We were pleased last month to be joined by Cabinet Member for Transport Cllr Caro Wild, who attended our meeting for a brief update and Q&A session.
To make the most of this opportunity, and to help the session run smoothly, we asked in advance what our supporters think are the most important questions regarding cycling in Cardiff; these, along with questions from the room, were put to Caro and the discussions listed below:
Caro opening the talk by summarising some good and some not-so-good things following his first year in post as Cabinet Member:
Pressure has been put on Welsh Govt, and a means to achieve fully segregated (protected) Cycle routes (super-highways) has been put in place. He reported keenness to get budget in place to extend routes to the West of the City. £6m has been made available by Cardiff Council to start the build projects, with a bid to Welsh Govt. of £20m to help fund some of the key schemes. Other schemes such as North Road (currently being undertaken), light segregated lanes in Heath Ward, are being considered for other areas of the City.
20mph zones are operating in four wards with two more to follow this year, with a plan to roll out across the whole city eventually.
Next Bike Hire Scheme is successful and despite some flaws and software glitches a further 25 stands and 250 bikes will be in place before end of August.
Council working with Schools – around Active Travel Planning for schools.
Future of Car Free Day: will build on momentum from the 2018 day.
Culture of walking and cycling. Transport and Active Travel need to be at the heart of everything, especially planning. Caro is working hard on effecting this change of culture within teams at Cardiff Council.
Caro also acceded that Splott and Maerdy bridge schemes had not worked at all well for walking and cycling, and, that the Council have not been particularly good at keeping public updated regarding the roll out of 20mph nor of finding ways to assist with enforcement. He is working hard to address these issues.
Discussions from the meeting
Cycle parking at Central Square development. Will there be a cycle hub?
- Caro cited the Greener Grangetown project as an example of doing things better and the need to find ways to do things cheaper/smarter. Opinion is that Cardiff Central is an inbound station and therefore a single, large cycle park would be less successful than multiple, smaller hubs.
- There is a plan to double city centre cycle parking over the next year, plus secure cycle hubs through the city centre, all linking to the CSHs and bus interchanges.
- He reported objections from some disability groups to the Central Square development that have not yet been resolved. Discussion about resolutions for Central Square continues.
Cycling on Queen Street.
- Currently there is a ban, but it doesn’t make much sense when cars and lorries are allowed at commuter times. Delivery Cycle Riders with Food were reported as cycling quite poorly – they are good for local and small businesses, but they often ride inconsiderately. Can Council have a word with Deliveroo and the other Cycle delivery companies?
- There are strong concerns from pedestrians that they don’t like cycles whizzing past at close range on Queen Street, so pedestrians and vulnerable users need to be considered. The issues around shared spaces are being debated.
The current volume of cycles on the Taff Trail is far exceeding the limits of the current infrastructure and the alternative of using the Lime Avenue through the Park is very unpredictable.
- Caro cited the research done in the last year by Sustrans into ways the council could improve sections of the Taff Trail. There is a desire to carry out some of the improvements and find solutions particularly e.g. to the section between National Sports Centre and Cardiff Bridge where it crosses the A4161.
Drivers are not going to (do not) comply to the 20mph speed limits. Where is the enforcement? And, enforcement vehicles don’t solve the issues. Would it not be better to enforce by design, e.g. rearrange the way cars park, reduce sightlines on roads, etc?
- There are issues around safety for other road users to take into consideration. There are no easy answers to this, although evidence from elsewhere shows speeds do decrease as public awareness grows.
Could 20mph be just rolled out across the city in one go instead of piecemeal approach?
- Legal Orders for each individual street have to be done – this is time-consuming for council staff as well as a process that takes time. It is not feasible therefore to do bulk legal orders.
Are there measures to make sure Active Travel Guidelines are both followed then monitored on new build infrastructure?
- Caro suggested this be discussed at the Cycling Advisory Group with a view to arranging training for Planners
- It was noted that instead of a requirement for a minimum number of car parking spaces where there are developments, this has been replaced with a requirement for a MAXIMUM amount of car parking spaces and a MINIMUM number of CYCLE spaces
Are there time-scales for the Cycle Superhighways?
