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Headlines   B4063 Staverton to Arle Court
B4077/B4078 junction changes
Bike hire schemes close
Campaign to produce smarter travel map for Tewkesbury
Changes offered for Henrietta Street
Cycle lane to be protected at Henrietta Street
Cyclists forgotten as High Street one-way scheme implemented
Elmbridge transport scheme announced
Evesham Road narrowing goes ahead
Gloucestershire officers at cycling seminar
High Streets ‘Closed’
Honeybourne Line barrier creates hazard
London Road under the spotlight
Lower speed limit on Cleeve Hill
One blockage removed
Police crackdown on Gloucester city centre cycling
Prestbury Road roundabout - your views please
Protect your bike
Rudgeway Lane to re-open for cyclists
Tempo increased for Count Me In in Tewkesbury
Tewkesbury High Street remodelling
Tewkesbury signing audit gets go-ahead
Tewkesbury Smarter Travel map published
Waitrose parking on the move

Archive material: Please note that links and other references may no longer be available

Tewkesbury signing audit gets go-aheadHeadlines

Gloucestershire County Council has given the go-ahead for a survey to recommend new cycle and pedestrian signing in Tewkesbury. It is being funded as part of the Count Me In! project.

The survey, to be carried out by C&TCC member and cycling consultant John Franklin, will look at cycle and pedestrian routes across the town and recommend new and amended signing that will attract more people to use the routes. Following pilot work in Worcester and elsewhere, it is likely that signing will be in minutes rather than distance, to impress upon people that journeys by bike and on foot can be much quicker than they might think. Routes for cyclists and pedestrians will not necessarily be the same.

The project is due to be completed in January and a follow-up scheme will see the new signing implemented.

B4077/B4078 junction changesHeadlines

As one of the most crash-likely locations in Gloucestershire, the junction between the B4077 and the B4078 near Toddington is to receive remedial treatment by Gloucestershire Highways.

The scheme is intended to increase driver awareness of the junction hazard by adding junction marker posts and advanced signing. Vehicle Activated Signs will flash 'Slow Down' when drivers on the B4077 go above a set threshold speed. It is hoped that these measures will increase the prominence of the junction and help to reduce crash rates.

This location is also proposed to be resurfaced next year and extra lining will then be considered as a second phase of changes.

Cheltenham & Tewkesbury Cycling Campaign has told Gloucestershire that it has no objections to the scheme. The junction is not particularly hazardous for cyclists although visibility in some directions could be better.

Cycle lane to be protected at Henrietta StreetHeadlines

Work is to go ahead by next March on the installation of a new traffic island in Cheltenham High Street, just west of Henrietta Street. It will protect cyclists using the contra-flow lane in High Street from drivers who cut the corner when turning right out of Henrietta Street.

Gloucestershire County Council had proposed installing the island with a new cycle lane dog-legging around it, riding east. Cheltenham & Tewkesbury Cycling Campaign was concerned that the cycle lane would be awkward to use and likely to be blocked when vehicles park in the adjacent parking bay. Parked vehicles often overhand the existing cycle lane here.

Following a site meeting on 18th November, it has been agreed to modify the entry into the new cycle lane in a way that might make it less likely to be obstructed, whilst provided a more direct entry most of the time.

Protect your bikeHeadlines

NMPR (National Mobile Property Register)

Cycles are being stolen on a regular basis in the Cheltenham area, some from the street and cycle racks, others, usually high value, from sheds and garages. Gloucestershire police also receive many recovered cycles, and identifying these cycles can be very difficult.

If you do some or all of the following it will help us to identify your cycle should it be stolen and allow us to return it to you:-

Take these precautions and hopefully you will not be a victim.

