infrastructure meets design standards for alignment and surface quality, and caters for all types of user, including children and disabled people.
  4. Attractiveness: Aesthetics, noise reduction and integration with surrounding areas are important.
  5. Safety: Cycle networks not only improve cyclists’ and other road users’ safety, but also their feeling of how safe the environment is (their personal security).

Our policy mirrors DfT Cycle Infrastructure Design LTN1/20, Highways England CD195 and UK Government Climate Emergency which calls for 50% of all journeys in urban areas to be walking or cycling by 2030.

Barriers against Cycling

Local people consider Plymouth to be hazardous for cycling.  There are limited through routes connecting urban areas and what infrastructure has been provided is often piecemeal and fragmented.  On road cycle lanes that currently exist are not acceptable to the public.  The Government’s accepted view is that reasonably healthy people can cycle up to 5 miles for travel to work or school.  In our opinion, this can be increased to 10 miles with an electric bike.  People will not cycle unless the 5 design criteria described above have been met and this does not exist in Plymouth.

The city has shown that it knows what to do but has not delivered it.  Examples of good practice may be seen alongside the A379 but the problem is that nothing is complete.  These good examples include taking out unnecessary traffic lanes, provision of wide traffic free paths and provision of a parallel crossing.  More good practice can be seen in the SCN published in 2017 which we supported at the time. 

Developing an LCWIP for Cycling.

We support the principle using the six generators as the Consultation sets out and welcome the principle of having route plans that have had some detailed work done on them already for when funding becomes available.  However, we also note that Route 1 and 2 in the audited cycle routes are graded as ‘low’ cost schemes. We would urge PCC to allocate some of their own highways budget to funding these schemes so that the LCWIP makes a difference on the ground and gains momentum. 

The draft LCWIP recognises that some of the routes pose real challenges, and we acknowledge and welcome that positive proposals have been put forward rather than just putting those routes in the ‘too difficult’ pile and looking for something easier. 

It is also encouraging to see that data about real journeys people are already making by non-cycle modes of transport is being used from the Propensity to Cycle Tool, albeit based the 2011 census. However, there is a lack of data about actual cycle journeys made in Plymouth and more needs to be done to establish an accurate picture of which routes are most popular and/or which routes most people would choose to use if they were better. Other sources of data are also available about existing and potential cycle journeys and new methods of collecting real time data are available (for example from https://seesense.cc/pages/planners) and we would like to see greater use of these sources to prioritise investment in the cycling network.

We also welcome the inclusion of references to consideration of 20 mph zones even on non-residential roads and re-allocation of road space in some of the cycle route proposals but urge greater use of these interventions to maximise the potential for more journeys by bike in Plymouth.

We also have the following comments:

  1. We have noted the audited proposals for cycle routes and consider that they are fairly minimal (just 4 routes).  The city must be more ambitious to meet the Government’s target of 50% of journeys within the city to be walking or cycling by 2030. In order to achieve this goal, the aspirations and delivery need to be more ambitious so that active travel becomes the natural first choice for journeys within Plymouth.
  2. No account is taken for travelling into Plymouth from surrounding areas such as Yelverton, Ivybridge, Yealmpton and the proposed Freeport. 
  3. Existing routes are not referenced in the document even though there is considerable potential for new cycling and walking journeys if those routes were upgraded.

We consider therefore that the first issue LCWIP for cycling should comprise the following as a minimum in addition to those already identified:

  • Upgrade the Embankment due to its strategic location, including links to the city and train station
  • Roborough – City
  • Langage – Sherford – Elburton
  • Saltash – City
  • Saltash – Derriford – Woolwell
  • Ivybridge – Marsh Mills – City
  • Ivybridge – Derriford –Woolwell
  • Yealmpton – Elburton – City

In addition, we would like to see more emphasis on developing further low traffic neighbourhoods and the introduction of 20mph speed limits in residential areas as standard. Subsequent LCWIP routes could then be developed to act as arteries linking these safer, lower traffic / lower speed neighbourhoods which would have a significant impact on making people feel safer on two wheels.

If the intention is to update and review the LCWIP annually, we would welcome this.  This first stage document is extremely important and we believe that our proposals above should be incorporated within the document to reflect the needs of cyclists as we understand it.

