STACC AGM - date and speaker now confirmed!
We are delighted that Brian Deegan will be our guest speaker. Brian is an internationally renowned expert on street design and helped to develop the Healthy Streets Checker when he worked for TfL - we heard about Healthy Streets from Caroline Russell during SustFest19. Brian is currently the Cycle Infrastructure Lead for the Greater Manchester Combined Authority, where he is supporting Comissioner Chris Boardman and Mayor Andy Burnham to develop and create the Beelines, a network for cycling and walking.
Date is evening of Monday 30th September. Venue and precise timing to be finalised.
This email is being compiled during a heatwave, so our Punch cartoon is slightly out sync, before breakfast is currently the only comfortable hour for cycling. Having said that, cycling is the coolest option for getting about in hot weather with that self-generated wafting breeze. Sensible tips from us:
- Drink little and often
- Pick the shadiest possible route
The new edition of the St Albans District Cycle Map has just been published, council press release here.
At time of writing the council website has yet to be updated, but paper copies are known to be available at the Old Town Hall.
At the Council meeting on 10 July, there was unanimous vote to approve a proposal that the Council recognises that there is a Climate Emergency. Minutes are on the Council website.
This is one of the items in the proposal:
- how the Council's emerging Local Plan can be used to deliver net zero carbon outcomes, for example with Passivhaus homes, zero carbon homes, requirements for new homes to have electric car charging points and tree canopy targets;
Sadly, nothing about new homes to have cycle and pram spaces. STACC has submitted some proposals for active travel measures to Cllr Chris White - Environment Portfolio Holder and Cllr Simon Grover, chair of Environment Action Group.
Whilst electric cars are an improvement on diesel in terms of emissions, they are not a top priority. Enabling and encouraging active travel ie walking, cycling and public transport is a top priority for reducing pollution. STACC suggestions include 20mph, build-outs and other treatments to make it easier for people to cross the road; modal filters ie allow people walking and cycling to get through but stop rat-running by motor vehicles; 'school streets' ie temporary road closures around schools at start and end of school day; requiring new homes ot have secure cycle spaces and provision of on-street secure cycle parking for residents in the existing housing stock. All these measures are 'healthy streets' measures, as we heard from Caroline Russell at our spring meeting - report on our website. At our AGM we will hear from Brian Deegan about creating networks for cycling and walking.
MEMBER ACTION: do let your district and county councillors know that you support active travel and ask for walking and cycling to be prioritised, both in the budget and on the ground.
Wow! Caroline Russell delivered a superb talk on Healthy Streets on 29th May, and the report of the excellent #SustFest19 meeting is attached.
||Report on STACC meeting - Healthy street for healthy communities 29-5-19.pdf
478.19Kb View Download
Thanks to John, Graham, Steve, Peter and Nick for staffing the STACC Bike Week market stall on Saturday 8th June. We had a good position near Waddington Road and plenty of old spanners to ballast our maps in the gusty breeze.
SustFest continues, and (in our view!) the highlight of week three is on Wednesday 29th May - the STACC Healthy Streets meeting, with Caroline Russell. The venue is Marlborough Road Methodist Church St Albans AL1 3XG. Doors open 7.30pm, talk starts 8.00pm. You can hear STACC's Nick Clarke being interviewed about Healthy Streets on Radio Verulam's Environment Matters show via the podcast. Flier is attached.
We had a great day out at the Market Takeover, got lots of feedback and handed out so many maps we had to go and get some more. STACC's Rona Wightman was one of a number of people at the event who was interviewed by UK Health Radio's Mike Dilke, available to listen to from Tuesday.
Who needs a map if you have a long dress and nerve though - see Mr Punch cartoon attached!
Another reminder: #SustFest19 free event with Caroline Russell, on Healthy Streets. The meeting is on Wednesday 29th May, 7.30 for 8.00pm, at the Methodist Church, Marlborough Road, St Albans. We will have lots of flyers for the Healthy Streets talk at the Market Takeover in St Peters Street, St Albans on Sunday 19 May. Do come along and pick up some flyers. Listen out for an interview with STACC on Radio Verulam Environment Matters on Wednesday 22 May.
If you have time to help on the STACC stall, that would be great. It is fun and not too demanding. We are sharing a stall with the South Herts Cyclists - our combined stall will cover both sustainable transport and sustainable holidays, with advice on local routes and cycle touring. We will be featuring our proposals for improving the cycling network in St Albans, and will be seeking comments and suggestions
We also highlight the Harpenden Neighbourhood Plan Group #SustFest19 event in Harpenden on Tuesday 21st May, 7:30pm about the Neighbourhood Plan that was completed in February. The event is also free but does require booking at www.sf19nplan.eventbrite.com.
There are lots of events in #SustFest19 programme, covering a wide range of sustainability issues. There are walks, talks, cycle rides, visits, demonstrations and opportunities to get involved in all sorts of activities. More on the Sustainable St Albans website.
Spring is sprung! There are lots of things to start getting busy with as the days lengthen.
STACC needs your help to staff its stall at the Market Takeover on Sunday 19th May in St Peters Street, St Albans. Could you pop along for an hour or so and be enthusiastic about cycling? More details below.
