Advocacy / Campaigning Reports

Cycling Advocacy Report November 2021

West Midlands Combined Authority

The WMCA is considering applications for the post of Cycling and Walking Commissioner. This is a significant step as previously there was only a Cycling Ambassador.

A Cycling Ambassador’s role is to promote cycling within the existing road infrastructure.  A Commissioner role will be to create new infrastructure.  (S)he will develop business cases for at least 10 major cycling routes, secure funding and develop detailed designs.  Job description.

Coventry councillors visit Low Traffic Neighbourhoods

While cycle lanes separated from pedestrians and motorists are appropriate for highly trafficked urban roads (“A” and “B”), they are not suitable for side roads.  Instead motor traffic speeds and volumes need to be reduced.  Low Traffic Neighbours are an answer.

YouTube video of Coventry’s Cabinet Member for City Services speaking with the London Borough of Waltham Forest’s deputy council leader about what has been done there.

No doubt the view amongst Coventry councillors has been influenced by Birmingham’s significant actions on the issue.

Warwickshire cycle network proposals

See https://www.warwickshire.gov.uk/cycling/developing-warwickshires-cycle-network/2.

I’m worried about the current proposals for Warwick’s Coventry Road (A429). There’s a notable gradient on the road, which will make cycling speeds rather high.  Yet Warwickshire County Council is proposing a path shared with pedestrians north of Guy’s Cross Park Road.

Another concern are the junctions with side roads.  The proposals seem to be no more than the cycleway dropping to the carriageway.  That’s dangerous for people with low cycling skills (children?) and irritating for more skilled cyclists.  Coventry is installing cycleways where turning traffic has to rise to the level of the footway/cycleway when entering or leaving the side road – a more satisfactory solution.

Cycling Advocacy Report August 2021

Road traffic laws – the ‘exceptional hardship’ loophole

Both Mike Thomas and myself emailed our MPs asking them to help close the ‘exceptional hardship’ loophole, which enables drivers to dodge driving bans despite accruing 12 or more penalty points.

Reimagining transport in the West Midlands 

In the past transport planning has been based on the “predict and provide” principle.  “Predict” where under-capacity will be a problem and then build more.

The planners are recognising that this has led to a lot of problems:

  • Increasing CO2 emissions
  • Deaths from air pollution
  • Urban streets blocked with parked cars
  • Major public health problems due to people having little or no physical exercise
  • Serious problems accessing services for those who can’t access a car
  • Serious political problems from NIMBYs, due to never ending road building and congestion

To name a just a few. So this “Green Paper” proposes that transport projects should be assessed according to how much they help with societal objectives.  Namely:

  • Sustaining economic success
  • Creating a fairer society
  • Supporting local communities and places
  • Making people more (physiologically) active
  • Tackling the climate emergency

I’ve been taking part in the consultation. It’s important to understand where local policy makers are coming from; in order to come up with arguments which they would find convincing.

Coventry Airport Redevelopment

A large factory making and re-cycling batteries is proposed on the site of Coventry Airport. Planning application.

The promised cycling infrastructure is significantly better than what is in place at the moment – it’s to LTN 1/20 standards.

Cycling Advocacy Report May 2021

The main activities have been raising the need for a step change in the quality and quantity of cycle infrastructure in the West Midlands Combined Authority (WMCA) elections and contributing to the discussion on a new Coventry Transport Strategy.

The WMCA area has been somewhat behind not only London but also the other “urban sprawls”, such as Greater Manchester and the West of England area, in their efforts to increase cycling. The WMCA and Liverpool only have Cycling and Walking Ambassadors; that is people who promote cycling on existing infrastructure, whereas Great Manchester and London have Cycling and Walking Commissioners.   Commissioners have much bigger budgets and work closely with the local authority leaders to get significant infrastructure change.

Here‘s what cycle campaigners got the winning candidate, Andy Street, to sign up to.

I hope to publish a blog post on the new Coventry Transport Strategy sometime in the coming weeks.

Blog posts have been made on the following subjects: