Category Archives: Space4Cycling

Write Again to defra: fRiar gate cycle lane removal

An everyday cyclist in the Friar Gate cycle lane

Derby Cycling Group have again written to DEFRA objecting to the removal of the cycle lane, shown here, on Friar Gate. We also object to the suppression of the amount of support for cycle transport which is expressed within the Clean Air Strategy consultation process, and we rebuff DEFRA’s excuses for why removing the cycle lane “is OK”.

DCG Open Letter to DEFRA regarding Derby Local Air Quality Plan Full Business Case

Please write again, yourself, to object to the removal of the Friar Gate cycle lane as part of Derby’s Clean Air Strategy.

Use your own story and maybe back it up with information from our letter and our two website posts below:

Friar Gate Cycle Lanes are Misrepresented by DEFRA

Friar Gate Cycle Lanes are Misrepresented by City Council

Note that MPs can only respond to their own constituents, but they will be aware of other correspondence as well.

Friar Gate Cycle Lanes are Misrepresented by City CounciL

Object again to the removal of Friar Gate cycle lane as part of Derby’s Clean Air Strategy.

The Full Business Case for Derby’s Local Air Quality Plan has been submitted to DEFRA by Derby City Council.

  • It barely mentions cycling. Sometimes cycling is most notable by its absence:
    • Figure 3 (page 23) excludes details of the changes to the Friar Gate/Bridge Street junction, where the cycle lane is to be removed. Why would the city council want to hide the removal of a cycle lane from the public and DEFRA’s view?
    • Section 2.4 (“Preferred Scheme”) also contains the following misleading point: “Changes … on Friar Gate to help provide alternative route choices”. On the contrary:
      • The removal of the cycle lane will reduce the alternative choices open to many cyclists and many will stop cycling here altogether; many others who may have considered cycling will never start.
      • As cycling should be a significant element in any long term air quality improvement strategy, this is a lamentable situation and the very words show that active travel has never been considered as part of this air quality plan; a shameful indictment.
  • The lack of mention of cycling is in spite of the air quality consultation showing that people in Derby want better cycle routes
    • The consultation for the three initial options  showed that, from 2,537 responses:
      • In Chart 4 (page 9) : 61.2% (4th highest) thought switching to lower emissions transport modes (such as cycling) can improve air quality.
      • In Section 5.1.11 (page 9), the top 3 suggestions for how to tackle air quality issues included “more cycle lanes or an improved cycling infrastructure”.
      • In Chart 5 (page 10): 31.7% of respondents (4th highest) use a bicycle as part of their current transport menu (this is omitted from the consultation summary, but the 6th highest (Train at 22.2%) is quoted instead! Why omit the statistics for cycling?
      • In Chart 6 (page 11) 36.1% of respondenat (4th highest) said they would consider using a bicycle more to help improve air quality,
      • However 16.3% of respondents who do not cycle said that poor infrastructure and safety concerns about riding on the road were barriers to them using their bikes.
    • From the 189 responses to the final proposal consultation :
      • 44% (4th highest) supported greater use of active travel investment and promotion (Chart 4, page 16)
      • 41.7 % (5th highest) supported expansion of the e-bike share scheme (Chart 4)
      • The most common “other comment” (17) called for increased cycling infrastructure.
    • So why is the cycle lane on Friar Gate being removed? Removal runs contrary to what people in Derby say they want.

The on-road cycle lane on Friar Gate is a cycle lane, and is an essential safety feature for all kinds of cyclists. It is the thing which enables most of those people cycling here to be there in the first place.  The desires of so many people in Derby to have more cycling infrastructure must be upheld. The cycle lane must be retained or replaced with something different which gives the same or better continuity and directness of route AND, therefore, enables the route to be developed further in the future.

Object to the removal of Friar Gate cycle lane as part of Derby’s Clean Air Strategy.

