Present: John Metcalf (STACC, Chair), Ian Gregory (WelHatCycling, Secretary, Minutes), Roger Bangs (Spokes, Deputy Chair), Nick Truran (HCC), Michael Melnyczuk (Sustrans), Steve Brazier (STACC), Lindsey Lucas (HCC), Trevor Mason (HCC), Odette Carter (HCC), Graham Trent (STACC), Nick Clarke (STACC), Chris Whitehouse (WelHatCycling, Treasurer), Robert Jones (CTC Stort Valley)
Apologies for absence - Rona Wightman, Jon Crosby
Additional Agenda Items
Minutes of meeting held 25th October 2018 were approved
OC Reported that revision of Roads in Hertfordshire is ongoing
RB Reported that the Cycle Forum in Watford on 6th December went well
A414 Corridor Study - Presentation by Lindsey Lucas
[Consultation documents are available online and also in libraries, council offices etc]
LTP4 identified the need to develop a strategy for the A414 corridor from Harlow to Hemel Hempstead including key links. It was clear that with the number of new homes set to be built there had to be a new approach enabling a shift from private cars to alternative modes of transport.
Five key challenges include, poor air quality and a patchy cycling network. Eleven objectives include improving inter-urban connectivity, reducing congestion and enhancing the sense of place by, for example, reducing severance in towns like Hertford and Hemel Hempstead. Five types of intervention include enhanced cycling and walking routes and highway upgrades (such as a Hertford bypass).
One suggestion for enhancing sense of place was filling in subways and replacing them with surface crossings. RB expressed reservations but we seemed to come to an agreement that it could be appropriate in some situations.
GT and IG pointed out the lack of attention to the rights of way network. The study makes no mention of the HCC Rights of Way Improvement Plan (RoWIP) even though the RoWIP mentions the A414 eighteen times. LL said that this had been noted.
JM pointed that the consultation does not address the cycle network within towns. LL responded that this is covered by other more local plans [LCWIPs for example]
JM and IG asked about proposed mass rapid transit (partly on behalf of Jon Crosby who could not attend). What is the timescale and what form might it take? Presumably it would not be complete before many of the proposed new homes are built so how would congestion be tackled in the meantime? LL responded that various options would be considered and that it could be phased in, starting for example by creating dedicated bus lanes at key junctions and some new interchanges.
The Chair proposed that in responding to the consultation:
Sustainable Travel Towns - Presentation by Trevor Mason
Sustainable Travel Towns are a key part of LTP4. There are many barriers and opportunities. In a Sustainable Travel Town cycling and walking should feel like the right way to get around whereas driving should feel inappropriate. This would require a whole package of measures, including non-highway measures such as trees and other planting, seating etc.
It would be up to local groups to put forward proposals in an application process but they would need to be supported by all tiers of local government. An application pack is being developed and should be available in a few weeks.
IG asked whether applications would be considered for any size of town. TM suggested that only medium to large towns would be likely candidates because in a small town there would already be relatively few car trips within the town.
JM asked whether Sustainable St Albans might be a suitable group to make an application given that it is concerned with sustainability in general, not just sustainable travel. TM seemed to indicate that it would be fine for a Sustainable Travel Town bid to be part of a more general sustainability plan.
Local Cycling and Walking Infrastructure Plans (LCWIPs)
OC said that the plan for Stevenage should be finished around April and some towns in North Herts are interested. She is starting work on one for Watford and was asked if that would include Three Rivers but she said that they want to do their own.
JM pointed out that Watford would be a more useful example than Stevenage due to the rather unique cycle infrastructure that already existed in Stevenage. JM requested a future presentation on the Watford plan.
Sustrans review of the National Cycle Network - Presentation by Michael Melnyczuk
MM gave a short presentation which is available as a PDF on the CycleHerts website - NCN Review Update.
The review covered all 16,575 miles of the network between 2015-2017. Currently 67% of the network is on-road, 32% off-road and less than 1% on quiet-ways. The vision for the network by 2040 is to have none of the network on-road, with 66% off-road and 34% on quiet-ways. The quality of the network was rated by various criteria and currently 39% is rated very poor.
As a first step toward improving the network Sustrans has selected a number of activation projects. There are 8 in the Midlands/East area but none in Hertfordshire (the closest is the Sewell Greenway in Bedfordshire).
Finally MM talked about the NCN interactive map which allows comments to be added. One example of this in his presentation flagged an issue on NCN 12 where it passes under the M25 near South Mimms.
GT asked MM about a desire to re-route NCN 6 through Verulamium Park to avoid the busy town centre. MM suggested sending this as a request to the Network Development Manager, Peter Bate.
IG mentioned the poor state of the surface on NCN 61 where it follows the towpath between Hertford and Ware. The land is owned by the Canal and River Trust. This could be reported on the interactive map - Action IG
NT said that TfL is starting to refer to Quietways and Superhighways both as simply "cycle routes" in an effort to reduce confusion (people just want to know where they can safely cycle).
GT pointed out that online mapping systems such as Google Maps sometimes make poor cycling route recommendations because they are unaware of a section of cycle route. Although bridleways are included in OS map data other cycle routes may not be. GT was asked if he could contact Cycling UK to see if they could take up this issue with Ordnance Survey - Action GT
Close passing initiative - Operation Velo
NT reported that this is ongoing. Police have been focusing on speed and investing in new kit.
Ice major cause of cycling accidents - and what can be done about it.
A blog entry on the Sustrans website looked at ice as a major cause of cycling accidents. Ice risk depends on road surface temperature (RST), which can be significantly lower than air temperature, particularly in the morning. Over 50 local authorities (not including Hertfordshire) publish near real-time road surface temperatures on Traffic Weather.
JM said that HCC has access to RST forecasts which they use to make gritting decisions. Latest gritting decisions are available on the HCC website but NT said that they are looking at making RST information more accessible.
Revision of Hertfordshire Cycling Map
NT has been meeting with Pindar. It has been decided to include some of the rights of way network available to cyclists. Two different colours will be used to distinguish between routes suitable for use all year round from those suitable only during dry weather. This has resulted in publication being delayed.
Nothing to report.
Healthy streets, Active Mobility, Air Pollution and Health
NT reported that the new HCC Active Travel Strategy will incorporate elements of Healthy Streets. He also mentioned that Lucy Saunders who developed Healthy Streets for London is now working on Healthy Streets for England which will be more relevant to Hertfordshire.
Cycle Training Day for Members of Integrated Transport Projects Team.
NT explained that this was a half day session for over 20 people (see this report). It was carried out in Hertford to avoid travel costs, though there may be sessions in other parts of the county in future.
Reports on proposals, meetings and events
JM went to a meeting of Transport for New Homes on Tuesday 22 January.
Forthcoming meetings and events
The next meeting of Transport for New Homes is listed on their Events page. The topic will be "Lessons from the Netherlands: building for people not cars" and it will take place on Mon 25 March, 6pm - 8pm at The Gallery, 77 Cowcross Street, London EC1M 6EL. Tickets are £10 each.
Spokes will have a maintenance day clearing the Ebury Way on Sunday 24 March.
Green Party Islington councillor Caroline Russell will be at the STACC meeting on Wednesday 29 May.
Finance, publicity and website
Nothing to report
Any other business
JM noticed that police cycling safety advice falls well short off that given by bikeability. NT said he would look into getting it updated.
Dates of future meetings in 2019