November 09, 2009

Items for TSG

Follow-up to TSG agenda from Cycling to and around Warwick University

I have had a flurry of large and small suggestions, all excellent, to bring to Weds Transport Strategy Group:

1. Small works to improve cycle routes around campus woudl have a significant impact on safety of all campus users, on foot, cycle and car.
e.g. entrance / exit to Gibbet Hill cycletrack behind SU;
entrance / exit to shared use path between boilerhouse and University House.

2. Better web- and physical signage of routes for cyclists and pedestrians (some exists already).
e.g.
http://www.coventry.gov.uk/ccm/navigation/transport-and-streets/sustainable-transport/travelwise/

3. Webtool for personal cycleroute planning as for recent pedestrian initiative.
Google pedometer is useful for planning cycle routes http://www.gmap-pedometer.com/

4. Consider http://www.cycletoworkguarantee.org.uk/
The guarantee covers 5 areas, one of which is buying, which is the cycle to work scheme. The others are cycle storage, changing facilities, repair/maintenance facilities and
inspiring (including cycle training). Adoption of the full guarantee would be a good step towards encouraging more staff and students to take up cycle commuting to campus.

5. Updates on Sustrans’ cross-campus to Kenilworth route http://www.sustransconnect2.org.uk/schemes/project_detail.php?id=146

6. Advertise 20 p per mile expenses claimable (or Cycle to Work scheme benefits) versus real costs of motoring.

7. Secure cycle parking still needs to be improved across campus.

8. Unforeseen consequences of the changes in campus car parking policy. Since the start of term (and the new parking policy) there has been a massive increase in on-road parking on Sir William Lyons Road and the residential roads leading from De Montfort Way. This has in turn lead to an increase in traffic and congestion on these roads and Lynchgate
Road during both rush hours (particularly the evening). As well as no doubt frustrating local residents, this makes these roads considerably less cycle friendly, which is particularly unfortunate as they form part of the most convenience cycle route between the campus and Coventry City Centre.


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  1. Catherine Fenn

    Google pedometer is useful for planning cycle routes http://www.gmap-pedometer.com/

    Cycle parking space needs to be increased and made more secure. Curiously Sports facilities on campus are amongst buildings with seriously limited cycle parking space. Details of recent improvements available at http://www2.warwick.ac.uk/insite/transtrav/investment/

    Gibbet Hill path is quite well signed but every day I have to ask pedestrians to move out of the way and every time they look * surprised * at seeing a bike * sigh *

    Kirby Corner Road is not cycle friendly but can be avoided – perhaps signage/maps for much safer alternative routes?

    Kirby Corner Roundabout has to be negotiated by many of us – know I’ve had many close calls here and am aware of other cyclists who have not been so lucky sustaining personal injuries and/or damaged bikes

    Kirby Corner Roundabout to Gatehouse Roundabout – not fun :( road narrows but drivers (including buses & lorries) insist on overtaking blindly on bend then cutting sharply back in when they fail :(

    Finally, for now, it is not helping cyclist vs driver debates that we have a number of cyclists around campus lacking basic road sense – just taking this term as an example have seen bike going wrong way around roundabout, bike on wrong side of University Road (yes straight into oncoming traffic!) and far far too many cyclists after dark in dark clothing without lights * deep sigh *

    09 Nov 2009, 13:52

  2. Steve Rumsby

    I get very frustrated by that last point – the number of cyclists who seem unaware of the rules of the road, or are deliberately ignoring them. It absolutely doesn’t help – drivers will naturally tar all cyclists with the same brush. I have noticed that a significant proportion (not all, by any means) of these appear to be overseas students. I wonder if it would make sense, at the start of an academic year, to offer some basic instruction to anyone who may be unfamiliar with traffic laws in the UK? Part of the orientation process, perhaps? Just a thought.

