Cycle Proofing falls at the first hurdle
The Norwich Northern Distributor Road has been given the go-ahead by Secretary of State for Transport.
The decision letter (see below) contains an extra-ordinary statement about “cycle proofing”.
I understood we are waiting for the UK Cycle Proofing Working Group to publish details of what the term will mean and how it will be applied.
However, we have the Government’s “Reponse …” of March 2015
1.17 page 10
The Group has already devised a clear definition of cycle proofing for stakeholders and interested bodies to note, as follows;
Cycle proofing is a process which over time ensures that the built environment generally, and roads specifically, are seen to be safe, convenient and pleasant for cycle use by people of all ages and abilities.
Cycling proofing involves:
consideration of the extent and quality of existing cycling conditions on urban and rural networks of roads, streets, junctions, crossings, off-highway cycle-routes and public transport networks; and
identification and prioritisation of measures to improve cycling conditions in the context of all transport and other infrastructure schemes and programmes, including planned road maintenance works, new developments and the creation or management of rights of way and other off highway
routes; its aim is to progressively create comprehensive and coherent transport networks for cycle
I have set out the document trail below:
Planning portal site
Secretary of State’s Decision Letter
36. The Secretary of State has considered the Examining Authority’s assessment of the effects of the NDR project on non-motorised users at ER 4.473-485. With regard to the
suitability of the provision that would be made for cyclists, the Secretary of State agrees with the Examining Authority that the applicant has taken a reasonable approach to cycleproofing the project (ER 4.480).
Examining Authorities report
Effects on non-motorised users (NMUs) 4.473
Norfolk County Council response:
“However, the extensive provision of new facilities for NMUs as part of the scheme, together with mitigation for any adverse effects, is sufficient evidence that the applicant has taken a reasonable approach to cycle-proofing the scheme.”
In evidence to the Inquiry NNC submitted the following:
The Norfolk County Council (Norwich Northern Distributor Road (A1067 to A47(T))) Order
6.1 Environmental Statement: Volume I
Page 788 Non-Motorised Users
And then page 790 Table 1.17 Permanent impact of the NDR for the NMU network
Note only one of the works is “Beneficial”, while some are even “adverse” – is this what “Cycle-Proofing” will mean?. These assessments are subjective judgements by the developer - no objective evidence is provided.
The NCC further state:
12.6.12 Traffic increases for some rural and radial routes within the Norwich area would result in some localised adverse impacts for NMUs due to potential increases in community severance. This is because some NMUs may be deterred from making their existing journeys where roads with traffic increases would need to be crossed or where existing footways, cycleways and bridleways run adjacent to roads with traffic increases. Locations include:
# Traffic increases on Holt Road as it passes through Horsford;
# Traffic increases on North Walsham Road as it passes through Crostwick;
# Traffic increases on the Buxton Road where it passes through Old Catton (affecting the Spixworth cycleway); and,
# Traffic increases on Wroxham Road.
and at 12.6.13
In addition, some slight increases in journey times for NMUs would be experienced as a result of the proposed junctions included within the NDR,
such as at Cromer Road. This would be particularly relevant for cyclists, where navigating junctions may deter some users from making their journeys.
Does this meet the requirements of Government policy to increase cycling? It seems to me that those cynics who saw the Governments announcements on cycle proofing and cycling policy as hot air and headline grabing were right.
Is there is anything that can be done ?