Also, don't miss our excellent #SustFest19 event with Caroline Russell, on Healthy Streets. The meeting is on Wednesday 29th May, 8.00pm, at the Methodist Church, Marlborough Road, St Albans.
Can you help bring School Streets to St Albans?
Streets around schools are often dominated by idling cars and speeding traffic at drop-off and pick-up times, resulting in air pollution and an environment that is generally unpleasant for walking and cycling.
‘School Streets’ are streets where the roads outside some schools are closed to most motor traffic at school opening and closing times. This helps make a safer, more pleasant environment for everyone, while making sure residents, businesses, pedestrians and cyclists can still use the roads. This short video from Hackney shows how effective the scheme can be.
Sustrans developed the School Streets programme, and increasing numbers of councils are introducing them. As well as Hackney, several London boroughs are piloting the scheme. Edinburgh began implementing it more than three years ago, and Solihull is rolling it out across the whole town. Friends of the Earth have produced an excellent guide for local groups.
Could this work in St Albans? Which schools would benefit most? Could YOU talk to a headmaster and help STACC to explore and develop a pilot scheme for a local school, perhaps the one your children go to?
Do get in touch with STACC by e-mailing email@example.com to find out more.
It has turned cold! According to the NHS Hospital Episode Statistics for 2016/17, the second-most common cause of admission to hospital of cyclists in England was slipping on ice. Also, weather forecasts predict air temperatures, but ice can form when road-surface temperatures, which can be up to 5 degrees lower especially in the morning, drop below zero. The Sustrans blog has a relevant post on this topic.
Hertfordshire is not one of the authorities that currently lists 'traffic weather' online, but you can follow their #GritterTwitter - if they are gritting, expect ice on untreated roads and footways.
Radio Verulam's Environment Matters show invited Larry Heyman, Local Development Manager of Thameslink & Great Northern, Govia Thameslink Railway (GTR), to come in and outline the proposals for St Albans City Station; you can hear Amanda Yorwerth interviewing Larry and STACC's Rona Wightman via the podcast which was broadcast on Wednesday 21st November.
20's plenty in the New Year - the St Albans city-centre 20mph zone is being extended. From 7th January 2019, Grange Street, Dalton Street, Bernard Street & Church Street will have limits of 20mph. The zone is also extending along Catherine Street to just south of the Dalton Street junction and along Hatfield Road as far as Upper Marlborough Road.
We are progressing with developing proposals for the cycling network in St Albans. Here is some helpful reading on this topic: https://therantyhighwayman.blogspot.com/2018/12/route-cause.html
The Green Ring was officially opened on 25th October by Deputy Mayor, Councillor Brian Gibbard at Bernards Heath on Thursday 25 October with the assistance of Councillor Salih Gaygusuz, Portfolio Holder for Business and the Community. They were joined by other Councillors, children from Bernards Heath Junior School and members of the St Albans Cycling Campaign.
We have had several reports recently of youths on motorbikes on both the Alban Way and the Nickey Line, behaving in a threatening manner and sadly even an actual assault. Please be watchful, keep out of their way, avoid confrontation and report any antisocial behaviour to the police using 101. If you or someone else is in danger, ring 999.
On a happier note, there are a lot of good people out there, and two riders report a positive outcome on NCN57 Great Northern near Aldwickbury. The cyclists thought that the walkers ahead had twigged them, however it turned out the walkers had thought it was runners approaching, and got a bit of a fright when all of a sudden there were cyclists alongside them. Apologies and friendly chat ensued. The message for sharing on railway-type routes is - use a bell to give a clear signal that it is a cyclist approaching. As simple as that! Add to that, the basic highway code 'slow down and give them plenty of room' always works, as it did in this instance. Picture below: further along the line, when it has become NCN6.
The Cole Green Way now has a Greenspace Action Plan, it is an impressive document, and the consultation comments were incorporated. Not always to everyone's complete satisfaction, as there are conflicting preferences amongst the various path users, but the GAP does a good job of optimising.
The Alban Way is nearing the end of its current GAP, expect consultation soon on the next five-year plan 2019-24.
Cottonmill Level Crossing now has a community group campaigning to keep it open: ‘Save Our Crossing Action Group’ https://m.facebook.com/groups/186667322006237
South West Herts Growth and Transport Plan - your holiday reading! Please try and make a comment on this, a once-in-a-decade opportunity to affirm the need for investment in cycling infrastructure. The plan is to run to 2031. This will affect existing and proposed cycle routes between Hemel, St Albans & Watford, including -
- Nickey Line north-south extension
- A4147 cycleway
- A414 cyleway Hemel - Park Street
- A1081 cycle corridor Luton - St Albans
- A405 cycleway
- Grand Union Canal & A411 corridor
- A414 J8 cycle bridge
- Hemel magic-roundabout cycle bridge
You can have your say here (before 17 Sept) MEMBER ACTION!!
Did you mange to take action on one of the items of our interim bulletin? Thank you! Are you too busy? Please be inspired and encouraged by this blog post - thanks to Twenty's Plenty for the link. If every member took one micro-advocacy action every now and then......
