Sunday, 9 November 2014

Central Library Cycle Parking Update

I cycled home today past the library, as I'd been told that it was looking really good now the hoardings had been removed and that some of the bike racks were in place. However, on arrival, the first thing I noticed was that even late on a Sunday afternoon, bikes were still being locked to the tram stop railings.



Yes the place does look a lot better, but you have to look hard to find the new bike racks.



Of the pile of racks that were propped up against the ugly cabinet



a grand total of two have been installed near the Library entrance.



Yes, just two.



So what happened to the other seven?



I found four of them all the way round the other side of the building. Convenient for the town hall entrance, but I doubt people will use them when visiting the library, so people will continue locking bikes up to the tram stop railings. I went all the way round the block and could not find the other three.



I know Manchester City Council are putting together a project to put more cycle parking in the city centre, but it is really sad when an expensive scheme like this one did not include sufficient cycle parking to meet even the current demand.

Of course, one impact of this scheme was to close the cycle route across the front of the library, so one wonders if the designer hoped the bicycles would go away.

Saturday, 8 November 2014

Wilmslow Road Cycleway meeting Thursday 13th November 4pm - 7pm

I received this email from Manchester Cycle Forum yesterday.

If you have not already received this email, then I suggest you email cycle.forum@manchester.gov.uk and ask to be given details of this meeting.

Dear Cycle Forum,

In the summer of 2013, Greater Manchester successfully bid with Transport for Greater Manchester (TfGM) to secure £20 million of national investment, to be spent over two years, to make cycling safer and easier in the region. Of the seven routes selected for the first phase, six routes are located or have sections within Manchester.

The Wilmslow Road Cycleway will be an improved on-highway, and largely segregated, cycle route from Wilmslow Road to East Didsbury with further links to the Trans Pennine Trail and Mersey Valley cycle paths.

The route is part of the first phase of the ambitious VĂ©locity 2025 strategy which will see cycling in Manchester transformed over the next 12 years. The Velocity 2025 cycling strategy aims to double the number of daily cyclists by 2015 – and then double it again by 2025. Manchester’s vision is for up to 10% of all journeys to be made by bicycle by 2025.

Wilmslow Road is a heavily used cycle route from Didsbury towards/from Withington, Fallowfield, Rusholme and Manchester City Centre. Using a combination of upgrading existing cycle route provision and largely segregated proposed measures for Wilmslow Road, the upgraded route will provide a high quality cycle corridor providing a strong safe link to communities of South Manchester to employment opportunities within the Regional Centre area.

To support the new cycle facilities, traffic regulation orders (TROs) will be upgraded along the route to reduced issues with on-street, all-day parking.

We would like to invite you to our drop in session on Thursday 13th November between 4pm and 7pm (room TBC) to view and comment on the associated drawings for proposed works between Platt Lane and Didsbury Village. Members of the design team will be in attendance and available to answer questions about the route and the proposals on display.

Please confirm your attendance by replying to this email. Thanks.

The plans we have seen so far have been poor quality. We need to get Manchester City Council to stop wasting money and put in good quality cycle infrastructure and stop people being injured and killed cycling along this route.

Thursday, 6 November 2014

Bolton Cycle Forum - 12th November

Bolton Cycle Forum is back...

The next meeting will be on Wednesday, 12th November 2014 from 6pm to 7.30pm.

The meeting will take place at the Bolton Artillery Suite at Bolton Town Hall, Victoria Square, Bolton, BL1 1SA.

Access will be via the Albert Halls entrance only because of works going in in the Town Hall.

Contact Jonathan Mayo at Bolton Council to indicate whether you will be attending.

Jonathan Mayo, Secretary for Bolton Cycle Forum. Email: jonathan.mayo@bolton.gov.uk



Photo is of NCN Route 55 in Bolton.

Sunday, 2 November 2014

Cycle Forums in Greater Manchester

I've taken on the task of getting all the cycle forums into the Love Your Bike Cycling Events Calendar and there is quite a contrast between the different councils.



Manchester Cycle Forum runs every quarter, is chaired by a city councillor and usually packs out the room it is held in. Details of the meetings are posted on the council web site, but agendas and minutes of the meetings are not posted on the web site.

Salford Cycle Forum is also held quarterly, run by the cycling officer. Details of the meeting are available on the council web site along with agendas and "Action Sheets".

Trafford Cycle Forum is held quarterly. It is chaired by a cycle campaigner rather than an officer or councillor. Agendas and Minutes are both posted on the web site and the meetings are well attended.

