More funding for cycling measures in Bristol

Today, the government made its long-awaited funding announcement for tranche 2 of the Emergency Active Travel Fund. The first tranche was a relatively small amount of money for Bristol, thanks to the formula used by the government, which prioritised areas with high public transport usage. Nevertheless, this first round of funding delivered the “pop up” cycle lanes on Park Row, Lewins Mead, Mina Road, Counterslip & Clifton Triangle, as well as extra pavement space for pedestrians to enable social distancing. In tranche 2, the West of England Combined Authority (WECA) has been given its full allocation…

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Gear Change and LTN 1/20 – the start of a cycling revolution, or another false dawn?

Months, years and sometimes decades go by with only warm words and crumbs from Government on cycling. We’ve had false dawns before but on July 28 the government published two potentially revolutionary documents for cycling: Gear change: a bold vision for cycling and walking, and the less snappily titled LTN 1/20 Cycle infrastructure design. Showing commitment based on what has worked in London, in the foreword to Gear Change Boris Johnson says about cycling: It doesn’t just make you happier. It doesn’t just make you healthier. It helps millions of others too, whether or not they have any…

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WECA: more funding please!

Bristol Cycling Campaign calls on the West of England Combined Authority (WECA) to provide additional funding for walking and cycling. We understand that central government have allocated the first tranche of the £250m funding for walking and cycling in the COVID19 recovery, first announced on 9th May 2020. Of the £45m in this first wave, just £741,000 has been made available to the WECA region, as the allocation was based on levels of public transport usage in each region. To ensure effective measures can be implemented in Bristol and the surrounding areas, we are calling on WECA to reallocate some…

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Active travel in the age of Covid: £2bn investment announced

Two unusual words led the Government’s Covid 19 briefing on May 9; walking and cycling.  Why? It wasn’t just because the briefing was given by the Secretary of State for Transport Grant Shapps (though he does like what he calls travelling “under your own steam”) it was because active travel, walking and cycling is at the heart of the Government’s recovery agenda; they say we need to walk and cycle our way out of lockdown. It’s all about social distancing. When this is implemented on public transport as lockdown eases it will reduce capacity by up to 85%. It’s the…

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Local Cycling & Walking Infrastructure Plan Consultation

The West of England Combined Authority (WECA) – remember them, Metro Mayor, Tim Bowles? – have shown scant interest in active travel. But they have now put out a Local Cycling and Walking Infrastructure Plan (LCWIP) for a consultation which closed on 15 March 2020. This is important as the LCWIP is the only game in town for cycling improvements in Bristol and the surrounding area. It’s a mixed bag – quite a few protected cycleways proposed, but many shared paths etc. Also lots of “explore” this and “consider” that; very tentative. We expected this plan to set…

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WECA Joint Local Transport Plan Consultation

So we know our new West of England Combined Authority (WECA), and our new metro Mayor, Conservative Tim Bowles, will soon be celebrating being two years old. What are they for? Well they currently have a Consultation on a plan for transport (called the JLTP) throughout the region up to 2036. Wow an opportunity to make our streets safe and healthy for people and kids. Reduce motor dependency, clean up air quality and create green space; well may be not. The author of the JLTP probably spent their childhood playing Grand Theft Auto in a dark place, not messing…

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Why it matters that Bristol is preparing a ‘Local Cycling and Walking Infrastructure Plan’

After intensive lobbying by cycling and walking groups the Government set up a legally binding Cycling and Walking Investment Strategy (CWIS) in 2017.  The aim is “to deliver better safety, better mobility, and better streets”. All local authorities are supposed to produce a Local Cycling and Walking Infrastructure Plan (LCWIP), setting out their long-term approach to developing local cycling and walking networks, ideally over a 10 year period. In particular this means:

a network plan for walking and cycling which identifies preferred routes and core zones for further development
a prioritised programme of infrastructure improvements for future investment
a report which sets out the underlying analysis carried out and provides a narrative which supports the identified improvements and network

Here in Bristol we’re a long way ahead of many areas, and BCyC has blazed a trail with our Bristol Cycling Manifesto with its highly influential ‘tube map’. It will be no surprise that we’ve got a long list of priorities based on our detailed network plan, so we’ve had to work hard to distill these down to some specific routes that we want Bristol and South Gloucestershire to include in their first LCWIP (yes, Gloucester Rd is #1). [Cycle Bath have been doing the same with BaNES, see here, and we don’t think North Somerset are ready yet].

Here’s the BCyC submission, also copied below, LCWIP BCyC final13.8.18. Our Space for Cycling Forum of BCyC members will be closely involved in working with council officers as plans develop. We’ll see how far we get a meaningful plan with prioritised actions. Note that the LCWIP will form an action plan appendix to the Bristol Transport Strategy that is out for public consultation on 24th September 2018, watch this space for updates.

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The world, and Greater Bristol, needs more cycling champions

For all those campaigning for Space for Cycling, Brian Deegan is a hero, being the transport planning engineer who has delivered top quality infrastructure in London. But he says that without a ‘big gun’ cycling champion even skilled and committed council officers can’t transform our streets to make them more suitable to cyclists (and everyone), they can only deliver tinkering half-measures (The world needs more cycling champions). Is a cycling champion of the standard of Andrew Gillingham or Chris Boardman possible in Greater Bristol? Deegan says ‘if you can’t find one then you must make one… You will never get out…

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Metro Mayor Tim Bowles is failing us

Our friends at Cycle Bath have been taking the lead locally in attempting to engage the WECA Mayor Tim Bowles. Now frustration levels have reached boiling point as we watch helplessly as other metro mayors power ahead. The words ‘chocolate teapot’ are coming to be associated with Mayor Bowles. Metro Mayor Tim Bowles is failing us For anyone that caught the news on Friday, Chris Boardman raised alarm at the lack of progress on cycling recently in the West of England. You can catch a more detailed program and discussion on it on the Sunday Politics West if…

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Where is WECA’s vision for cycling?

Since the elections for the ‘Metro Mayor’ in 2017 and the setting up of the West of England Combined Authority (WECA), Bristol Cycling has been working with our friends at Cycle Bath on a Cycling Manifesto for the region. We’ve been asking for the same level of commitment from Mayor Tim Bowles, and his Transport supremo, James White, as is being seen in other cities, notably London and now Manchester where Chris Boardman is the cycling champion. Sadly there is little sign of any real vision or ambition. WECA transport policy seems to be simply about junction 18A of the M4,…

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