    09 Nov 2009, 15:11

  3. Steve Rumsby

    I’m puzzled by the comment that “Kirby Corner Road is not cycle friendly”. I’ve never had a problem on Kirby Corner Road, nor the stretch of Gibbet Hill Road from the KCR roundabout to the gatehouse – well, no more so than anywhere else. Have I just been fortunate?

    09 Nov 2009, 15:19

  4. Steve Rumsby

    I have been asked several times this term so far about the best place to go for basic bicycle repairs – punctures and adjusting gears. For cyclists who don’t know about this stuff, and who don’t live near a good (or any) bike shop, this can easily be a barrier to regular cycling. I know Richard Hicks tried to set up a regular bike repair business on campus many years ago and it didn’t work. I wonder if there are enough bikes on campus regularly now for it to be worth another go? Or if there’s some way of getting somebody on campus once a week to provide this kind of service and advice?

    Again, some of the people I have helped have been overseas students who are unfamiliar with the area and simply don’t know where to go. (But they happen to know somebody who knows me:-)

    09 Nov 2009, 15:32

  5. Steve Rumsby

    And now for something completely different. An idea popped into my head a few weeks ago and I haven’t been able to get rid of it, so here goes. I wonder if there are some potential new cyclists out there who would be fine once they got started but just need that last little bit of encouragement? Would some of us regular, confident cyclists be willing to make a small detour to pick up a new cyclist and provide some company for them for the first few days/weeks while they get the hang of the route and co-existing with traffic, etc. Would there be any interest in setting up some kind of “buddy system” to encourage people to get started?

    09 Nov 2009, 15:36

  6. Catherine Fenn

    Re: #3
    KCR to Gatehouse = Maybe me being unfortunate and feeling vulnerable? Just find that large vehicles (mostly buses) have tendancy to pull out to overtake me on bike regardless of oncoming traffic which is then forced to take defensive action! action usually accompanied by blast of horn… road surface on this stretch some of the best in Cov though :)
    KCR itself busy, narrow, lots of buses – quieter alternatives available if you know where to find them!

    09 Nov 2009, 15:48

  7. Steve Rumsby

    Where do you position yourself on the road? How far out from the kerb? My habit is to cycle further from the kerb that most others seem to, especially when I don’t want following vehicles to overtake (like on that right-hand bend by the gatehouse). I got the idea from John Franklin’s Cyclecraft. It seems to work for me.

    That book is a good read – if you haven’t read it yet, give it a go.

    09 Nov 2009, 15:54

  8. Catherine Fenn

    Re: #4
    Perhaps bike maintenance stuff could be included in bike registration sessions? http://www2.warwick.ac.uk/insite/newsandevents/notices/bikeregistration/ have email PC Mike Parkes to ask if these sessions could rotate between Uni House & Gibbet Hill.

    Re: #5
    Like the “buddy system” idea. Small scale trial with a couple of volunteers?

    09 Nov 2009, 15:58

  9. Graeme Shaw

    I can’t remember where I read about it now, but I think they’re doing a buddy-style system in London, and at Manchester University. The idea is that you have specific days (once a week, or once a month) where experienced commuters meet up with groups of newbies and escort them along a major route. If we were to attempt such an undertaking here, Coventry City Centre to campus, and Kenilworth to campus would seem like obvious routes. I’ll see if I can track down the details of the schemes I read about.

    10 Nov 2009, 14:16

  10. Graeme Shaw

    A soon as I posted that comment, I found the articles I was talking about.

    Here’s the example from London: http://www.guardian.co.uk/uk/2009/aug/14/cycle-friday-lcc-cyling-scheme
    and here’s the example from UoM: http://www.guardian.co.uk/environment/ethicallivingblog/2009/sep/02/manchester-cycle-to-work

    10 Nov 2009, 14:19

  11. Just to add further examples to suggestion (1) regarding useful small improvements, the contra-flow on library road could do with being made more obvious – a number of people cycle down it the wrong way, and a number of cars seem unaware of it. Also the road/path that runs past Claycroft residence is the most daft arrangement – I think the standard model of a road for vehicles (that’s bikes!) and pavement/footpath for pedestrians would be a lot less confusing! Again, clear markings are important so that different types of road users are not surprised by each others’ presence, and also so that potential cyclists can see possible routes that are easy to follow, encouraging them to give it a go.