PCSO 49091 Kim Graham
Safer Community
Cheltenham Town Centre Police Station
Talbot House
Lansdown Road
Glos. GL51 6QT
Tel. 0845 090 1234 ext. 6139
E-mail: kim.graham@gloucestershire.police.uk

Elmbridge transport scheme announcedHeadlines

Gloucestershire County Council is to submit a business case to the Department for Transport for a package of measures in the Elmbridge area outside Gloucester. These include:

  • A 1,000 space park-and-ride site adjacent to Elmbridge Court Business Park
  • 5 bus priority schemes
  • Capacity increases at Elmbridge Court roundabout
  • Diverting Cheltenham Road East to a new junction on the A40 bypass, with buses, cycles and access only for the existing road to the Elmbridge Court roundabout

The published plan has some ambiguities, such as "Pedestrian and Cyclist Improvements" shown against the Golden Valley Bypass - is this the road meant? Also, park and ride buses are intended to take only 12 minutes to Gloucester City Centre - an optimistic aim for today's congested road, but no proposals are shown to alleviate congestion on Cheltenham Road in Gloucester.

Cheltenham & Tewkesbury Cycling Campaign hasn't been consulted on these plans yet and we will need to ensure that they result in real improvements for cyclists. Work is not expected to begin before 2015, taking two years to complete.

More details of the proposals, including detailed plans, are available here.

Tempo increased for Count Me In in TewkesburyHeadlines

The tempo is being increased for the Count Me In project in Tewkesbury, which is encouraging more active lifestyles, including active travel and healthier eating. A website (http://www.countmeintewkesbury.com) is up and running and will be the place to find updated information on events and toolkits for people wanting to make changes. A toolkit on cycling is planned, to be produced by Cheltenham & Tewkesbury Cycling Campaign, which is represented on the liaison group that is coordinating Count Me In.

2010 will be the main focus of the campaign, which must achieve results (including an increase in cycling) by Spring 2011. A summer festival of walking and cycling is being considered and other activities to involve the local community. Good community involvement is seen as being essential.

Gloucestershire is to contribute nearly £1 million of cycling infrastructure to the project, but the main scheme - upgrading the old railway path from Morrison's to Green Lane - is not now likely to be finished before October 2010. It was originally scheduled for June 2009. There will also be a signing scheme for cyclists and pedestrians showing times to destinations rather than distances. A similar scheme has been implemented in Worcester.

A Tewkesbury cycling and public transport map was published in 2009, the work being undertaken by Cheltenham & Tewkesbury Cycling Campaign. An updated version is proposed for spring 2010. All households in Tewkesbury should have received a copy and the map will also be distributed to schools and businesses.

Businesses in Tewkesbury and Ashchurch are starting to come on board after the disappointing outcomes of the Juntion 9 Bike Week events in 2009. The Chamber of Commerce is also fully behind Count Me In.

One strand of the project that was completed earlier this year was a cycle audit of the town, carried out by C&TCC member John Franklin. The results of the audit are being used to implement changes in favour of cycling to new highway works as these are planned.

B4063 Staverton to Arle CourtHeadlines

The B4063 - the main route for cycling between Cheltenham and Gloucester - is to have various changes made to its layout between Staverton Bridge and Arle Court. The reason for the proposals is not yet known, but speed reduction is a possibility.

Some of the proposed changes are cosmetic, such as new markings to depict the edge of the carriageway and 'ghost islands' (islands depicted using paint markings only). Whether the latter will have any impact on speeds remains to be seen, but at least these features should not create new hazards for cyclists.

However, new splitter islands with kerbing and bollards are to be provided near either end of the scheme and these could adversely affect cyclists if the lane widths are not right. If there is not sufficient room for a car or van to safely overtake a cyclist, it is likely drivers will 'squeeze' riders at these places. Cheltenham & Tewkesbury Cycling Campaign is asking to see dimensioned plans to check these matters.

A new pedestrian crossing with an island is to be introduced east of Hayden Lane and another west of Badgeworth Road. Both of these could also make cycling more difficult if the designs are not suitable.

Although a new splitter island is to be provided not far away, east of Badgeworth Road, the scheme does nothing to make it easier for cyclists to leave the cycle track under Arle Court roundabout where it exits onto the B4063. This has always been a serious problem as cyclists leaving the cycle track have to compete, unprotected, with traffic coming fast off the roundabout round a blind corner and two lanes of traffic in the other direction. With better positioning and appropriate design, the splitter island could benefit cyclists.