Oldham Cycling Forum has restarted this past year and is an ad hoc affair. There is no information on the web site and meetings have come to my attention via twitter, so I have publicised them as best I can. Some details have also been posted on the TfGM web site.

Stockport Council’s Public Cycle User Group "meets once per month in the Town Hall, and is open to all cyclists and others who have an interest in cycling." There is a web page with the most recent draft minutes. In fact the general meetings are every other month with specialised meetings in the other months. Attendance is a bit smaller.

Bolton "At long last, the Bolton Cycle Forum is back! The next meeting will be on Wednesday, 12th November 2014, starting at 6pm." First meeting will be at the The Bolton Artillery Suite, Bolton Town Hall, Victoria Square, Bolton, BL1 1SA. So far this information hasn't reached the council's cycling web page I could find.

Bury Cycling Forum "was established in 1996 at the request of local cyclists. Until 2011 it met four times a year to discuss cycling issues and was attended by cyclists, Council officers and occasionally, Council Members. The Council doesn't currently have a cycling officer so meetings of the forum are not being convened." So this is a dead cycle forum.

Tameside is another dead cycle forum, it folded over four years ago.

Rochdale has no sign of a cycle forum, and very little info on their web pages.

Wigan also has no sign of any consultation on cycling, there are just the usual platitudes on cycling on their web site.

Trafford Cycle Forum - 26th November

The next Trafford Cycle Forum is on the Wednesday 26th November 2014, from 6-8pm and is open to anyone to go along who has an interest in cycling. Recent forums have had reports on topics like progress on the Bridgewater Way, pictured below.



From the Trafford Council Web Site:-

The Trafford Cycle Forum is a group for local cyclists to meet and debate the issues that matter to cyclists. Meetings are always lively and interesting, with a wide range of topics being discussed. The group meets quarterly, with meetings moving around the Borough.

The next meeting of the Trafford Cycle Forum will be held on Wednesday 26th November 2014, from 6-8pm, at Trafford Town Hall, Talbot Road, Stretford. Future meetings are scheduled for Tuesday 17th February 2015 and Tuesday 19th May 2015 (venues to be confirmed).

If you would like to get involved in the Trafford Cycle Forum, or receive information about events for cyclists in Trafford, please contact Dominic Smith, on roadsafety@trafford.gov.uk or by phone on 0161 912 4312.

Minutes of the last meeting.

Saturday, 1 November 2014

Halloween Critical Mass

As the clocks change we enter the season of blurry photos... (if you are after pin sharp, high quality photos of the evening take a look at Dominic Torrisi's pictures of the ride)



This October's Critical Mass fell on Halloween itself. It was also the warmest Halloween on record, ending in a dry evening making for a great party atmosphere out on the streets. It was a wonderful evening where Critical Mass fitted perfectly with the mood and dress sense of the rest of the party-goers in Manchester.



Well perhaps the dress sense of Critical Mass went just a bit further...



...quite a bit further in some cases!



So many people had turned out in some sort of outfit, creepy in most cases



whilst others were sweet pussycats :)



With Cooper Street blocked off the start was a bit awkward, with a short section of tram track on Mosley Street to get onto Fountain Street.



There was a new sound system on this ride, playing motorbike engine noises along with the music!



The mood of the ride was very relaxed and in full party mode.



Some people had even dressed up their bikes too.



Lots of photos and video was taken.



And we spooked the city centre looping round through many streets twice.



All in all it was a great ride, possibly the best ever. I couldn't count all the riders, but it seemed to be well in excess of 200.



The ride kept itself to the city centre so was quite short and ended at The Angel where there was a performance by The Spokes.



Can we critical mass get any better?

Thursday, 30 October 2014

Velocity plans out to public consultation

With no notice for the members of Manchester's Cycle Forum Manchester City Council has put the plans for the "Airport Cycleway" and "Prestwich Cycleway" out to public consultation on their web site.

Members of Manchester Cycle Forum took part in a pre-consultation exercise to try and ensure the plans would be of good quality before they went out to public consultation. Unfortunately our objections to the very poor quality of the proposals were ignored and the plans that are being presented seem to be every bit as bad as the original proposals.

The photographs on this page give you some idea of just how poor the proposals are; rubbish temporary plastic armadillos, dangerous road narrowings, long delays at road crossings and unprotected junctions are featured - there is no sign of the good quality Dutch-style facilities of the original plans.

The closing date for comments is Monday 1 December 2014.




