STACC is campaigning for cyclists in the St Albans area
The STACC Winter Public Meeting on Wednesday 22nd November was a sociable and informative evening.
We began with an update on STACC's busy year. Our biggest effort in 2017 was helping the St Albans District Councillors' Cycling Task and Finish group review and update the district cycling strategy. We had an active spring: campaigning for Space for Cycling in the County Council elections, writing to candidates and leading a ride around the Green Ring. We continue to meet with HCC and SADC engineers to discuss schemes and priorities. The campaign field we would most like to develop is commenting at an early stage on planning applications, with regards to provision of cycle routes and storage for cycles on the premises.
Consultation on the HCC Draft Local Transport Plan, LTP4 has now closed. All documentation is still on the HCC website. and is well worth a look. It supports pretty well everything we as a cycle campaign would like to see happen - reduced car dependency, more active travel, more public transport. A key feature is the need for County and District / Borough Councils to work together to co-ordinate inter-acting strategies.
The evening continued with advice on winter cycling. In a nutshell:
Keep your bike as clean as possible; check it and look after it - we have many cycle repairers locally who can help you if you are not an enthusiastic home mechanic. In harsh weather and darkness you want a reliable machine. And good lights and reflectors.
Wrap up warm, but not too warm, you warm up on the bike, but you can get very cold on the downhills!
Lastly, tips on roadcraft - the things to be aware of and watch out for such as low winter sun, likelihood of ice, the dangers of wind.
We are grateful to Neil of Addiktion Cycles for his support of the event and assistance with preparing the presentation.
Here are the 'tube maps' that we showed at the meeting, proper name Cycling Network Quality Maps. They are diagrammatic picture of conditions for cycling, not a route-finding map. They are a work in progress, both in terms of assessing the network and - we hope and campaign for - needing to be updated as conditions are improved. They are based on the CycleBath format, and the idea is to 'turn the map blue'. Or green if looking at the St Albans city map. Three different map-makers, so three different styles. Feedback and comments very welcome.
This version extends further to include local villages:
Still relevant to ongoing campaigning - report on our Public Rights of Way meeting:
Herts County Council are to be commended for clearing vegetation from the whole of the footpath alongside the A5185 between St Albans and Redbourn. The Council is abiding by the new March 2018 NICE guidelines, where Section 1.2.4 says " Ensure footways, footpaths and cycle routes are convenient, safe and appealing to users, and are built and maintained to a high standard". The revealed width of the path does invite the question of whether it could easily be upgraded for shared-use.
Let us also hope that a similar clearing exercise is applied to the muddy overgrown track that is the existing shared-use path alongside the A1081 Harpenden / St Albans Road, especially the section between the entrances to Hawkswick Farm and Childwickbury. It would seem so - work is underway on this section.