It is not known if the B4063 is to be resurfaced as part of the scheme, but the poor quality of the road surface over most of this stretch is probably the greatest problem at present for the many cyclists who use it. Fixing the surface is likely to have a greater a benefit for cyclists than the marginal speed reductions that this scheme might lead to.

Prestbury Road roundabout - your views pleaseHeadlines

During the summer the roundabout at the 5-way junction between Prestbury Road, Wellington Road, Pittville Circus and Albert Road was rebuilt, in part to incorporate a new pedestrian island. Although the circulatory road is now not much different in width than previously, its inner side has been laid with blockwork in contrast to the tarmacadam of the remainder of the road surface.

Irregular surfaces such as blockwork can be hazardous for cyclists, particularly when it is wet or icy. Moreover, the boundary between blockwork and tarmac is where erosion is particularly likely to lead to surface damage over time as the two surfaces do not 'move' together when the temperature changes and water ingresses. At the very least, these sorts of surface require cyclists to pay careful attention to check that there is no new hazard and that, of course, distracts attention from traffic.

Observation and feedback suggest that cyclists are now much more hesitant making right turns at this junction, turning more widely, while motorists are unaffected and many do not allow for the impact on cyclists. However, C&TCC would like to hear your views if you use this junction. Do you now use it differently? Do you feel more vulnerable? Have you had any bad experiences?

Please let us know.

Changes offered for Henrietta StreetHeadlines

For some time, Cheltenham & Tewkesbury Cycling Campaign has been running a campaign to improve the safety of the cycle lanes where Henrietta Street meets the Lower High Street. Since the removal of an island between the contra-flow cycle lane and the main traffic lane in Henrietta Steet - as part of the Brewery development - motorists leaving Henrietta Street have been able to turn into Lower High Street more sharply, often intruding into the contra-flow cycle lane in that road. Many cyclists have reported near-misses because of this and many more have said that they feel very vulnerable here.

Now Gloucestershire has acknowledged that there is a problem and has offered to seek a solution. It is proposing a new island in Lower High Street at the end of the contra-flow cycle lane. The island would offer protection from right-turning traffic but would require cyclists to make a dog-leg manoeuvre to enter a repositioned cycle lane.

C&TCC is concerned that the entry to the repositioned cycle lane would be blocked for much of the time by vehicles using the adjacent parking space. This is narrow and short and frequently vehicles using it intrude into the existing cycle lane, sometimes obstructing it completely. If cyclists then had to ride to the right side of the island to get past, they would be even more vulnerable to turning traffic and also potentially committing an offence. The indirectness of the new lane might in any case lead some people to cycle to the right of the island at any time.

Gloucestershire says that it cannot go back to an island in Henrietta Street as large vehicles (such as refuse lorries) would not be able to make the right turn. That was not a problem previously as the footway was narrower at the junction.

C&TCC is still discussing options with the county. We would prefer a return to an island in Henrietta Street by removing the extended footway (the extra width is little used). Alternatively, the proposed island in Lower High Street might be a solution if one of the parking spaces was removed, to allow a more direct entry to the repositioned cycle lane with the ability to add bollards to prevent its obstruction.

Members who have a view on what they would consider acceptable are encouraged to contact C&TCC.

Lower speed limit on Cleeve HillHeadlines

Gloucestershire is consulting on proposals to lower the speed limit from 50 mph to 40 mph over a 880m length of Cleeve Hill. Extending from the dwelling known as 'Longfield' north-eastwards, the scheme has arisen after local residents raised concerns about the speeds of traffic in this area. Gloucestershire Police is supporting the proposal.

Cheltenham & Tewkesbury Cycling Campaign backs speed reduction, but thinks that 40 mph is still too high a limit for this section of road in a residential area. The road is narrow hereabouts and has two tight bends with limited visibility both horizontally and also vertically due to the sharpness of the hill at the southern end. These constraints mean that most drivers probably do not exceed 40 mph at present and those who do might not respect any marginal change in limit. To experience real benefit for residents, pedestrians and cyclists, a speed limit of 30 mph - or even 20 mph - would be more appropriate.

The closing date for making views known to Gloucestershire is 2nd October 2009.