- The plan was for “shovels in ground” by January 2019, but this has been brought forward to November 2018 (depending upon consultation and the detail to be agreed around Newport Road).
- A suggestion was made that the term “superhighway” is inappropriate as it gives the impression of them only being used by fast, dangerous cyclists. Should they be renamed? On the plans in Welsh they are called “traffordd” (motorways).
Will the CSH extend to the new housing beyond Fairwater and will it be in place before the housing?
- It will reach there from Western Ave and is paid for by the developers, so will be built as the houses are sold. This is a shame as research shows that the opportunity to change commuting habits is greatest within the initial three months of moving to a new house.
Why not implement a Congestion Charge and use the money to fund free public transport?
- Caro reported that Clean Air and Transport Consultation includes suggestions such as this. Council have to be compliant in Clean Air by 2020/21 and a full feasibility on clean air zones will come at some point.
What is the time-scale on the Green Paper?
- The deadline has passed for comments on the Green Paper and responses are currently being analysed with a view to a White Paper being published for November 2018. The Council is also collecting and analysing data on cars coming into Cardiff
Some areas around the UK are closing streets around schools at certain times of day because of concerns for air quality particularly around schools – are there any plans to implement this in Cardiff?
- Yes! Child friendly streets is a UNICEF objective and Cardiff aims to be a Child friendly City. Legislation is going through and schools will soon be able to request a closed road. Caro suggested again that we individually ensure that our schools are aware they can make this request.
What is the situation with Wales and Borders Metro service and rolling stock having spaces for bikes? (rumour there was no specification for carrying bikes).
- Operators KeolisAmey have indicated there will be facility for six bicycles per carriage. Again, Caro suggested lobbying KeolisAmey for bicycle carrying facilities on their trains, along with Transport for Wales regarding the Bike Hub.
With the recent missed opportunities with improving railway bridges, routes to Schools, etc. what can we do to ensure that walking and cycling isn’t just an afterthought ?
- Caro reported on attempting to change the culture in all departments in Cardiff Council. He cited the Hamadryad School infrastructure that included involvement from Walking Streets and residents, which has resulted in exemplary infrastructure.
- Like roads, cycle routes need to be designated as a highway in order to include sweeping and maintenance and proper diversions when necessary. Caro reiterated letting letting the council know if there are cheap fixes that would make things better.
- Children often know the best and safest routes to schools and are pretty good at handling situations on the road. It is frequently parents and their nervousness that stops children cycling and walking. Parents & schools need to lobby councillors with suggestions for improvements; force them to make a decision, and them saying no is politically damaging.
Is Connect to Cardiff (C2C) still the best way to communicate with the council about existing routes and problems with road surfaces / potholes etc.?
- A recent survey was carried out on the condition of roads that cyclists use as regular routes, and this means of “crowd-sourcing” information about local infrastructure is turning out to be a really good way of creating a picture of “doing 1000 little things that make a difference”. Caro wants feedback on the INM to identify problems and solutions
- Caro asked the meeting whether there were preferences to using City Mapper or Traveline Cymru for public transport needs/information or mapping of routes…. There wasn’t a particularly clear response from the meeting to this query.
Following a relatively comfortable cycle behind the electric bus recently, are there more charge-points planned for electric vehicles?
- Cost is currently prohibitive, although there are plans for one or two and there are big decisions to make around infrastructure. It was pointed out that sometimes charging infrastructure is installed at the cost of walking and cycling considerations.
The discussions were chaired by Gwenda Owen – she thanked Cllr Caro Wild and summarised the main message from the meeting:
- Lobbying Transport for Wales regarding the Bike Hub
- Lobbying Local Councillors and Assembly members regarding;
- Cycling on Queen Street
- training of Deliveroo Riders
- Car free streets around schools
- construction of temporary bollards/structures to test out new cycle routes/infrastructure with a view to putting permanent structures in place
- Lobbying KeolisAmey for bicycle carrying facilities on their trains
Do you have any comments on these discussions? You can share them with us by using the form below.
Cardiff Cycle City is run by volunteers. If you have any time or skills that you think would benefit our cause then please get in touch!