---------------

These were my original objections to the Airport Cycleway

1) General Design

The proposed design lacks ambition for encouraging of cycling in the city and when judged on the five core principles of design for people walking and cycling, these being

* safety
* coherence
* directness
* comfort
* attractiveness

These proposals fail in part on all these principles. It also fails to take account of people with children in cycle trailers or people with disabilities who ride unconventional machines such as handcycles.

2) Barriers

The proposed K Gates http://www.kbarriers.co.uk/k-barrier-gate/ for the access off of Brooks Drive are totally unacceptable as part of the Velocity Proposals. These barriers prevent people with many different designs of bike and tricycle from getting through.

A quick question on twiter about experiences this type of barrier elicited some very negative responses.

For more on why this is a bad idea see
http://www.ctc.org.uk/article/cycling-guide/barriers-on-cycle-paths
http://www.leedscyclingcampaign.co.uk/sites/default/files/uglys%20Lucy_0.jpg

3) Shared Use Pavements

There are several long sections of low quality pavement in this proposal, particularly around Tuffley Road and Simonsway. Whilst short sections of pavement _may_ be acceptable to bridge a gap, long sections of pavement with untreated junctions are a complete waste of money. Most people will ride on the road because of the danger created at every side turning. They also create confusion and treat cycling as the lowest priority form of transport

For more information see
http://www.camcycle.org.uk/newsletters/111/article11.html

4) "Light Segregation" aka Armadillos

The proposal to use small plastic humps to separate cycles from heavy traffic on the bridge over the M56 is totally unacceptable. This section of the route is one of the most dangerous and requires an extensive redesign of the junction as well as hard segregation.

Armadillos have failed to protect cycle lanes in Camden and Salford from encroaching motor vehicles.

See
http://madcyclelanesofmanchester.blogspot.co.uk/2014/06/armadillos-dont-believe-hype.html
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fv2xDZWqFzI

5) Junction Treatments

The proposal for the junction treatment at Altrincham Road is simply unacceptable. It forces cycles round a long diversion onto a staggered toucan crossing. This will add a considerable delay, possibly of over two minutes for anyone cycling. As a result it will not get used and people will cycle on the road.

Other junction treatments on this route are also poor.

6) Conclusion

These proposals do not achieve the standard I would have hoped for from the Velocity project and need to be considerably improved before they go out for public consultation.

---------------

These were my original objections to the Prestwich Cycleway (previously known as the Prestwich City View Cycleway)

1) General Design

The proposed design lacks ambition for encouraging of cycling in the city and when judged on the five core principles of design for people walking and cycling, these being

* safety
* coherence
* directness
* comfort
* attractiveness

These proposals fail in part on all these principles. It also fails to take account of people with children in cycle trailers or people with disabilities who ride unconventional machines such as handcycles.

2) Coherence

This route completely fails to connect to the city centre. The route down Cheetham hill is not a cycle route at all, it is a busy road with a few token bits of green which will have no effect. This route is completely unsuitable. The failute to create a connection with the rest of this route just compounds the problem.

By contrast there is the possibility of connecting the centre of Manchester via Danzic Street and Collyhurst Road, but this has been completely ignored.

The routes also include Heaton park which is closed after dark. Such routes are totally usless for commuting in the winter.

3) Barriers

The proposed use of barriers is totally unacceptable as part of the Velocity Proposals.

For more on why this is a bad idea see
http://www.ctc.org.uk/article/cycling-guide/barriers-on-cycle-paths
http://www.leedscyclingcampaign.co.uk/sites/default/files/uglys%20Lucy_0.jpg

3) Shared Use Pavements

There are several sections of low quality pavement in this proposal. Whilst short sections of pavement _may_ be acceptable to bridge a gap, long sections of pavement with untreated junctions are a complete waste of money. Most people will ride on the road because of the danger created at every side turning. They also create confusion and treat cycling as the lowest priority form of transport and will face opposition from local people who walk on these pavements.

For more information see
http://www.camcycle.org.uk/newsletters/111/article11.html

4) "Light Segregation" aka Armadillos

The proposal to use small plastic humps to separate cycles from heavy traffic in various places is totally unacceptable. These sections requires an redesign with hard segregation.

Armadillos have failed to protect cycle lanes in Camden and Salford from encroaching motor vehicles.

See
http://madcyclelanesofmanchester.blogspot.co.uk/2014/06/armadillos-dont-believe-hype.html
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fv2xDZWqFzI


6) Conclusion

These proposals do not achieve the standard I would have hoped for from the Velocity project and need to be considerably improved before they go out for public consultation.

If the proposals for Velocity are not improved they will face clear opposition from cycle campaigners.