Waitrose parking on the moveHeadlines

Some of the cycle parking stands at Waitrose, Cheltenham, have been moved next to the store entrance. This is a response by Waitrose to thefts of cycles from the original parking area that was more hidden.

If you use Waitrose, please let us know if you find the new parking location a good one or if there are any problems with pedestrians walking through the area.

It is not yet know whether the rest of the stands will stay where they are or also be moved.

One blockage removedHeadlines

Cheltenham has been experiencing a plague of obstruction to cycle facilities by contractors recently. In many cases our attempts to get the obstructions removed have been much slower than we would have liked.

However, action by C&TCC's Secretary when the cycle contra-flow bypass in Fairview Road was blocked has had it removed within two working days. An original promise by Gloucestershire Highways to remove it within one day was not kept.

Bike hire schemes closeHeadlines

The Yellow Bike Hire schemes in Cheltenham are closing down at the beginning of June. Difficulties facing the operating company OYBike is forcing them to withdraw from both the University of Gloucestershire bike hire scheme and also the much reduced public scheme which will now not be available this summer. It is still hoped that a larger, permanent scheme might come to Cheltenham in the future.

High Streets ‘Closed’Headlines

Both Tewkesbury and Cheltenham town centre streets have been closed off for essential works. In Cheltenham there has been a traffic ban, in Tewkesbury the High Street has been made one-way. And in Cheltenham the much needed and usually overflowing cycle parking has been removed or fenced off without any explanation or alternative.

Outside Regent Arcade the parking has been removed with no sign of replacement – ever. For a while the area had 94% cycle parking unavailable. ‘Not acceptable’ said Cyclecheltenham. To which Councillor John Morris retorted that ‘even cyclists have to be inconvenienced sometimes’. He was probably being mischievous, having understood full well the clear point that it’s not the essential disruption at issue, but the lack of any evidence that cycling issues were on the project planning checklist. We’re all familiar with the apologies, information and alternative routes notices for motors and pedestrians. Why not the same for cyclists?

With a little thought temporary cycle parking and ways through could have been found. The council officer in charge of the Tewkesbury work has conceded the oversight, but regrets it would take at least six weeks do anything via a revised Traffic Regulation Order (TRO). What opportunities the Councils wasted for demonstrating the bicycling benefits so proudly presented in their strategies and rhetoric. We have told them there’s little or no chance their strategies will succeed if they don’t consider cycling right through virtually all their operations. But will the penny drop?

Cyclists forgotten as High Street one-way scheme implementedHeadlines

Tewkesbury High Street has been made one-way northbound for two months to facilitate repairs to a leaning building near its southern end. All traffic has to divert onto Oldbury Road south of Sun Street. Although there is plenty of space in High Street to allow cyclists to continue to ride southbound, County engineers have not allowed for this, nor for them to turn into Red Lane as an alternative route.

Oldbury Road is not popular with many cyclists due to the many conflicting traffic movements, mini roundabouts and poor surfaces. It also makes journeys longer for many people. Cheltenham & Tewkesbury Cycling Campaign has raised this with Gloucestershire County Council and engineers admit they have made a mistake and that cyclists could have been exempt from the restriction. They will look at amending the traffic order, but as this can take 6 weeks to enact, the diversion may have run most of its course before a change comes into place.

We have impressed upon the County the need in future to take cyclists into account when works such as this are planned so that inconvenience is minimised and cycling remains a viable means of transport at all times.

Tewkesbury Smarter Travel map publishedHeadlines

A Smarter Travel map for Tewkesbury has been issued, produced by Cheltenham & Tewkesbury Cycling Campaign in conjunction with the Highways Agency and Gloucestershire County Council.

The map is in the style of the innovative Cheltenham map, grading all roads according to the skill needed for cycling. Most cycling facilities and parking places are also shown. In addition, the map shows bus routes in the area, taking our widely-praised mapping standard a stage further.On the reverse side is useful information about cycling, public transport and smarter driving.

The project has been part-sponsored by the Highways Agency to influence travel behaviour around the Junction 9 industrial area and so reduce congestion on the road network. Employees are being encouraged to cycle or take the bus or train as an alternative to driving. In addition the Tewkesbury Healthy Towns project is sponsoring additional copies of the map for distribution to most households in the area.

