Sheffield Cycling Inquiry – Council Reports – PDF

Sheffield Cycling Inquiry - Council Reports - PDF

Minutes:

6.1

The Policy and Improvement Officer submitted a report containing an update on, and proposals with regard to, the Inquiry on Cycling in Sheffield. The report indicated that, following the decision of the Committee at its last meeting, a Task and Finish Group had been established to guide the work in between full meetings of the Committee, with some initial work already having been undertaken, and the report contained, as appendices, draft Terms of Reference for the Inquiry, questions for the Call of Evidence and an indicative list of stakeholders to be consulted as part of the Inquiry.

6.2

Overview of Presentations

The Committee received the following presentations:-

6.2.1

Transport Planning

(a)

John Bann, Head of Transport, Traffic and Parking Services, reported on:-

· The City’s Cycling Action Plan 2006/11

· Local Transport Plan 3

· Sheffield’s Transport Vision

· The facts and statistics regarding cycling in Sheffield, including pedal cycle casualties and how the City compared nationally

· Offer to cyclists in terms of what was available in the City

· Improvements to the City’s cycling infrastructure, together with details of planned projects

· The short and long-term benefits of the Tour De France in 2014.

(b)

Members of the Committee raised questions and the following responses were provided:-

· The Task and Finish Group had agreed that part of the Inquiry would include an open Call for Evidence from anyone or any organisation with an interest in cycling in Sheffield.

· Copies of the Cycle Action Plan 2006/11, together with details of the outcomes against targets, in the Plan, would be circulated to all Members of the Committee.

· Whilst Brook Hill Roundabout had been identified as particularly difficult for cyclists to navigate, it was generally lengths of road where accident rates were higher than the norm, as opposed to specific hot spot areas. Ecclesall Road had been identified as one of these stretches of road, due mainly to the high level of traffic movement, as well as more cyclists using this stretch of road.

· As part of the Bikeability Scheme, Pedal Ready, using Government funding, provided training for children in schools across the City. The training was generally targeted at Y6 pupils, in preparation for when they attended secondary school.

(c)

The following comments were also made:-

· In the light of the statistics regarding the number of cycle journeys made in Bristol, officers need to look at why such figures are so high, as well as looking at what other cities across Europe were doing in terms of best practice, in order to inform the work of the Inquiry.

· As part of the output targets in the Cycling Action Plan, all highway schemes over £50,000 should be subject to a cycle audit.

· Council Planning Officers received very little or no training on implementation of cycling schemes.

· There were many very good cycle routes in the City, but some had become degraded and consideration needed to be given to maintaining or upgrading such routes, where possible.

· The Council should look at the possibility of providing facilities for bike parking in residential areas, particularly as part of new residential developments.

6.2.2

Place Public Health Team

(a)

Dawn Lockley, Health Improvement Principal, Place Public Health Team, gave a presentation on the health benefits of cycling, referring to the importance and health benefits of being physically active. In part, she referred specifically to the health, and wider benefits of cycling, to health and wellbeing, as well as the risks and statistics regarding cycling accidents in Sheffield.

(b)

Members of the Committee raised questions and the following responses were provided by Dawn Lockley and Sheila Paul, Consultant in Public Health:-

· A new Physical Activity Referral Programme had been funded and this included providing target groups with access to forms of physical activity to help build physical activity, including cycling, into daily lives. Other opportunities included enabling cycling through the Streets Ahead Project. It was highlighted that the Council now had health and wellbeing responsibilities and that also, in the past, the Primary Care Trust (PCT)/NHS had funded a number of cycling-related initiatives, including disability bikes, as well as helping to fund facilities for cycle parking outside some GP practices. The current Sheffield Move Campaign, part of the Olympics legacy work, linked to the National Centre for Sport and Exercise Medicine, was also highlighted as a call for action to get the population moving through physical activity, including cycling.

· It was highlighted that there was evidence from some areas to support the belief that cycle accident levels reduced when there were more cyclists on the roads as drivers got used to seeing them and therefore, became more aware of them.

· The data in terms of cycle and vehicle collisions was only as good as what was reported by either the cyclist, driver or third party. It was suggested that the data held by the Police in terms of cycle and vehicle collisions was not of high quality and, in response to a query regarding hospital recording of cycle accidents via Accident and Emergency, it was noted that a current study underway at the University of Sheffield had proved that there had been more cycle accidents than had actually been recorded.

· There was evidence to show that the new street lighting, installed as part of the Streets Ahead Project, made it much safer for cyclists.

6.2.3

Design and Planning

(a)

Maria Duffy, Interim Head of Planning, reported on the design and planning aspects of cycling in the City, stating that cycling was a fundamental part of the Council reaching its vision in respect of a sustainable City, in terms of improving air quality, promoting health benefits, reducing congestion and improving the economy. She referred to the Sheffield Local Plan (formerly the Sheffield Development Framework), which was the statutory development plan for the whole of the Sheffield area, and which two parts included the Core Strategy and the Unitary Development Plan (UDP), which would shortly be replaced by the City Policies and Sites document and Proposals Map. The UDP provided support for the development of cycling in Sheffield and many of the transport policies in the UDP had now been superseded by the Core Strategy. Ms Duffy referred briefly to the remaining ‘saved’ policies which were relevant to cycling, and which had been reviewed as part of the development of the Local Plan City Policies and Sites document.

(b)

Members of the Committee raised questions and the following responses were provided:-

· Whilst it may not be practical or reasonable to request landlords of Houses in Multiple Occupation (HMOs) to provide facilities for cyclists, such as parking and storage, the Committee could look at this, as part of the work on the Inquiry, in terms of working with the Universities, regarding the properties they rent, as well as looking at the design of new HMOs. If such conditions were placed in connection with the construction of any new HMOs and if such conditions were not adhered to, the Council could take relevant enforcement action.

· It was accepted that cyclists could get frustrated by anomalies and inconsistencies, together with the lack of continuation, in terms of cycle routes in the City, but such problems generally occurred as the Council did not own all the land to allow for such routes to continue unobstructed.

(c)

The following comments were also made:-

· There were some very good examples of cycle links in the City and the Committee needed to look, as part of the Inquiry, at how existing cycle routes could be linked up as best as possible. The Council needed to work with Amey to look at whether works could be undertaken to link up cycle routes as part of the Streets Ahead Project.

· There were several cycle routes through the City Centre to outlying areas, where cyclists would not have to travel on a road.

· In other cities in Europe, such as Amsterdam, there was very clear signage as to where cyclists could or could not cycle, and this needed to be given consideration as part of the Inquiry.

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