Friar Gate Cycle Lanes are Misrepresented by DEFRA


OBJECT again to the removal of the Friar Gate cycle lane as part of Derby’s Clean Air Strategy.

DEFRA have replied to some of the correspondence from objectors to the removal of the cycle lane on Friar Gate. Derby Cycling Group wonders where they have got their information from; they speak of “local knowledge being crucial in solving pollution problems”. Here are some examples of their replies:

  • The cycle lane on Friar Gate is “a very short section of bus lane which is also used by confident cyclists.”
    • There are several untruths about that statement:
      • The cycle lane is a cycle lane as well as a bus lane!
      • It is used by all sorts of cyclists
    • The cycle lane may be “very short” but it is a crucial safety element on this piece of  road for cyclists. Size isn’t everything!
    • Is it alright to have dead or injured cyclists so long as they are confident ones?
  • Regarding the off-road path alongside Friar Gate, DEFRA say that it is OK to remove the on-road cycle lane because the off-road path is a suitable alternative. Quote “The NCN routes 54 and 68 already use a diversion to take cyclists past this junction to link directly to the existing off road cycle route on Friar Gate”
    • They are correct it is a “diversion” but good cycle routes follow continuous and direct routes, not diversions.
    • DfT standards say that cycle routes should be direct and continuous.
    • The Friar Gate off road cycle path has many faults:
      • It is of very poor quality by any standards, and especially measured against the forthcoming revised DfT standards
      • It is only useable by people travelling in a specific direction (it does not cater for people travelling along Ashbourne Road into town)
      • It is fraught with hazards:
        • Very narrow in many places with tree roots making a surface which can be dangerous
        • Cyclists have no right of way at side roads, which poses its own risks
        • There are severe cobbled sections which are rough and are slippery in the wet
      • It is slow and indirect:
        • Cyclists have to cross moving traffic on Friar Gate to get onto the cycle path
        • It only runs for 1/3 of the length of Friar Gate.
        • Cyclists then have to negotiate three sets of traffic lights before they have to cross the street again to rejoin the road at the Stafford Street junction
    • By contrast the on-road cycle route:
      • Is direct and continuous over the full length of Friar Gate
      • Provides rights of way over traffic emerging from side roads and driveways
      • Is made safe by the provision of that short length of cycle lane, as well as the cycle/bus/taxi-only section of road from Bridge Street to The Warwick
  • DEFRA say there was overwhelming support for this traffic management approach during public consultation – but:
    • That was only for the traffic management option over the two clean air charging zone options (what a choice!)
    • In the Preferred Option consultation (Section 4, page 6)
      • The majority of respondents (42.9%) said that they strongly disagree/ disagree that the preferred option addresses roadside NO2 in the shortest possible time.”
      • The majority of respondents (44.4%) strongly disagree/ disagree that the preferred option maximises benefits and minimises costs for the Government.”
    • They say there has been considerable engagement with local cycling groups, but omit to say that Derby Cycling Group emphatically opposes the removal of the cycle lane.
    • The Derby City Council Full Business Case does not mention the removal of this cycle lane and does not mention the many cycling-supportive responses in the consultation documents (refer to the article “Friar Gate Cycle Lanes Misrepresented by Derby City Council”).

DEFRA have commented:

  • “This government is committed to increasing cycling and walking and making our roads safer for vulnerable users”.
    • In a contest to choose the best cycle route into town along Friar Gate run by a government committed to making roads safer for vulnerable users, the on-road cycle lane would win hands down.
    • Why? Because removing it makes the road more dangerous for the most vulnerable on-road users – cyclists.

Write NOW to DEFRA  defra.helpline@defra.gsi.gov.uk   and copy the minister for Air Quality: therese.coffey.mp@parliament.uk

Write to Michael Gove and Therese Coffey to urge that Friar Gate cycle lanes are retained.

Friar Gate Cycle Lanes – Write to Michael Gove & Therese Coffey

Derby City Council have submitted their outline business case for their clean air strategy to the Dept for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (DEFRA) – and it still includes the removal of cycle lanes on Friar Gate as part of the plan. DEFRA are reviewing the outline business case right now.
 
