21st MAY 2021.
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.
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.