Present: John Metcalf (STACC, Chair), Roger Bangs (Spokes, Deputy Chair), Ian Gregory (WelHatCycling, Secretary, Minutes), Chris Whitehouse (WelHatCycling, Treasurer), Steve Brazier (STACC), Robert Jones (CTC Stort Valley), Odette Carter (HCC)
Apologies for Absence - Nick Truran, Tina Filby, John Shead, David Andrews
The following officers were elected for a period of two years:
Ian Gregory agreed to casually fill the role of publicity officer until the next AGM
Minutes of meeting held 2nd February 2017 were approved.
JM has written to Jacob Wing about Local Sustainable Transport Fund bid.
JM handed out copies of a St Albans Cycle Network Quality Map (tube map) created by STACC. IG reported that WelHatCycling have almost completed tube maps for WGC and Hatfield and will make them available to CycleHerts groups when they are ready - Action IG
JM reported that St Albans City and District Council has a working group on cycle provision.
OC says there has been no date set for a Hertfordshire Cycle Forum.
Cycling and Walking Investment Strategy (CWIS)
The Government's Cycling and walking investment strategy was finally published on 2017-04-21.
Local Cycling and Walking Infrastructure Documents
The Government has produced guidance and tools to help local authorities to plan cycling and walking infrastructure.
JM had read the technical guidance and said it looked like there would not be enough funding to implement it.
OC said it is not mandatory but HCC are looking at how it could fit with existing programmes. She said it would not be county-wide but just for urban areas. People accepted urban areas would receive priority but there is also a desire for improved inter-urban routes.
JM suggested writing to cabinet members requesting a meeting. RB said we should specify what we want out of the meeting. Discussions could include viability, where to start, how to bring in extra help, funding possibilities (Local Enterprise Partnership for example). JM said that the big problem with creating infrastructure in St Albans is that it would generally require taking away parking space, which is always contentious. JM to take this forward - Action JM
Cycling and the Justice System
In 2013 the All Party Parliamentary Cycling Group (APPCG) published its Get Britain Cycling Report which made recommendations on the workings of the justice system. There was a follow-up inquiry in 2016 resulting in a recently published report titled Cycling and the Justice System.
JM has read the report and said that of the 14 recommendations, 5 or 6 would be matters for the police, so it would be worth requesting a meeting with the Police and Crime Commissioner (PCC) - Action JM
RB said we should collect examples of incidents where the police have failed to take action.
HCC Speed Management Strategy
The DfT say that average speed cameras can be useful in calming traffic speeds over a stretch of road but the HCC Speed Management Strategy does not allow for their use, preferring instead "physical measures" such as speed humps. The problem with speed humps is that if they are effective at all in reducing average speeds then they lead to cars braking before, and accelerating after each hump, which can be a hazard in itself and causes increased fuel consumption, noise and pollution. We would like the Speed Management Strategy to be revised but in the mean time it seems that the police could choose to use average speed cameras anyway to enforce existing speed limits. This is something else we could bring up with the PCC. JM to follow up - Action JM
Close Pass Initiative
CW reported on Nick Truran's response to his questions about a close pass initiative for Hertfordshire. This was being considered by the Hertfordshire Road Safety Partnership but it seems they are only looking at having awareness raising events rather than putting officers on the street to stop and talk to culprits. CW felt this would be a very watered down version of the West Midlands initiative. Presumably it would be possible for Hertfordshire Constabulary to go ahead and implement a proper close pass initiative on their own and it might be worth bringing it up with the PCC. CW said he would continue to look into it - Action CW
CW reported that a 200m section of cycleway alongside the A414 between the A1 and Sleepshyde has received attention. Previously the visible tarmac narrowed to a foot or less in places (see his blog entry from early last year for photos) but the mud and grass have now been scraped back to reveal a more reasonable width.
CW also mentioned the problem of hazards created by tree roots pushing up tarmac. When he reported cases to HCC he was told that the height of the bumps was within acceptable limits for a footpath and so nothing would be done. Regarding the similar problem of potholes in roads OC said that the depth limit for action to be taken had unfortunately been increased from 40mm to 50mm.
Apparently Ringway are contracted to do vegetation clearance twice a year but OC said that means they go out twice a year but don't clear every route every time, which is why in places it looks like it hasn't been done for years. She agreed that the specification could be misinterpreted.
OC mentioned that Ralph Sangster is the new HCC cabinet member for Highways.
Sustainable Travel Access Fund Bid and Award
JM is waiting to hear back from Jacob Wing.
Space for cycling
OC said that the person to contact about revision of the Roads in Hertfordshire highway design guide would be Mark Youngman.
HCC Cycle Forum
As mentioned under Matters Arising, OC said that no date has been set for the next Cycle Forum.
Forthcoming Meetings and Events
Reports on meetings and events
JM went to the cyclenation AGM in Manchester. He complained that they are not good at getting information out to member organisations. This is not really surprising given that they have no paid staff, unlike Sustrans for example.
RB attended a ramblers meeting where they discussed conflict on shared use facilities. There is an attempt to promote a new class of right of way called a cycleway which would allow routes to be be made definitive for cycling without having to grant equestrian rights. The idea is that cycleways would then be able to appear on OS maps. IG said he would ask about this at the Hertfordshire Local Access Forum - Action IG
CW Reported that he added IG as a signatory for check signing and removed Adam Edwards. When he did this the Co-op Bank, concerned that we had no income or expenditure, vetted our account for money laundering. He said that we have about £120 in the bank and pointed out that the cost of booking the room for this meeting will use a fifth of our reserves. We should try to use free venues if possible.
Circulation of Agendas and Minutes
IG explained that meeting announcements are emailed to two groups of people. Those who are subscribed to the CycleHerts discussion list and those who are on a separate invitation list for people who want to receive meeting announcements without being on the discussion list. RB was asked if those lists could be made available. IG pointed out that subscribers to the discussion list should be able to view the current subscriber list by logging in to the list server, but he agreed to send round the current lists in an email - Action IG
IG also mentioned that a Nick Clarke had recently subscribed to the discussion list and JM said that would be the STACC publicity officer.
Any Other Business
OC was asked why groups like STACC were not being reliably informed of Traffic Regulation orders. She said she would look into it.
The next CycleHerts meeting will be on 3rd August