Derby Cycling Group have asked DEFRA to reject that part of the outline business case which relates to removal of cycle lanes and asked that all existing cycling and walking infrastructure be retained or improved, but not removed. (Open Letter to Michael Gove)
 

Can you please help to put pressure on DEFRA to accept our arguments by writing to Michael Gove, Therese Coffey, two other influential government ministers and Derby’s MPs.
 
It is best if you can write a letter or e-mail in your own words, however you can use the template below as a guide.   If you use the template, add your own words at the beginning to say why you want the cycle facilities on Friar Gate to be retained.
 
 
Write to:
Michael Gove (Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
Therese Coffey (Parliamentary Under Secretary of State at DEFRA with responsibility for air qualilty)
 
Courtesy Copy:
Jesse Norman (Minister of State at the Dept for Transport with responsibility for cycling)
Matt Hancock (Secretary of State for Health and Social Care)
     Derby MPs:
Chris Williamson (in whose constituency the cycle facilities lie)
Margaret Beckett
 
Remember that if this space is lost for cycling, it will be lost for ever.
Please do all you can to help keep it.
Thank you.
Right turn protected space in forground; safe haven approach to cycle/bus lane in right hand lane.

….. Letter Template…..

Send e-mails to the departmental addresses, marked “For Attention Of” or “FAO” :

Michael Gove (DEFRA leader)    correspondence.section@defra.gsi.gov.uk  

Therese Coffey (DEFRA, air quality) defra.helpline@defra.gsi.gov.uk

Jesse Norman (DfT responsibility for cycling) POCorrespondence@dft.gsi.gov.uk

Matt Hancock (Health and Social Services) upload letter via: https://contactus.dh.gov.uk/

Send postal letters to the MPs above at

House of Commons

London

SW1A 0AA

Dear Mr Gove and Dr Coffey,

I urge you to reject Derby City Council’s proposal to remove important cycle-safety infrastructure on Friar Gate as part of the city’s Clean Air Proposal because ….

<add your own text here, this is important for your letter to be taken more seriously>

I agree with Derby Cycling Group’s assessment that:

  • The removal of a cycle lane on Friar Gate to create two motor vehicle lanes as part of Derby’s clean air proposal is totally unacceptable.
  • The cycle lane is present because it provides a safe haven for cyclists to access a bike-and-buses-only section of street; if it is removed cyclists will have to ride into a faster lane of traffic to gain access to it, at greater personal risk.
  • The removal of protected space will make it more dangerous for cyclists wishing to turn right into Vernon St.
  • Cycling is a very clean form of transport and must not be penalised by a project which purports to improve air quality. Fewer people will cycle on Friar Gate if the cycle lane is removed, which is an unbelievably bad ambition for a clean air strategy. It is perverse to make cycling less easy and more dangerous as part of a project which has the objective of making air cleaner.
  • It is also perverse to make it easier for more motor vehicles to use Friar Gate as part of a project to make air cleaner; emissions are bound to rise which is another poor deliverable from this ill-conceived clean air proposal.
  • The plan to remove cycle infrastructure runs against much government and local policy (the governments Cycling and Walking Investment Strategy, the DfT’s Cycle Proofing working group; Derby’s fledgling Local Cycling and Walking Infrastructure Plan, City Council-run Cycle Derby’s local initiatives to promote cycle transport, especially to children).
  • The cycling facilities on Friar Gate and the roads leading to it must be improved so that more people can use them, which would really help to reduce emissions.
  • MORE cycling and walking should be a cornerstone of Derby’s clean air strategy and it must certainly NOT make cycling or walking worse or more dangerous.
  • The City Council have suggested that cyclists should use an off-road cycle path on the opposite side of Friar Gate to avoid the road danger, but the off-road path is:
    • Very poor quality
    • Cannot be accessed safely because access requires a right turn off Friar Gate
    • Does not go all the way into the city centre
    • An inconvenient, discontinuous and devious route – we already have a convenient, safe, direct, and complete route which needs to be retained or further enhanced.
  • This will increase the severance of the communities on either side of what will now be four lanes of motorised traffic.
  • There are strong objections to this proposal from local residents as well as professionals inside and outside the council.
  • This proposal would not pass a fair safety audit.

