We welcome the adoption of improvements for cycling, walking and public transport in line with Hertfordshire's Local Transport Plan 4.
However, these improvements will have little impact on modal shift away from private-car use unless they are accompanied by further measures that make active travel easier than using the car.
The key interventions that we believe are needed to drive a significant move to active travel are:
Low Traffic Neighbourhoods (LTNs), which prevent through traffic in residential areas, but retain permeability for bus, walking & cycling. LTNs are a standard feature in modern developments, but can be introduced with care to older developments, which were based on the outdated principle of dispersing traffic across a network of streets.
School streets: School Travel Planning should be required to include the default choice of ‘School Streets’, where motor vehicles are banned near a school around opening and closing times.
Protected (ideally segregated) cycle lanes or 20-mph limits on direct routes linking neighbourhoods to popular destinations.
20 mph speed limits in residential areas and villages and 40-mph on country lanes.
Concentration of development on areas with the highest Public Transport Access Level. PTAL scores should determine the locations for intense developments and the numbers of car-parking spaces.
Discouragement of larger and more polluting vehicles through higher parking charges and road-pricing schemes.
Prevention of pavement parking by imposition of suitable regulations, such as verge-parking orders.
Support for electric bicycles, which have great potential as space and energy-efficient people movers, especially for the elderly and less able and in hilly areas, while retaining many of the health benefits of active travel. E-cargo bikes have huge potential for last-mile parcel and food deliveries.
All of these measures should feature prominently in planning and without them, no matter how good the provision of sustainable transport schemes, people will stick to using their cars even for short journeys, as demonstrated in Stevenage.
New cycling infrastructure should conform to the national standards defined in the Department for Transport Cycle Infrastructure Design LTN 1/20 and existing cycle tracks should be upgraded to conform to this standard across Hertfordshire.
All cycle tracks and parallel footways should have raised-entry treatment and priority when crossing side roads.
Barriers that cannot be passed by powered disabled buggies, child trailers, tricycles or hand bikes, should not obstruct existing cycle routes, to ensure there is no discrimination against disabled users and families.
Off-road cycle routes should have smooth, all-year surfaces. Current cycle-path surfaces, even ones that appear quite good, are often lumpy and make uncomfortable cycling. Faster cyclists and those with bikes that transmit bumps will choose to cycle on the road because it is more comfortable.
There should be a County annual budget for maintenance of cycle routes. There are far too many examples where reasonably good routes have become damaged and overgrown due to lack of maintenance.
There also needs to be a fund to clear key cycle routes when there is snow or ice, otherwise cyclists are forced back on to roads or into their cars.
Two-way cycling should be the default on all streets. We support schemes that restrict motor-vehicle flow to one direction to allow creation of high-quality space for cycling. We support one-way schemes that are designed to remove through traffic, provided speed limits are no more than 20 mph.
Cyclists should not be expected to share road space with motor vehicles moving above 20 mph or where there are more than 2,000 Passenger Car Units per day. Schemes should be suitable for use by children, or by inexperienced cyclists, families, and the disabled.
We support segregation of pedestrians and cyclists on off-road routes where possible. Shared use may be acceptable away from the highway, and alongside busy inter-urban roads with few pedestrians or building frontages. In rural locations, when options that re-use carriageway or other (e.g. verge) space have been rejected as unworkable, existing footways should be converted to shared use.
Enforcement against breaches of pavement and on street-parking regulations should be used to free pavement and roadway capacity for the benefit of walking, cycling and public transport.
We welcome the use of surpluses to cross-subsidise non-car modes. Discrimination in favour of wealthier motorists can be mitigated by higher charges for larger vehicles. The primary use for parking bays should be for more disabled parking.
Road traffic expands to fill the available road capacity, so developments should not take place if new distributor roads are needed to support them. Limiting expansion of the road network may discourage a few drivers due to congestion delays, but only at the point where the other options are much better. To reduce unnecessary motor traffic, road pricing will have a significant role to play in future and on-street charging points should be prioritised for taxis, vehicles for disabled drivers and car-sharing schemes.
We will campaign for Presumed Liability to be incorporated into civil law. Presumed Liability means that in civil actions after a collision with a cyclist or pedestrian, the motorist would be presumed to be at fault, unless they could prove that they were not to blame. It would not mean the motorist was criminally liable; it would just be for the purposes of compensation.