We were pleased last month to be joined by Cabinet Member for Strategic Planning and Transport Cllr Caro Wild, who attended our meeting for a brief update and Q&A session. Joining him was Matt Price, the Team Leader for Transport Vision, Policy and Strategy.
The session was led by Gwenda Owen, chair of Cardiff Cycle City and the meeting was open to the public.
Caro opening the talk by summarising the work done since he last spoke to us in July, and developments that are taking place in the near future:
- the Transport team at Cardiff Council has been enhanced through including an Active Travel remit as part of their jobs.
- two members of the team are working with schools on Active Travel (at the new Hamadryad school, out of 95 families, only one drove to school)
- the plan is to be on site on Senghennydd Road by mid-March, building the first part of the Cycle Super Highway (CSH) northwards.
- There will soon be a replacement name for “Cycle Superhighway”, as the current name suggests it’s for fast, fit cyclists only.
- beginning the full roll-out of all the new CSHs we need to appreciate the potential difficulties posed by resident parking and other obstacles to building.
- Car Free Day – Sunday 12 May 2019
Discussions from the meeting
- Plasdwr “boast” they will have two Cycleways through to their development … is this right?
- One Cycleway will go through Plasdwr to Creigiau from the City Centre; Section 106 monies will provide a protected route off site and through the current BBC Site to Llandaff.
- The disused railway line for this route has six houses that could be affected if this is to become a route for the Metro as well?
- The alignment of the Metro does pass through Plasdwr but this is a TfW plan and officers cannot comment on land or property on which TfW may have to procure or have an interest
- For the next phase of Plasdwr, can Council get the planners to specify Cycle parking for each property in form of a Sheffield Stand and a Plug Point?
- This had come up at a meeting earlier in the day with developers. It was clear at the meeting that developers are on catch-up when it comes to making Active Travel easier for people. They work on what their “customers say they want”. The question is, how do we then influence people to ASK for these facilities?
Cycle Hangars: Is there any update on the position with Cycle Hangars? Are Council any nearer solving the maintenance, rental management and funding issues?
- The council COULD fund a pilot, but ongoing revenue and maintenance issues remain. If the Council contract out the maintenance, rental and administrative services, they don’t get anything back from this to offset the initial capital outlay. It costs over £5k to install one unit.
The chair asked if some next steps could be agreed? People in terraced houses, students, having nowhere secure to keep their bike(s) is a major disincentive and the Nextbike scheme isn’t necessarily the answer to this.
Fairwater Road: The route is due to be complete by 2027, but the phase 4 Plas Mawr is due to finish in 2025 – the infrastructure will not be in place before people move into new homes.
- As a general principle some infrastructure does follow houses being built. Sometimes money can be unblocked once a certain number of houses have been built. This can e.g. provide additional bus services during remaining construction period. The developers are taking on the additional build of new schools in the area
- Could Welsh Government fund the infrastructure at an early phase of development so it can be in place when people move in, then be refunded at the end of the project?
- How can parents engage with schools on active travel plans and cycleways?
- the Council have a part-time person looking at active travel for schools and for every school to have an active travel plan. It is feasible to ask the officer to speak to a specific school, governors, parents about what can be done for their school..
- How is success measured is there evidence of behaviour change in the schools that have travel plans?
- Maybe we shouldn’t call them active travel ‘plans’ – it is rather an agreed set of actions that will be different for each school. The Living Streets WoW Data about how young people are travelling to school will provide some evidence.
- How are the council engaging and helping schools and workplaces deal with travel issues?
- The emphasis is about putting actions in place which works better than drawing up lists
- Do we allow drivers to take cars too close to schools? If there were restrictions within 500 meters of schools would this force change? Is this a consideration for Council ?
- There is a pilot on ‘Play Streets’ this year through a funding bid. Parents are encouraged to ask for this funding for their streets. The Council are also piloting restricting access by cars on roads immediately in front of schools.
- on shared use pathways – how can this problem be designed out?
- May require restrictions and enforcement – but recently using bicycle parking racks as bollards has been effective.
- or a national law to ban parking on pavements and shared-use pathways! Or if people with a resident parking permit had this revoked for improper use if found parking in this way.
- It was suggested we contact our local Councillors or log complaints through the Council website, or in extremis ring 101 if we find people parking in this way.
