Wednesday, 2 September 2009

A reply from Plymouth City Council!

Finally, a real reply from the Council. I've highlighted certain sections with bold type, while my comments are in blue.

"I was one of the main contributors to the Cycle Strategy dated 2006 and I consulted with numerous interested parties. The following list are the main contributors:- Sustrans - Lindley Owen, CTC - Colin Woodman, Cycling England - Tony Russell and Alex Sully, in fact Alex came and visited Plymouth during the time we were writing the strategy in line with the Local Transport Plan.


Plymouth Cycle Forum also had a major role in the strategy, the forum make up a number of interested parties like businesses, Police, Primary Care Trust, CTC, Sustrans and keen cyclists. ----I've never heard of Plymouth Cycle Forum and asked for additional details about it.--

We continue to have regular meetings with CTC, Cycle Forum and Sustrans who are contributors to our future major transport schemes on the Eastern and Northern Corridors of the city.

With regards to Ham Drive sometimes we cannot always have what best for cyclists due to various reasons like lack of road width or high volume of traffic and speed. Just having what's best for cyclists sometimes will be a fine start!
As from this September there will be a new Community Primary School situated on Ham Drive, as you will know this will mean a substantial increase in pedestrian movements which will involve both parents and school children. As part of the planning condition a pedestrian crossing was felt the best way to allow children to get to and fro school in a safer environment. This meant having the crossing point further out than the parked vehicles at the side of the road to allow pedestrians to see more clearly in both directions and for traffic to see anyone wishing to cross, thus causing the pinch point. Any changes to the Highway are subject to three safety audits with close monitoring. The point I raised was that contrary to Department for Transport/Cycle England guidelines, they failed to build a cycle lane that passes through the build-out. They also failed to do so with another new build-out in Fore st, Devonport, so it would seem as a habit they leave cycle lanes out.

At the Chelson Meadow site (I have not been there recently) I understand from another officer that this was to allow cyclists in both directions to access The Ride. However, I will investigate with a site visit. As you know living in the Cattedown area there are numerous proposals to address better sustainable links to/from the city centre. This area will be a major link to/from Plymstock Quarry development. NOBODY turns right from the cycle path onto The Ride. Doing so means you will head back in the direction you've come, except now you'd be cycling on a narrow road full of potholes and debris, busy with many trucks and vans coming and going.

I'm aware of the raised kerb outside the garage this had been in place for several years and I suspect was built by a developer as part of a Planning Condition. The point was that the transition onto the cycle path has a concrete upstand of several centimeters on both ends - I have no issues with rised kerbs next to cycle paths. To date I have received no complaints about it and I asked some colleagues who cycle it every day if they have any concerns, they seem to have more concerns about other vehicles parking in this space. I would suggest that its not dangerous in respect to slowing down as you should slow down to cycle across the garage entrance/exit to ensure you do not have any conflict with vehicles entering or leaving the garage.  I do take your point that it should be smooth and will investigate when I go out to visit the Ride.

The railings on Billicombe Road are still in place for the simple reason that the Boatyard still has planning operations here and the entrance may not be permanently closed. These railings certainly conform to safety regulations and you can ride through them reasonably quickly. I've asked if these railings could be removed. The entrance to the boatyard has moved and there are no such railings at the new entrance, which is in daily use. This means they are saying the railings at the unused entrance must remain as the boatyard may choose to use that entrnce gain at some point in future, but no railings are needed at the main entrance!

Cycle paths at this time of the year have problems due to quick growing vegetation, this year has been really overgrown due to warm and wet weather. Parks do all our cutting back and they are operating at full stretch. Please report anything you feel needs attention, cyclists like yourself certainly are a great help in reporting anything that needs addressing. Please use the on-line reporting form http://www.plymouth.gov.uk/homepage/transportandstreets/highways/highwaysform.htm

Finally, there is no dedicated officer in the authority however; Clive Perkins is the Assistant Director for Development, which includes Cycling." I find the fact that PCC has NO dedicated cycling officer very disappointing!