Yours sincerely,

<your name>

<if by e-mail, your address or at least post code>

Derby Clean Air Proposals – Where is the Cycling and Walking?

Derby’s Clean Air Preferred Option was out for consultation until today. The proposal failed entirely to provide any new infrastructure for cycling which, by enabling more people to cycle, would have helped reduce car travel and improved air quality.

But it went further than that.

It proposes that two pieces of cycle-specific infrastructure be removed: a permissive right turn from Friar Gate into Brick Street and a dedicated bus/cycle lane leading to the bus/cycle gate on Friar Gate at the junction of Bridge Street. Furthermore, wherever motor vehicles are to be prevented from making certain manoeuvres on Stafford Street and the Mercian Way roundabout, cyclists will be prohibited from making the same manoeuvres.

         All in all, a very short sighted approach, in our view.

Derby Cycling Group has submitted proposals for enhancements to the council scheme to make it much more cycle and pedestrian friendly. Read our response here:

Clean Air Preferred Option – DCG Response

We hope the Air Quality team will take these enhancements on board; we don’t see any reason why they should not because with only one exception, they do not take any road space away from motor traffic, and yet deliver fantastic benefits for those who travel by bike and some for pedestrians as well.

Previously we made a press release expressing our general issues with the initial proposal:    Press Release

A38 Derby Junctions – Consultation: Ask for Better Cycle Routes

Highways England have a project to create “grade separated” junctions at the Kingsway, Markeaton and Little Eaton Islands on the A38.  That means the local roads will be at ground level, but the A38 carriageway will be either above or below the local roads, on a bridge or in an underpass. DCG have been campaigning to make the scheme deliver good quality cycling and walking routes alongside and crossing the A38 as well as the “improvements” for motorised traffic. It is important that the A38 becomes less of a barrier for cycling and walking than it is today, and that this project enables more local journeys to be made without a car.

The project is out for consultation now, please submit a response supporting the cycling schemes already being proposed but also asking for even more and better improvements than these.

Deadline: end of Thursday 18th October, 2018

There is an online form where you can answer pre-set questions :  A38 Online Response Form

and you can also e-mail the project team with your own ideas at.   A38DerbyJunctions@highwaysengland.co.uk

We recommend you fill in the form, AND send an e-mail if you have other points which you wish to make that are not covered by their questionnaire.

DCG is submitting a formal response to the cycling elements of the scheme, here is the draft of that response:                                                        A38 Derby Junctions Consultation – DCG Response Oct 2018

A38 Consultation Page and Documents

In April 2018, DCG met with Highways England’s agents, AECom. We presented a list of requirements and after the meeting, marked up how well the project was planning the deliver them; see the results in theDCG A38 Derby Junctions Checklist .

The A38 junctions project always has had some intent of delivering better cycling and walking routes than exist today; they made some significant improvements by the time of our meeting in April and have made other improvements prior to this latest consultation.

However, there are still issues to address:

  • The project is not committed to segregated cycling and walking routes (ie where the cycling and walking paths are separated from each other).
  • Some routes are not direct, others are not continuous and at least one is ridiculously narrow.
  • There is great potential for better cycling routes leading to/from the new facilities proposed alongside/across the A38, but many have not been realised in the designs so far. There must be a plan to maximise the cycling and walking benefits from the A38 Junctions project by building these “nearby” feeder routes.

