Annual Report of Cyclesheffield, a cycle campaign group.
Presented at the AGM on 12 June 2014
in the Rutland Arms, Brown St
on Thursday 12th June 2014
starting at 8 pm.
Trams and Tram-Trains
Cycle Sheffield’s campaign for a trial of bike carriage on trams and tram-trains is currently on hold. After a huge amount of work, with Sheffield City Council’s endorsement and the support of 5 out of 6 of our local MPs, not all of Sheffield’s representatives attended the South Yorkshire Integrated Transport Authority meeting where the interior design layout of the tram-trains was debated. The votes for and against a design that could accommodate bike carriage were equal so the Chair – from Doncaster – had a casting vote and our campaign failed. However Sheffield’s Cycling Inquiry Report, which is likely to be approved by the City Council, recommended “that the Sheffield City Region Authority and public transport operators identify opportunities and commit to undertake pilot schemes within the next 12 months, with priority be given to trials on the Supertram network.” We will also await the results of Edinburgh’s trial.
CycleSheffield notes that nobody keeps comprehensive data on the incidents and injuries caused by collisions with the tramtracks. This was confirmed at the Cycling Inquiry. We are negotiating with NGH to keep global data on the number of incidents being presented at A&E, We have raised this issue at Cycle Forum and wish to pursue it so that reliable data on the scale of this problem is kept and the tram company takes tramtrack safety seriously. In light of this and the difficulties that the tram system has caused we are in principle opposed to any extension of the tram system on any more existing roads and streets
We have had some success with our spreadsheet for noting opportunities for improvements for Streets Ahead. The schedule for works is frequently changed and it has proved impossible to survey areas effectively to feed into the process.
We are concerned about the web-based system for reporting faults because the feedback to the reporting is inadequate. All you get is a number but no record of what you stated, it is noteable that Rotherham has a better feedback for people who report faults. Mind you communication for SCC officers with Streets Ahead is not straightforward either.
We have had members note that things reported have not been done or they have been fobbed off with nothing wrong, eg faulty traffic lights on Division St, but when exec have taken it up then it is admitted that there are faults. This should not be the way to get things done,
The Streets Ahead contract lasts until 2037
Having been through a hiatus the Cycle Forum now has a good attendance although somewhat male-dominated. We have been able to raise a number of important issues with the council through this channel. The forum now has a road schemes sub-committee where schemes are discussed with CycleSheffield before they get to planning application stage.
Ecclesall Rd “Smart Routes” – we fought a sustained campaign to keep the bus lanes, or at least have the bus lanes replaced by cycle lanes, and won some “concessions” on this (concessions probably the wrong word as the council should be catering for cyclists as matter of course.) We stopped the pavement up to Banner X being converted to shared use which would be dreadful for everyone.
There are a number of improvements going in for cyclists as part of the scheme so the next step is to keep a close eye on these, make sure any snags are rectified and look at what needs doing in the next round of funding.
5WW & towpath.
The 5WW is a cause for concern. Much of it needs lighting, repaving, widening to make an adequate cycle route for everyday transport. The towpath from Meadowhall to Rotherham Town centre was opened and is good to use in daylight. However the 5WW route at Meadowhall is only ‘permissive’ and has been dug up with little warning and no adequate rerouting for an official part of the NCN to put in utilities and the towpath is now closed for months with no adequate alternative provided whilst the Bus Rapid Transit route is put in
Mixed results here and the good news is that the proposal to increase the speed limit to 40mph between Shalesmoor and the Barracks has not been approved. There will be some improvements to the cycle route although these are thought of as not good being enough. As with Eccie Rd we need to monitor what goes in on the ground, make sure any blindingly obvious defects are rectified and continue to press for improvements in future. Whilst less than perfect we will have a continuous off-road/quiet road route from Catchbar Lane to Kelham Island at last.
Asline Rd/Sheaf Valley Cycle Route
We fought off a couple of threats to this route, but we need to maintain vigilance and continue to press for improvements. The provision on Little London Road and Archer Road is poor – the lack of a pavement through the railway bridge by the “Lake District” is a disgrace.
We need the SYITA to decide what they want to do about improving public transport along the Sheaf Valley corridor – better heavy rail? Trams? Tram-train? so that cycle routes can be designed to link in with PT provision making the best use of the available space.
We lost our objection to the planning application for the Sainsbury’s at the entrance to Claywheels Lane. e got one concession that the shared use path at Sainsburys would be increased from 3m to 3.5m; we could not have more otherwise it would reduce the car park. Our questions about the quality of the cycle access within the site were not answered. The signalled junctions are now being installed and we believe that the number of crossings that cyclists will have to make will deter families and diffident cyclists from accessing NCN 627. The roundabout at Penistone Rd/Herries Rd/Leppings Lane is being taken out. There is no designated route for NCN 627 from Hillsborough Leisure Centre to Claywheels Lane and whilst there is a line on the green routes proposal we have no more info on this possible major commuting, tourist and recreational route. Frankly this is a 20th Century solution being installed 14 years into the 21st Century.