Tewkesbury High Street remodellingHeadlines

A new 20 mph zone is to be introduced in and around Tewkesbury High Street and changes made to pedestrian crossings and parking places. The junction between High Street and Sun Street is to become a mini-roundabout.

Given the particular circumstances in High Street, with a lot of people and generally low traffic speeds during the working day, most of the scheme will probably not make a lot of difference to cycling. The new mini-roundabout, however, is likely to increase uncertainty and anxiety for many people and thus detract from cycling. The existing roundabout at Bredon Road certainly has that effect.

Cheltenham & Tewkesbury Cycling Campaign (C&TCC) is also concerned that there should be a buffer zone next to the parking bays, to help keep cyclists out of the way of opening doors - a past casualty problem.

Although in part being introduced as a road safety scheme, it does not really address the causes of past cycling crashes, which have been relatively few in number. It is unclear, too, whether the changed environment will be enough to encourage more people to cycle. Cycle parking is to be increased along High Street.

C&TCC has made a number of comments about the scheme to Gloucestershire County Council and a recent audit of cycling conditions in Tewkesbury has drawn attention to similar issues. It is uncertain when the scheme will go ahead, due to current financial constraints.

Evesham Road narrowing goes aheadHeadlines

Evesham Road is being narrowed between Albemarle Gate and Central Cross Drive despite concerns raised by Cheltenham & Tewkesbury Cycling Campaign and local cyclists about the effect on cyclists using the road.

The road is being narrowed to just 6.3 metres for two-way traffic along this entire section of road, in part by installing new build-outs and car parking places. The road is on an incline and going downhill less confident cyclists, who are not prepared to ride in the middle of the lane, will be vulnerable to drivers overtaking them closely in insufficient space with oncoming traffic. Going uphill, all cyclists will face a similar problem as their speed will be lower. It is unlikely that motorists will be willing to wait behind cyclists for such a distance.

Gloucestershire County Council seems to find no problem with using cyclists in this way as traffic calming. The county's safety audit did recognise a problem at a single location which is being addressed by making the road at that point a mere 0.3m wider, but the safety audit makes no reference to the impact of the scheme on cyclists more generally. The scheme design disregards Government guidance on the minimum widths that are needed to accommodate cyclists safely and comfortably.

Honeybourne Line barrier creates hazardHeadlines

Without warning, a pedestrian barrier was erected across the cycle track exit from the Honeybourne Line onto Queens Road, opposite Cheltenham Spa station. The barrier is right across the flush kerb that was installed specifically to make it easier for cyclists to enter and leave the cycle track. As a result, the only way to and from the track at this place is a very awkward slalom around the barrier, riding on the footway.

Visibility to the left along Queens Road, never good, is now much worse where cyclists must enter the road. And when the new Tesco, now being built next to this location, is open, the hazards will be greater still.

Enquiries of Gloucestershire County Council about the barrier have so far failed to discover why it has been erected. It seems that it was installed by the Tesco developers, and there is rumour that the police or a councillor may have suggested it as a way of encouraging pedestrians to use the nearby traffic island to cross the road. This, of course, is irrelevant so far as cyclists are concerned and their use of the cycle track seems to have been ignored. However, the County itself is having difficulty clarifying the situation and doesn't yet know how to get it removed.

Cheltenham & Tewkesbury Cycling Campaign is continuing to press for a rapid resolution to this hazard.

Police crackdown on Gloucester city centre cyclingHeadlines

Sixty seven cyclists have been handed fines after a crackdown on people riding bikes in the pedestrianised zone of Gloucester city centre. Extra officers patrolled the four gate streets on Wednesday, March 4 and Friday, March 13. Any cyclist aged over 16 found riding in the area was handed a £30 on-the-spot fine, while those under the age of 16 were handed a warning.

The police intend to continue with the operation until cyclists adhere to the ban on riding bikes in the area between 10am and 5pm.