Completing the Consultation:                                                                          When you make your response, please ask the project to fulfil the following general criteria when they submit their final plans and the planning application:

  • The scheme must enable more people to travel locally without a car, specifically enabling more cycling and walking journeys
  • The scheme must provide continuous, direct, segregated cycling and walking routes, separated from the main A38 carriageway and its slip roads.
  • Where cycling and walking routes cross the A38 or its slip roads, signal controlled crossings must be provided.
  • All cycling and walking routes must be off-road, must be safe enough and feel safe enough, for parents to allow their children to use them to get to school or to visit friends.

In addition, the following specific requirements are important:

  • Retain the “curly bridge” over Queensway into Markeaton Park – this is planned to be replaced, make sure they know it’s important.
  • Build a good quality cycle path from Little Eaton to Pektron Islands alongside the A61 to replace the horrendously narrow path which is there now; buy land to enable a segregated path to be built.
  • Create a signal controlled crossing over the A61 onto the existing cycle path so you can cycle out of Breadsall without taking your life in your hands
  • Build the section of the Derwent Valley Cycleway from Haslams Lane to the A38, alongside the River Derwent.
  • Ensure existing cycle paths remain open AT ALL TIMES during the construction of the A38 junctions, including the provision of diversion which are ACCESSIBLE TO ALL riders and walkers.
  • All construction traffic must be required to have all the current cyclist detection technology fitted and operational, and work site entrances should employ Trixie mirrors to ensure drivers entering/leaving the site can see cyclists crossing on the cycle paths or on the road.

St Peters Street and Cornmarket – Cycle Access 5pm to 10am

At Derby Cycling Group we have argued for many years that banning responsible cycling in the city centre suppresses the number of everyday journeys made by bike in Derby, because the north/south route through the city centre is the most direct one to get many people from where they live to where they work, and no suitable alternative routes were available. We are therefore really pleased to confirm the new arrangements for cycle access on St Peter’s Street and Cornmarket, even though they are only in “off-peak” times.  This new access means that between 5pm and 10am there is a complete route from The Spot, along St Peters Street, Cornmarket, Irongate and Queen Street, for access to and travel through the city centre.

Here is a summary of the new arrangements for cyclists access to St Peter’s Street and Cornmarket as we understand it (the rules on other streets have not changed, but are shown below for information):

The Rules for Each Street

Street Cycle Access
 St Peters Street     Cornmarket General access 5pm to 10am everyday. Motor vehicles have access for loading only.
 Market Place                       Tenant Street                   Irongate                                   Amen Alley  General access 24 hrs a day, 7 days a   week.                                                                   Motor vehicle access is more restricted.
 East Street                               Exchange Street                           St Peters Churchyard    Sadler   Gate No access for cyclists or motor vehicles on these one way streets, at any time, except for loading between 5pm to 10am.
St James’s Street

 

No access for cyclists or motor vehicles in either direction, except for loading   between 5pm to 10am.

Legal Standing:

The changes to access rules on St Peters Street and Cornmarket are covered by a Traffic Regulation Order (TRO) which is a statutory document and therefore cyclists have a legal right to use these streets between the stated times.

The new TRO gives cyclists access at the same times that HGVs, vans and cars have always had for loading, so there should be nothing controversial about that. If cyclists shouldn’t be here at those times, HGVs certainly should not.

Note that the access only applies when entering the pedestrianised area via St Peters Street and Cornmarket. There is no contra-flow cycling on one way streets (eg Albion Street, St Peters Churchyard & East Street); there is no cycling on St James’s Street or Sadler Gate

Signage:

The signs being used to inform the kind of access to streets in the city centre are descrided in a separate post:

                        City Centre Cycle Access Signage

The slabs with the shared use logos, inserted into the paving on St Peters Street, caused confusion and concern when they were removed because no reason was given. It turns out that they were not to specification, and slippery in the wet. Somebody had slipped over on one. We have been told that replacement, non-slip, versions will be provided by the supplier at their cost and will be re-inserted into the street when they arrive.