Submitted to Plymouth City Council October 3rd 2021 by Plymouth Cycling Campaign (a recognised non-statutory consultee)

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21st May 2021

Sir Gary Streeter lends his support for better cycling infrastructure

MP LENDS SUPPORT TO ACTIVE TRAVEL
Following numerous representations about the poor state of our footpaths and cycle lanes, South West Devon M.P., Sir Gary Streeter invited representatives from local community groups to show him on site the four most notorious black spots on the primary route linking Ivybridge with Plymouth.
Sir Gary used his bike to view two hot spots at Lee Mill and Western Road roundabout in Ivybridge. He also visited Cot Hill junction and the Ridgeway in Plympton. This route links Plymouth City Centre, Drakes Trail, Saltram and the Barbican with Ivybridge, southern Dartmoor and the South Hams.
The community groups were lead by Graham Wilson, Chair of PL21 Transition Initiative and invitees included John Abraham, Chair of Plymouth Cycling Campaign together with local residents from Plymouth, Lee Mill, Yealmpton and Ivybridge.
“People come to us saying how our roads are dominated by cars and they don’t feel safe on foot or bike. They say that the footpaths are too narrow, there are few proper crossings, there is nowhere for children to cycle and disabled people including wheelchair users are especially discriminated against by the way some streets or places are designed. Many people say that they would prefer to
cycle to work but it is not safe so they drive instead” says Graham.
“A safer commuting/leisure cycling route linking Plymouth city centre to Plympton, Lee Mill, Ivybridge and South Hams towns beyond has been a long-standing ambition. Much of this route exists, but a number of dangerous crossings prevent it meeting the criteria for a safe route, one of which is that it should be suitable for an unaccompanied 12 year old. Imaginative solutions have been proposed for these ‘hot spots’, but it needs the political will to allocate funding, which currently prioritises roads over sustainable transport” comments John.
Ally Kohler, Director of Conservation and Communities responds saying “Dartmoor National Park Authority welcomes opportunities to improve and develop safe green and active travel routes to and from the National Park that support both leisure and utility journeys. The Dartmoor National Park Management Plan Review promotes the need for a green transport plan for the National Park and recognises the potential of the A38 corridor to provide green transport links to connect communities and provide a resource for leisure and tourism.”Sir Gary says that “It was really informative to meet with local cycling groups and residents on site in Plympton and Ivybridge. Seeing the challenges local cyclists face for myself brought home the issues and the need for action if we are to encourage active travel as a solution to climate change and for health and well-being purposes. I am meeting with South Devon local authorities and Sustrans to discuss our proposals for cycling across the area in late June. I hope we can collaborate on a series of priorities and engage interested parties thereafter to see if we can progress it looking at all of the issues involved. It is not going to be easy, but we certainly need a better plan than we currently have”
A professional report for the Ivybridge area involving the community, town council, community college with four public drop in meetings and organised jointly by Sustrans, Ivybridge Town Council and PL:21 Transition Initiative was undertaken in 2019 with update this year. There was consensus that the public highways are deficient locally with significant barriers that deters active travel.

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August 7th 2020:

Plymouth Cycling Campaign (PCyC) and Plymouth City Council (PCC) agree new Strategic Liaison Group

Over the last few months dealings between ouselves and the city council have been frustrated by poor communication and lack of transparency over key decisions. We have continued to push for positive change for cyclists and cycling in Plymouth and have kept up our lobbying. We are pleased to say that this has led to the setting up of a Strategic Liaison Group with senior officers from the city council and committee members from PCyC agreeing to meet on a three monthly basis.

The first of these meetings took place earlier this week and the main focus for discussion was the detail of the recent successful Transforming Cities Fund bid from which PCC has secured an initial £7.6m in tranche 1 with a further £51.2m in tranche 2. This funding is for sustainable transport schemes in general but does include welcome improvements to cycling infrastructure and measures to boost cycling in the city. One of the council officers leading this scheme will be giving us a more detailed briefing on TCF and an overview of the elements of the bid can be found here:  https://www.plymouth.gov.uk/parkingandtravel/transportplansandprojects/transportplans/transformingcitiesfund

We also discussed the Emergency Active Travel funding package. Plymouth was successful in getting the full allocation of £249 000 in tranche 1 which will fund a city centre cycle path along Armada Way and a variety of other measures, some of which we have campaigned for over a long period such as mandatory restrictions on parking in cycle lanes on Devonport Hill and Billacombe Road, introduction of cycle contraflows and removal of cycle lane barriers.

The bid for the second tranche of funding worth almost one million pounds has to be submitted by 7 August. This funding must be spent by March 2021 so there are limits on what is deliverable in that timescale. We have again submitted a number of schemes including reallocation of road space, safety improvements on roundabouts and crossings, further contraflows, safety and signing improvements that we believe will make it easier and safer for people to cycle around Plymouth. While this is billed as emergency funding the clear intention is that measures put in place should become permanent.

We were able to make clear that a number of the Campaign’s priorities have not yet been addressed, and as more funding becomes available we will continue to raise these at our quarterly meetings with the Council. For an overview of what we are campaigning for, visit our Campaigns page.

In the next meeting of the Strategic Liaison Group we will review progress on the TCF and Emergency Active Travel Fund and want to discuss the next annual Climate Emergency Action Plan.