Our usual STACC newsletter will follow in due course, but here are a three things for your immediate attention. Please respond/ get involved as appropriate.
Camp 20mph - Hertfordshire County Council have launched a 'public engagement' as a forerunner to a consultation. Get your comments in:
Evidence call to convert public footpath to bridleway - Cromer Hyde
The route in question is a stretch of farmer's track which is currently designated as a footpath but has been ridden by bike and hoof for many years. It links to a byway heading North from the John Bunyan and another heading North past Symondshyde Farm and is a useful link in off-road bike rides heading North towards the Ayots and beyond. The landowner recently installed a gate at the western end which limits access, especially for horse riders who can't duck under the gate. The British Horse Spciety are gathering usage evidence to apply for conversion to bridleway and removal of the gate:
The BHS believes that this route has been used as a bridleway for so long that in law it is too late for a gate to stop the use. However, the burden of proof is on the BHS to show the council that this is the case.
To do this, we must collect statements from people who have actually used the path. The attached evidence form is a good way of collecting the answers to questions that the council needs to assess our application.
Please could you print it out, then fill it in by hand (not typed) as fully and accurately as you can, and then post it to: Phil Wadey, 12 Home Close, Newlands Road, CORSHAM SN13 0BE
I will then collate it with other forms, and make the application to the council when we have enough.
On the form you will see the route has been broken into two sections, A to B and B to C. The route A to B is the one that has recently been gated (at B), but some people claim to have used B to C as well. I am
uncertain about this so please tick the boxes only for the route(s) you have used.
Finally, if you ride the route with others, it would be great if you could pass them a copy of the form as well - numbers count!
With kind regards,
One of the BHS Hertfordshire access officers
Cottonmill Level Crossing - AbFly news:
Network Rail are currently considering the closure of the Cottonmill crossing. This is as a result of dangerous behaviour by a minority. There is a plan that the crossing will be straightened and the gates moved nearer the actual railway line so people can see trains before they pass through. The wooden edge boards each side of the crossing will also be changed to a more visible material and the gaps round the rails narrowed to make it easier for buggies.
Network Rail is planning to mount a display some time in July of possible options if the crossing is closed. If Network Rail persists in pushing for closure, it will go to Public Inquiry.
The Cottonmill Community Improvement Group on Facebook can be found via this link (you have to have a Facebook account) https://www.facebook.com/groups/150947005371232/permalink/423447298121200/
Celebrations and campaigns:
Bike Week 9 to 17 June, and our stall on St Albans Saturday market distributed maps and dispensed advice. One of the people we met currently WALKS home from St Albans to Wheathampstead, as his shift finishes after the last bus has gone. He had asked for advice on buying a bike. This illustrates the importance of inter-urban cycling links, as public transport does not always run in evenings or weekends.
Air-Quality day is 21 June and St Albans will be encouraging sensible and considerate driving, i.e. switch the engine off rather than sitting there polluting.
Alban Street Festival on 24 June, 12 - 6pm in St Peters Street is including a celebration of Hertfordshire Year of Physical Activity (HertsYOPA18). There will be a Bike Zone with stunt shows at 1pm, 3pm and 4.30pm and also drop-in try-out sessions on the bike ramp.
Bike Month - HertsYOPA18 focuses on different aspects of physical activity throughout the year and this month it is cycling. It is also #ThisGirlCan, focus sing on women, so expect to see female cyclists throughout the month, at events and on the lively HertsYOPA Twitter feed. A certain Cycle Campaign's secretary might appear at some point.
Fete du Velo Cycling Festival returns for a 5th year to the Village of Redbourn on Sunday 1st July on Redbourn Common. This community-driven festival prides itself on helping to keep the village active and it helped to take the village to the latter stages of Village of the Year 2017. There will be activities for all the family on the day. For more info please visit www.thebikeloft.co.uk
Vegetation - we again congratulate St Albans District Council on keeping the grass trimmed and dealing with a backlog of weedy / grassy encroachment on roadside paths. However, stuff grows and if vegetation needs cutting back, please report it using the Hertfordshire Highways fault reporting system. If the problem is a cycle route in a 'green space' such as the Alban Way, Nickey Line or Ayot Greenway, you can report it to St Albans District Council Greens Spaces management.
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.
Consultation into St Albans’ new Local Plan has now begun and lasts until 21st February.
The final document will detail all development in St Albans district from 2020 to 2036 - including nearly 15,000 new homes, 14 schools, and various new green spaces - with eight Green Belt sites already identified for housing.
The former Strategic Local Plan, which has been abandoned, made provision for about 430 new homes each year. Since then, the Government has more than doubled the number to around 900 a year.
The significant number of new developments has implications for traffic growth and consequences for cycling in the district, so you are urged to study the documents online or at a local library and make appropriate comments. Public exhibitions are being held at which queries can be addressed to Council staff.
Our winter public meeting is coming up, the topic is .... winter! Do spread the word about it and encourage people to come along.
The meeting is on Wednesday 22nd November, starting at 7.30pm at the Methodist Church Hall, Marlborough Road, St Albans AL1 3XG.