Graves Leisure centre planning applications objections and surveys
CycleSheffield opposed the planning application on the grounds of an inadequate transport assessment and travel plan. We undertook our own survey and showed that the professional survey on which the transport assessment was based was inadequate. We were concerned that sustainable transport did not really figure at all nor did the needs of local neighbourhoods. Opportunities for minor improvements and changes to make better provision for walking and cycling were missed. This application was part of Sheffield’s Move More! plan and we think the best way to get the greatest number of Sheffielders to move more is to design urban space and highways so that people see walking and/or cycling as a genuine transport choice. We have said to SCC that we see this as a test case and that we expect consultants and engineers to get things right in the first place and not for us to have to be forever critiquing poor work. We also sent our objection to appropriate cllrs and officers and they have taken our concerns v seriously and acted on them.
As far as we know the planning application has been withdrawn and the client is no longer Sheffield City Trust who own SIV, the operating company. A new planning application will be put in soon.
Liaison with SYP
We have met with the Police Commissioner and a Chief Inspector to talk about liaison with SYP on cycling matters in general. A Road Police Inspector is now part of the Cycle Forum and he has ‘solved’ the issue of football coaches parking on Asline Rd. He was also v helpful in our liaison with the SYP about the Space for Cycling Ride. This liaison continues both formally and informally.
We have supported this campaign. Two members rec’d media training (free) from the campaign. Members have attended court hearings concerning “causing [cyclist’s] death by …” but court hearings are difficult to attend as they are timetabled v late and often deferred
This year 20splentyforsheffield has got a steering group together (not just cyclists!), attended the Annual 20 Conference in London, and continued its public campaign to get the Council to get a move on with the implementation of 20mph areas in Sheffield. (ie to do so by 2017) We are trying to put our message out to other relevant agencies (Police/Public Health) to get them on board, and plan to get out to the newest 20 area Community groups to give talks promoting compliance. A transcript of this talk see ‘letter to councillors’), giving a good summary of the case for a default 20mph limit in Sheffield, can be found on the 20splentyforsheffield website: http://www.20splentyforsheffield.org.uk/
This report will receive a response from Cabinet and the actions to be taken by SCC in July 2014
CycleSheffield proposed a local cycling inquiry in the summer 2013 to provide a Sheffield equivalent to the Parliamentary Get Britain Cycling report. We are pleased that the Council listened, sought and received support from all parties, and set up this inquiry. We have been part it, providing evidence, experience and expertise.
It certainly got a massive response because there were nearly 300 submissions of evidence from national and local organisations, and hundreds of Sheffielders, who all shared their cycling experience and offered positive ideas. Councillors, officers and ourselves organised and analysed the evidence, identified the salient points and learned from what is happening with cycling not only in Sheffield but also elsewhere in the UK and overseas.
The Get Sheffield Cycling report sets out 17 recommendations recognising that cycling has much to contribute to transport, health, local business and the environment – not forgetting that cycling with confidence is joyful!
CycleSheffield knows that the recommendation to start all planning and development by putting the needs of pedestrians and cyclists first is already being put in place. Developing cycling is not expensive compared to the total transport, leisure, tourism and air quality budgets and it has a great return for every pound spent. We trust that all the recommendations will be the basis of policy and practice for cycling in Sheffield in the short and medium term.
Our collaboration on this work is encouraging for our input to the next cycling action plan
There have been 10 SFNRs since the last AGM including the largest one ever in Sep 13 with 70 riders to the sweet shop in Rotherham – before the towpath was closed! Attendance per ride is approx 40 and rides have been provided in collaboration with Foodbanks, Velophone, and Green Homes. Sadly we seem to have completed the quadrilogy of Railways Rides. The mailing list stands at approx 250 and there are a 220 likes on the fb page. Two of the rides are planned to be turned into “Iconic Sheffield Sky Rides” for August 2014
As usual we have had 3 women-only rides this year: a full day ride during Bike Week, the ‘Rivers and Reservoirs’ route, for a picnic at Damflask serenaded by a cuckoo; a half day ‘Three Reserves’ ride visiting Salmon Pastures, Blackburn Meadows and Sunnybank to celebrate the Patron Saint of Cycling Day in October; and a half day ride for croissants and cakes at The Cock Inn in Oughtibridge through Beeley Woods, to celebrate International Women’s Day at the beginning of March. All were very enjoyable and the latter two were over particularly flat routes to encourage new riders; this was extremely successful and there were 27 of us on the latest ride – our record number of attendees.
Cyclenation is our umbrella organisation comprising the federation of campaign groups across the country. Simon Geller, our campaigns manager is its secretary. Having recognised that while some campaigning groups including CycleSheffield are doing well, others are struggling. This is leading to a drop in revenues that if not reversed would eventually cause the organisation to go bankrupt. Underlying this is the need for a vibrant and growing cycle campaign movement in the UK.
