Issue 74
May 2008

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Cross Country threat to rail bike carriage

Based on an article in CCN News

As part of its bid for the Cross Country rail franchise, Arriva Trains said that it would increase capacity on the Voyager trains by stripping out the buffet and operating a refreshment trolley on all services. Now it transpires that, in order to provide for the trolley operation, the existing bike carriage facilities will be removed to make room for a second catering area. New cycle spaces are to be provided in the area of the present buffet, but these will accommodate only two bikes instead of the present four, hanging vertically in very small cupboards which may well be unsuitable for many bikes.

The changes are likely to be implemented in the autumn. Arriva is already restricting cycle reservations to only two per train, leaving valuable existing bike space unused. The new arrangements will be unsuitable as the new 'cupboards' appear to be too small for larger bikes. Bikes will need to be stripped of luggage first and the new storage will be in the middle of the train, with considerable potential for conflict between cyclists and passengers moving through. At present the Voyagers are some of the few trains where a family, using 3 or 4 bikes, can travel together. Arriva's plans will effectively put an end to the use of trains by cycling families, leaving them with little choice but to travel by car.

Arriva's policies are a serious threat to bike carriage in Britain. They are inconsistent with what is needed to encourage cycling. Furthermore, it is unacceptable that, to win a franchise with the promise of extra seats (though not very many in reality), a rail operator can simply sacrifice bike space at a whim.

Please write to Tom Harris, the rail minister, via your MP. In a covering letter, urge your MP to press the minister to get this issue resolved without delay. If you can, please also write to Andy Cooper, Managing Director of Cross Country, at 85 Smallbrook Queensway, Birmingham, B5 4HA. Please let CCN or CTC see copies of any replies.

Picnic in the Park

Picnic in the park will again be taking place on 17th May in Queens Park. Once again we will have a display. If anyone could help man the stand please contact John Catt.

Get Cycling Show

based on an articles in CCN New

This show will take place at Nottingham racecourse on 25th and 26th May where there will be 400 bikes for visitors to try out, 50 exhibitors, and advice centre and much else. The event is being staged by The Company of Cyclists. See http://getcyclingshow.info.

Surf but turf bikes off (see rail bike carriage above)

Surfboards and other luggage will be welcome on board CrossCountry’s extra summer train services from Manchester and Newcastle to Cornwall, but sadly, bicycles won’t.

How eco-friendly will new towns be?

based on an articles in CTC CycleDigest

The Government has announced the 15 short-listed sites around England from which up to 10 new ‘eco-towns’ will be selected for development. The idea behind the towns is to create places from scratch that offer the opportunity to achieve high standards of sustainable living whilst maximising the potential for affordable housing.

A consultation has been launched on the planning guidelines and on the sites themselves. The detailed transport principles sound excellent, including traffic minimisation with car ownership aimed at just 50% of households and streets designed primarily for pedestrians and cyclists.

However, most of the sites selected are in areas of high road density near cities, often with poor public transport alternatives. Such sites could contribute to the sprawling development in these areas, and lead to substantial increases in car and light goods traffic. Mitigating this threat will be a challenge.

Instead of new towns, the redevelopment of inner urban areas into ‘eco-quarters’ with high density occupation would be much more likely to result in genuine traffic minimisation and the dominance of walking and cycling modes. The consultation closes on the 30th June: http://tiny.cc/6bSR2 .

An eco-town proposal was submitted for Kingston-on-Soar, to the south of Nottingham. In response to representations from Rushcliffe Borough Council, this site is not to be pursued. However, the Government is proposing to carry out a further review in partnership with RBC to consider whether there is a suitable alternative location with the potential to be viable within the Rushcliffe local authority area.

School Travel Plans

Jonathan O'Farrell (jofarrell@leics.gov.uk) School Travel Plan Co-ordinator is pleased to report that 45 out of 70 schools in Charnwood have completed travel plans. Those still to be taken forward in the Loughborough area include Loughborough C of E Primary School, Loughborough de Lisle Catholic School, Shepshed Hind Leys Community College, Loughborough Grammar School, Fairfield School and Loughborough High School. If you are in a position to assist these schools (or indeed any in Charnwood) develop their Travel Plans, help would be most appreciated – as schools should be engaging community representation as part of drafting their plans. Please contact Jonathan if you can assist.

Take Action on Active Travel

Sustrans and 69 other leading transport, health and planning organisations have produced the above document which explains why a shift from car-dominated transport policy would benefit public health.

Dr Tim Crayford, President of the Association of Directors of Public Health said: “If we really want to see levels of obesity declining in the UK, we have to move on from the rhetoric. We need to see a visible investment in infrastructure that makes cycling and walking the travel modes of choice for people across the country".

“What's more, every transport and land use decision should be checked to ensure it meets public health criteria. The government's drive for a wave of new Eco-towns is a start, but we need to address transport decisions within existing redevelopment projects if we want to see an all encompassing cultural shift.”

The signatory organisations of the Take action on active travel document are also calling for:

Planning policy going backwards

based on an articles in CTC Newsnet

The Government is undermining its own planning policies on reducing the need to travel (especially by private car) in a new draft policy statement on economic development. Planning Policy Statement 4 , which the Government has been consulting on, cancels the maximum car parking standards and gives local authorities the freedom to set aside more new sites for out-of-town retail centres. Although there's some window dressing about supporting sustainable transport and cycle parking, the aim of the document is clear - more travel will mean more economic growth.

Relaxing controls on out-of-town retail and business development will encourage more longer-distance car-dependent journeys, and the aim should be to locate developments in central urban areas where they are more accessible using sustainable and healthy travel options of walking and cycling or by public transport, none of which require large amounts of parking space.

Breakdown cover – for your Bike

Did you know the ETA also offers a breakdown service for cyclists? If for any reason, say an accident or the theft of your bike, you can not complete your journey, they will take you and your cycle to a railway station, cycle repair shop or back home or to another destination of your choice. Call 0800 212 810 or go to http://www.eta.co.uk/breakdown/cycle_rescue for details.

Bike Week Header

The Campaign will again be running the sponsored ride across Garendon park on Sunday, 15th June and help will be needed with registration and marshalling from 16-30 to 20-00. Please mark this up in your diaries as we will be approaching members to help with the event. So far we know that it will be supported by Holywell and Shelthorpe Schools together with the River District Brownies.

Ray Clay will be leading an evening ride on Wednesday 18 June of 15 mile to Barrow upon Soar starting at 6pm from Browns Lane Leisure Centre, Loughborough. Riders should be back in Loughborough by 9pm.

Max gets some interesting answers

County Councillor Max Hunt raised some interesting questions at a meeting of Leicestershire County Countil on 21 March (see http://tiny.cc/JhcUr). We now know officially that rush-hour motorists are travelling slower than the average cyclist. Cars on the busiest routes into Leicester trundle along at an average of 12mph between 8am and 9am.

Figures from automated cycle counts were also given. If the reliable figures for Loughborough are extracted they show a decline and recovery in cycling levels since 2000 with a growth of 2% over the period. Bearing in mind the increased population (particularly of students) this is very disappointing and indicates a relative decline.

Road crashes are a major killer

Increasing motor traffic and population in developing countries means more crashes. The World Health Organisation (WHO) says every year 1.2 million people die on the road - making it the seventh biggest killer in the world, ahead of diabetes and malaria.

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