Responsible Use of Shared Spaces:

Whatever the ins and outs of the limitation of access to “off-peak hours”, or the clarity of the signage, the bottom line is that cyclists now have access to these streets; it removes a crazy anomaly that the vehicles posing most risk of any sort were allowed in, whilst those vehicles posing less risk were barred. Derby Cycling Group celebrates that and welcomes the opportunities for more urban cycle journeys that this provides. Our biggest desire is that everyone who uses these streets does so responsibly and safely and with respect to everyone else. We endorse the principle of the hierarchy of responsibility where those using a heavier, faster vehicle is most responsible for the safety of those using lighter and slower vehicles. However, everyone has responsibilities to use the space considerately and courteously. We hope that the new access regime will be enhanced in the future; whether that happens is in many ways in the hands of the cyclists who use these streets.

Derby City Centre Cycle Access – Signage:

Here is some guidance on our interpretation of the signage in use in Derby City Centre regarding the use of streets for cycling. We hope it is useful and informative. It is not a definitive legal definition, but is intended to help people understand the principles of the access which each sign is intended to convey.

Only the rules as they apply to cycling are described.

  1. Cycling allowed between 5pm and 10am only.

A bicycle is a vehicle, therefore the “no vehicles” sign prohibits bicycles except at the times shown.

St Peter’s Street and Cornmarket

 

2. Cycling allowed 24hrs a day, 7 days a week.

The sign excludes motor vehicles, and because a bicycle is not a motor vehicle it is allowed to be ridden on this street. E-bikes are not classed as motor vehicles, so these can be ridden where motor vehicles are prohibited.

Irongate and Amen Alley

3. Cycling allowed between 5pm and 10 am everyday.

Here, at the bottom of Irongate, motor vehicles cannot access Cornmarket, so the “exception” sign is slightly different to some other places.

 

4. Cycling not allowed at any time, except for loading and unloading between 5pm and 10am.

A bicycle is a vehicle and is therefore prohibited from this street unless delivering or picking up items to an address on the street, or an address accessed from it,  between the times shown. In Derby many of these streets are one-way, and there is no cycle exception to this.

East Street, Exchange Street, St Peters Churchyard, Sadler Gate, St James’ Street

5. Cycling not allowed at any time

This is a one-way street, and no vehicles (which includes bicycles) can enter. Bicycles may be able to come in the other direction, that depends on the signage at the entry point to the one-way street.

Exchange Street off Albert Street; St Peter’s Churchyard from Green Lane direction; Sadler Gate off Bold Lane/Strand.

Darley Park Multi User Path – APPROVED

The mud will be history

At the city council planning committee meeting on 15th February, the planning application to build a 3m wide multi-user path alongside the river in Darley Park was passed. It is believed the majority was 9 to 3 in favour of the path. That is great news for active travel in Derby and thanks to the great work by the council team who have developed a good plan, and to the 70% of planning application respondents (well over 80 in number) who  supported the planning application and wrote to the planning committee to say so.         Thank you if you were one of those people, you have made a real difference here with positive and well reasoned arguments.

Apart from the dire need for a path to assist those with mobility issues, certain disabilities, families with small children, buggies and so on, this will be a really important link in Derby’s cycle network. It adds to the overall permeability of this part of North Derby for cycle transport, and will create an obvious route for the start of the Derwent Valley Cycleway as that is developed in the future. Travelling from the Silk Mill, the obvious route is through Darley Abbey, to view Darley Abbey Mills from the prime vantage point over the river with it’s picturesque weirs. Having visited the mills and maybe bought something at one of the businesses there, you would then continue in the same direction further along the Derwent Valley World Heritage Site.

A major point that Derby Cycling Group made in mitigation of the objections to a path shared by pedestrians and cyclists is that there already exists such a path all along the river from Elvaston to Darley Park. This sharing of the path is nothing new, it is just an extension to a path which is already safely shared everyday by hundreds and hundreds of people on foot and on bikes.