E-mail sent by Rona Wightman, Wednesday, 30th September 2020 @ 9:12pm
St Albans City Hospital nurse Jane O’Connor is the first delighted winner of a bicycle restored and donated by a partnership between rail operator Thameslink, St Albans City & District Council and St Albans Cycle Campaign. Jane received her bike at a presentation at the City station attended by St Albans MP Daisy Cooper.
Thameslink has donated six bikes abandoned and unclaimed at railway stations across its network. With advice from STACC, the Council commissioned cycle-repair specialists Cycle Tech Hertfordshire to restore the bikes to a safe, roadworthy condition. All the renovation work has been funded by STACC.
SADC arranged with West Hertfordshire Hospitals NHS Trust to organise a prize draw for the bikes among its staff. Jane is the first winner, and further draws will pick five colleagues.
Jane said: “I’m looking forward to cycling to work. Cycling has so many benefits, including mental, physical health and well-being. It also has environmental benefits, plus there is the pleasure of riding a bike.”
From left: Rona Wightman (STACC secretary), Jacqui Taylor (SADC Councillor for St Peters ward), Jane O’Connor, Daisy Cooper MP and Thameslink MD Tom Moran
If you do one piece of cycle campaigning this week, make it e-mailing your County Councillor to support default 20mph in our towns and villages.
The revived 20's Plenty for St Albans campaign is a coalition of groups, including STACC, that are calling for calmer streets for people where we live and work and play. Please take action by e-mailing your County Councillor. This can be done very easily using the e-mail action set up by St Albans Friends of the Earth for this campaign - just click here, put in your name and address and up comes an editable e-mail to your county councillor. Many councillors are already in favour; others need to be shown the level of support. Please do this now, as it will affect the adoption of the proposed Speed-Management Strategy for Hertfordshire. The e-mail action has been set up by St Albans but it works for the whole county, as speed limits are a county matter, so tell your friends throughout Herts!
Now read on for more news of local and national consultations, also plans and infrastructure works in and around our district.
We had a STACC committee meeting on Zoom on Monday evening. Later that night.... three huge announcements from the government.
PM kickstarts £2bn cycling and walking revolution - hmm, yes, using money previously announced, and that is not ambitious enough. Still the creation of Active Travel England could be a very good thing, the loss of Cycling England in the 'bonfire of the quangos' in 2012 was a setback to active travel. Details in the Gear Change plan. The first release of the £50 vouchers to get old bikes back on the road was heavily over subscribed.
And then we have the proposed changes to the Highway Code to 'improve road safety of cyclists, pedestrians and horse-riders'. You can give your views, here is the link to the consultation. You have until 27 October to respond.
Here in Hertfordshire, please look at the County Council's Speed Management Strategy Proposals. The consultation is open until 16th September. The strategy is very resistant to widespread 20mph limit or providing the speed limits that residents want for their streets, it is based on existing speeds and (lack of) enforcement. So if traffic is currently going too fast on your street, the strategy would not allow for imposing a lower limit. This runs counter to Department of Transport advice on implementing 20mph zones. See item on 20mph below for some ideas on whe 20mph is a good idea.
We have been urging Herts Highways to come up with some good proposals for funding from the Emergency Active Travel Fund (EATF). Their Tranche 1 proposals were not fully funded, as they were not making enough of a difference - see item below. Key requirements are re-allocating road space from motor traffic to active travel. The Department for Transport is encouraging councils to use Modal Filters to create Low Traffic Neighbourhoods - there were none of these in HCC's Tranche 1; we are pushing strongly to have some in Tranche 2. The High Street closure in St Albans is meant to be a modal filter but the barriers are not reflecting this. They extend all the way to the kerb, making it difficult for cyclists and mobility scooter users to use some of the access points. We have also made sure the highways engineers know about the suggestions made by members of the public using the Widen My Path website. Thanks to the Sustainable St Albans Schools group for their input.
As always, it really helps if you write to your County Councillor to express support for active travel and streets for people. We are getting some very encouraging signs of County Councillors being in favour of active travel, and it would good to applaud that commitment and encourage the waverers. We appreciate the modest monetary subscription that our member households give to the campaign - see below - but giving some time and energy to write to councillors is even more valuable. There is some vocal opposition to giving more roadspace to active travel, please be the voice of reason, especially if you are a voice with a vote! You can find your County Councillor contact information here
We are emphasisisng the County in this newsletter, since it is mostly Highways issues this time, but we are very aware of the contribution of District, Town and Parish Counciilors - thank you all.