Cycling work needs to shift up a gear

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News release: 17 July 2018

Plans to improve cycling in the St Albans District need to “shift up a gear” a year after they were proposed.

bicycles
A series of measures to encourage more cycling were put forward last year by members of a St Albans City and District Council committee.

At its meeting on Thursday 12 July, the Community, Environment and Sport Scrutiny Committee reviewed how well the recommendations had progressed.

The Committee heard the Council’s former Portfolio Holder for Business and the Community had decided not to adopt their cycling strategy until it was further developed.

However, he had intended to use it as a blueprint for future work. This included determining where new cycling paths should be located and calculating the cost of maintaining them.

Later this year, work will begin to identify new routes connected to the Green Ring, a 10km cycle way circling St Albans. These would link up with shopping, residential or commercial areas.

This task will be undertaken in partnership with Hertfordshire County Council which is to prepare a Local Cycling and Walking Infrastructure Plan for the District.

The Committee’s recommendation that speed limits of 20mph should be introduced on roads frequently used by cyclists is also being examined.

Council officers are working with Hertfordshire County Council, the highways authority, to identify streets where such a restriction could be beneficial.

The areas being looked at include the Sopwell area and Old London Road, St Albans, as well as the Alexander Road and Manor Road areas, London Colney.

Among the other recommendations was that the Council use its planning powers to insist all significant new residential and commercial developments have good cycling links to key destinations. Developers should help fund these schemes and also provide high-quality cycle storage facilities.

These measures have been taken into account in the draft Local Plan which was published by Full Council at its meeting on Wednesday 11 July.

Council officers have continued to work closely with St Albans Cycling Campaign, as the Committee urged, with the most recent meeting having taken place last month.

Among the issues that will be discussed in the future is the Council’s possible promotion of the Campaign’s cycling network maps.

A recommendation to Hertfordshire County Council that secondary school pupils be encouraged to undertake bikeability level 3 training has had little take up. 

This was blamed on secondary schools finding it difficult to timetable such training into the school day given other educational priorities.

Councillor Anthony Rowlands, the Committee’s Chair, said: “Cycling is booming in popularity. It is a green form of transport and involves healthy physical exercise.

“As a Council, we must encourage it by creating a safe and welcoming environment for cyclists across the District.

“A full year has passed since the Committee put forward ten positive recommendations that could pave the way for a cycling revolution in the District with more cycle routes, 20mph zones and facilities such as secure storage racks.

“The Committee also wants to ensure that Hertfordshire County Council begins work on a Local Cycling and Infrastructure Plan for St Albans as soon as possible. This is an essential step in ensuring that St Albans qualifies for funding to continue to develop an infrastructure that enables safe cycling and walking.

“It is a little disheartening that the Cycling Strategy was not adopted by the Council’s former Portfolio Holder and that not all of our proposed measures are progressing yet.

“The Committee felt there is some movement in the right direction, but that our plans need to shift up a gear. We will be expecting further progress in the months ahead.”

Councillor contact:
Anthony Rowlands, Chair of the Community, Environment and Sport Scrutiny Committee of St Albans City and District Council. Tel: 07761-232064 Email: anthonyrowlands@hotmail.com

Contact for the media:
John McJannet, Principal Communications Officer, St Albans City and District Council
Tel: 01727 296130