- Is there a reason why Cardiff doesn’t have a congestion charge?
- There are few UK cities that have such a charge. There are issues around clean air and feasibility on emissions evidence that need to addressed and will dictate some rationalising of car traffic through our city centre over the next years.
CLOSED ROADS/CAR-FREE DAYS:
- Castle Street is a magical space when closed to through traffic. Could the Council extend the hours for closure for matches and other events (of which there are MANY now throughout the year) to allow people to freely enjoy using these areas for longer on those days?
- This could be another way to enjoy some traffic free time .. suggested we keep pushing the Council to do this
- A one-way system around Callaghan Square and on Castle Street would leave one lane from for car-free travel throughout the year. Would Council consider this?
- In theory this is a reasonable suggestion, but one-way systems have a reputation for drivers speeding up as there are fewer obstacles. However the question of Callaghan Square area will be revisited in the near future.
- Could car-free day be extended beyond city centre to include schools and colleges in other areas?
- This would be more appropriate for the PlayStreets and Schools project. If someone could create a package that residents could use as support to request to schools/others to close their streets for Play-Days etc. this would help. Help with getting the message across about PlayStreets projects would be great.
- On car-free day 2018 it felt like no-one knew what was going on. Would it be better to close a smaller part of the city on a more regular basis? A culture-change once a year isn’t enough – do it every week and people become accustomed to the event.
- Suggested that FOR Cardiff could be approached with this idea.
INTEGRATED NETWORK MAPS:
- INMs were creating a vision for integrated travel – the 3 year review is coming up – how are Council progressing with this?
- We said we would make our networks better and move the strategy forward. However, concentrating on doing and getting the network in place has taken precedence over strategy. We are committed to trying to improve the little things and are currently working on improvements to walking networks as well as cycling. We don’t want to impair progress on getting Cycleways done/under way at the expense of writing strategies.
- We obviously hope you will continue to roll out the new infrastructures, but strategic plans are needed in case of a change of Council in future.
- There is a role for Cardiff Cycle City to play, to empower people in their local communities to think about how to get to local schools/shops/etc. The small journeys that are really important. It isn’t just a job for the Council alone.
- The ‘Bee lines’ in Manchester have had success with crowdsourcing local routes. Would it be better to try this for Cardiff?
- It would certainly be welcome !
- The software used for the maps produced by Welsh Government was not very good, whereas the software for Manchester allows anyone to directly plot a route. A web-mapping tool that allowed people to feed in complaints and issues would be useful.
- Sustrans have been using Commonplace to enable people to comment on the National Cycle Network. Commonplace is a widely used tool for this type of community/people involvement. WAG could fund a project to enable people to draw lines on Commonplace app. Though the Manchester software was better.
What are the possibilities for extending routes beyond Cardiff to make Active Travel journeys possible between e.g. Barry and Cardiff?
- The council are working regionally and the Vale of Glamorgan Council had a representative at the last Cycling Advisory Group meeting. RCT are in touch about the old railway link through Creigiau and Caerphilly on cross-border links. Plus there are commuter catchments to Penarth and Sully.
- The routes also lend themselves to tourism which offers real potential for local businesses.
- There is a Cardiff-focus on events, not on Cardiff as a tourist destination – a whole tourism department has gone with the Old Library Tourist Information Centre being closed in April and all that will remain is a very small information point in Cardiff Castle.
Elections: is the team thinking about putting things in place to ensure any new council in the future doesn’t erode the good work that has been done? Are there any plans to safeguard what is being done now?
- the new five-year term will help with the opportunity to deliver – Caro is committed to do as much as can be done within this administration.
Next Bikes project has received subsidy from Welsh Government – is there a danger that this will stop with no-one else lined up to continue the subsidy? Will Council step in if this happens? Or, is there a private investor going to contribute?
- The private sector are already sponsoring the bikes (hence the advert panels on the bikes). There could be a future problem and how this will play out over 5-10 years will need to be looked into. The Welsh Government Grant was for infrastructure rather than ongoing costs, so when infrastructure needs replacing this is when issues could arise
The meeting concluded at 7.30pm. The Chair thanked everyone for their contributions and making the effort to attend, particularly at half-term.
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