The Cyclenation Board is legally responsible for the financial viability of the organisation and take this responsibility seriously. We therefore launched a consultation about the future direction the organisation should take, going back to first principles about what Cyclenation is for. This culminated in a workshop at the AGM which came up with some clear proposals for the organisation. At the same time a new Board was elected wth some new faces so we are hoping to revitalise the federation. Simon will report further as the year progresses.
Space for Cycling,
Saturday 17 May may well be the biggest bike ride in Sheffield this year and it certainly will be the happiest. Approximately 240 people celebrated their desire to cycle in Sheffield in a joyful 4.5 mile ride from town centre out to Hunters Bar and back again via Nether Edge (the TdF peloton is only 198 riders – and on traffic-free roads). It was an inclusive ride with all sorts from children to pensioners, men and women, gay and straight, black and white and dressed in all sorts on all sorts of bikes. There were many more women than you would usually see on bike rides.
All were answering CycleSheffield’s call for people who cycle to demonstrate their desire for Sheffield to see itself as a cycling city and for councillors and officers to make Space for Cycling. The campaign wants a reduction in ‘rat runs’ in residential areas, better junction design and segregated bike lanes on busy roads, a joined-up cycling network in the city centre and in suburban centres, and that Sheffield starts designing and constructing NOW so that every Sheffield child is able to cycle safely to school.
Saturday 17 May was a real success. For 240 people to turn up to show their desire for Space for Cycling and have a joyful time riding through our city together sends a message to councillors that cycling is something that many more people would do if they felt the roads were designed and built better and space and transport planning put the needs of vulnerable road users first. As we cycled around we received so much support from people on the streets and people in cars and buses towards this ride that it shows that cycling in Sheffield will be popular. This is our mandate to say that Sheffielders want Sheffield to be a cycling city NOW; so, Sheffield City Council just do it.
So far 6 councillors have shown their support by signing up to the campaign.
Chris Rust and Mick Nott went and spent a morning surveying and talking to locals about the road junction at Poynton, which has raised a lot of national interest in street and highway design – away from signalled junctions and crossings to design by narrowing streets and slowing traffic to a slow but steady pace rather that stop-start all can move along or cross much more pleasant streets. We think SCC should be looking at trialing a design like this – Pensitone Rd would have been ideal, – Hunters Bar roundabout for the future?
We have written a preliminary report, more work is needed and we have discussed having similar site visits with SCC officers
Air Quality Action Plan and Director of Public Heath Report
These SCC documents, as well as national reports and policies, argue that active travel is a way of reducing air pollution, congestion, obesity, diabetes etc and increasing health and wellbeing. CycleSheffield have perused them and have been using them extensivley in arguing the case that SCC must support, promote and invest in cycling. We believe that this strategy has been effective.
Sky Rides start in Sheffield, and the rest of SY, this summer. SCC pays British Cycling to provide these and sees them as part of the Move More! plan. Sky have asked CyceSheffield for advice and help, and the ride programme manager came to a meeting to talk about the plans. Some past SFNRs will be adapted to become part of the programme. There will be a Sky Ride on closed off traffic free streets in Sheffield on Sun Aug 10 2014. Hopefully we will be able to have the CycleSheffield stall there.
Sheila McKechnie Foundation
SMK supports campaigners with info and training. In the last year we have supported three members to attend the introduction to campaigning workshops and Mick Nott attended a campiagning Master Class. Mick also reviewed their website content and was then invited to write some further support materials for the SMK website drawing on CycleSheffield experiences. CycleSheffield rec’d a £150 payment for this work.
CycleSheffield is a member of the SCCI Transport Forum. The SCCI have taken an interests in the work we did to guage the size of the cycling economy in Sheffield and also submitted a (positive) response to the Cycling Inquiry. CycleSheffield is make a presentation on the business case for cycling to the SCCI Transport Forum in June 2014
Sheffield Live! Local TV
CycleSheffield proposed a local TV prog about cycling. THis proposal was critiqued, revsied and submitted as The Joy of Cycling. It has now been selected for a ‘treatment’ to firm it up into a production of series of progs about cycling and cyclists in Sheffield. Mick Nott and Chris Rust worked up the original ideas and now other CycleSheffield members, Jeremy Lawrence and Adam Page, are to take the lead on this project. Production will start late summer/autumn. Exciting!
The administration of the membership is now a reasonably smooth procedure and we send out new cards at the beginning of each month. At the beginning of June we had 255 primary members and 172 household members, making 427 all together. Mick Nott handles enquiries, reminders, etc, Helen Hess provides the subscriptions updates and Tony Cornah administers the database and does the printing and posting each month.
Cycle Sheffield is promoted via various channels – web site, twitter, word of mouth, presence at various local events, e.g. Heeley Festival, Green Fair. Business cards & small display have been distributed to most bike shops in Sheffield, these are regularly replenished.