Gloucestershire Citizen, 24th March 2009

London Road under the spotlightHeadlines

Campaign members joined officers from Gloucestershire County Council recently to look at cycling conditions on London Road, Cheltenham. The Council had recognised that London Road could be a barrier to less experienced cyclists and were considering what might be done to help.

C&TCC felt that because of local conditions, special facilities on London Road (such as cycle lanes or a shared-use footway) could be detrimental to more cyclists than they would be likely to help. On the other hand, it might be possible to make improvements in neighbouring areas that could offer better alternative routes to people who did not want to use this road.

Cycle training would be another way to give more people the skills to use London Road safely.

The inspection then moved to the town centre end of London Road where the County is considering how it might allow cyclists to ride against the present one-way system from the end of The Strand to London Road. The Campaign supports this in principle but wants to ensure that it is executed to a high standard and not through the use of pedestrian infrastructure. Further consultation has been promised.

Campaign to produce smarter travel map for TewkesburyHeadlines

Cheltenham & Tewkesbury Cycling Campaign has been commissioned by the Highways Agency and Gloucestershire County Council to produce a map for Tewkesbury to encourage more people to cycle, travel by public transport or drive in a more environmentally-friendly manner.

The cycling content will be similar to that on the Cheltenham Cycle Map. All roads will be coloured according to the amount of cycling skill needed to use them, and separate cycle facilities will also be shown.

Overlaid onto the cycling map will be information about bus routes, and the reverse side of the map will contain general advice about how to travel smarter. The Highways Agency is supporting the initiative in order to reduce congestion of the M5 in the area by persuading some travellers to use a different mode.

The map is just one part of broader and interlinked campaigns that will focus on transport and health in Tewkesbury. The map is expected to be available in March.

Gloucestershire officers at cycling seminarHeadlines

Over 60 officers from Gloucestershire, the police and district councils attended a seminar in Gloucester on 14th January at which John Franklin - a cycling skills and safety consultant and Cheltenham & Tewkesbury Cycling Campaign member - presented a paper entitled Principles of Cycle Planning for Gloucestershire.

Noting how many cyclists view the outcomes from cycling planning as leaving a lot to be desired, John explained some of the basic principles about cycles and cycling on which good cycle planning needs to be based. Topics such as the conservation of momentum, surface quality, visibility and the need for personal space were explained, leading on to how road and cycle-specific infrastructure design needs to accommodate these requirements if cycling is to be practical, pleasant and popular.

John pressed his audience to get away from treating cyclists as pedestrians, for the needs of the two groups are quite different. Infrastructure designed for pedestrians is rarely suitable for cycling. Recent Government guidance was cited which calls upon local authorities to accommodate cycling in towns primarily on the roads, following a Hierarchy of Solutions with reductions in traffic speeds and volumes first and separate infrastructure only as a last resort. The limitations of cycle tracks and lanes were explained by John, noting that Gloucestershire has few good examples of either.

The seminar was chaired by Gloucestershire's cabinet member for the Environment, Cllr Stan Waddington, and it was through his influence and the hard work of cycling officer Emma Shibli that such a good attendance was achieved. It is understood that the presentation has caused quite a debate, as must be necessary if Gloucestershire is to treat cycling more seriously in future.

The full paper presented by John may be read here.

Rudgeway Lane to re-open for cyclistsHeadlines

When development of the Wheatpiece estate started on the outskirts of Tewkesbury, the minor road from Tredington to Walton Cardiff - Rudgeway Lane - was closed. It has remained passable on a bike, but with increasing difficulty as the estate roads have cut into the old road and it has been used by construction traffic.

Now Gloucestershire intends to re-open the lane as a bridleway for local amenity, but it could once again become an important route between Tewkesbury and minor roads to the south. Cheltenham & Tewkesbury Cycling Campaign has been consulted on the plans and we've made a number of observations, believing that the scheme must be implemented to a high standard if it is to achieve its maximum potential. Our comments relate particularly to the road crossings (seeking flush kerbs, proper signing, etc), safety at night (no protruding sockets when bollards removed, reflectorised signs, etc) and to the long-term status of the route and its maintenance standards.

If you have any observations to make, please contact us here. Consultation closes on 16th January 2009.

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