    10 Nov 2009, 14:35

  12. Steve Rumsby

    I no longer use the library contra-flow lane, precisely because it seems cyclists are the only people who are aware of it. Motorists and pedestrians often seemed to be surprised at my presence. It is simply too dangerous when there are alternatives.

    I agree too about Claycroft. The current arrangement is just silly. Inconsistent signage doesn’t help, but still a path wide enough for one cycle isn’t going to work as a bi-directional cycle path. Pointless. Make it a footpath.

    10 Nov 2009, 14:47

  13. I come to work (Gibbet Hill) on the Kenilworth Rd, which can be a bit hairy due to the odd driver who is enraged that I’m not using the pavement shared-use facility :( I’m not sure I’d suggest it as a “first commute to work” route. Maybe on a good day with sunshine and no wind…

    A repair shop on campuses might be a bit much, but a basic tool-kit on each campus (tyre levers, track pump, oil, puncture kits) would be a real boon, as would more covered bicycle parking.

    Relatedly, we keep being told that car-park permits for occasional use will be rolled out in the future, but this could and should happen now. Particularly on Gibbet Hill, there’s almost no-where to park if you don’t have a permit, and I sometimes want to drive in when there’s something I need to transport that won’t fit on the bike.

    10 Nov 2009, 15:14

  14. How about the university including promotional material in the information they give to every newcomer?
    E.g. tips on access by bicycle, the location of cycle repair shops, where cycles can be bought. Also riding in traffic (See Steve’s comment 7). Adding that cycling is good for your health as well as your pocket and the environment.

    It’s been found in many places that providing better information about alternatives to car commuting is a more cost-effective approach than civil engineering works.

    Perhaps the new problems in the De Montfort Way area will be reduced once the residents’ parking scheme gets going.

    10 Nov 2009, 18:29

  15. Ben Morgan

    Re: comments on the KCR to Gatehouse section – it’s nasty because there’s pinch point just after the Varsity entrance. Road positioning helps, though this can be difficult at busy times. The other problem is traffic speed on what’s quite a narrow section, not to mention the number of times I get cut up/rear ended/sideswiped on the roundabouts (and once a lot worse at KCR…). I’m not sure there’s much that can be done here though other than the suggestion of alternate routes (I’m just having a moan because I have to use that route!).

    Re: bike maintenance on campus, I’ve been at Birmingham Uni a couple of times where they seem to have a local bike shop come and set up a stand next to their union to offer bike check ups and basic maintenance (not sure how often this happens). Perhaps something similar would work here?

    11 Nov 2009, 09:57

  16. Late to this discussion – oops!

    Everything I have read about the Buddy systems has been positive, though the London example has been criticised for only going in the morning and not returning in the evening! Certainly pairing up cyclists onto campus would seem a good idea.

    Also think the idea about holding some basic repair gear on campus somewhere a good one – perhaps Uni House reception could have some puncture repair kits, a track pump and bits and bobs.

    12 Nov 2009, 10:17

  17. One other thing – the bridge on the path between main campus and Gibbet Hill. There’s a big bump on the main campus end of that bridge, which is no fun to cycle over at any speed; could that be fixed? It’s a shame all that work they did on the path didn’t address this.

    12 Nov 2009, 10:57

  18. Graeme Shaw

    Given the relative inexpense of the sorts of items we’re talking about (pump, patches, bottle of oil, couple of inner tubes), it would be quite nice to see them located in a variety of places around campus. Some of the regular cyclists in Scarman Rd WBS have a few bits and bobs we’ve cobbled together ourselves, it would be nice if the University could provide a standard kit for each department and then advertise where they are available.

    12 Nov 2009, 10:58


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