Emergency Measures survey results and background

Active Travel Congleton is a community interest company run by volunteers and funded by voluntary donation. Our objective is to enable more people to make more journeys by walking or cycling for the benefit of all the residents of Congleton. For each person who changes their mode of transport, from the car to active travel we will get less pollution, less congestion and better health and wellbeing for all. Everybody wins!

Survey Results

Through social media and the Congleton Chronicle we asked people to comment on our proposals for encouraging active travel, mitigating the effects of Covid-19 and to improve the retail experience in the town centre both during and after the lockdown. From our survey we have the following results. You can see that there is support for the introduction of 20mph speed limits and for pavement widening.

These are raw results. We are not professional market researchers but I think we can safely assume that the majority of respondents are middle class vehicle owners and I believe there is a negative bias particularly in regards to town centre traffic reduction.

 

Yes

No

Don’t know

 

Yes

No

Don’t know

Support 20mph

27

16

5

 

56%

33%

10%

Support Pavement widening

26

20

2

 

54%

42%

4%

Support no entry x cycles

18

27

3

 

38%

56%

6%

Support removal of cyclist dismount signs

16

28

4

 

33%

58%

8%

Support Traffic reduction scheme

15

29

4

 

31%

60%

8%

Happy to be contacted

35

13

0

 

73%

27%

0%

        

Total Responses

48

      

 

Background

In March 2020 the government released a document called “Decarbonising transport” in it, the transport secretary, Rt Hon Grant Shapps, says “Public transport and active travel will be the natural first choice for our daily activities. We will use our cars less and be able to rely on a convenient, cost-effective and coherent public transport network.” In the 2019 National Attitudes survey, 61{72c9b228f72c6947c353efd0c4fd57a9bb0b8871b19ca465d44d250e3e23d96f} of respondents considered cycling on urban roads to be too dangerous.

To improve the adoption of Active Travel there has to be an incentive with minimal cost and we came up with a 4 point plan.

  1. Impose reduced speed limits in urban areas except major routes which will include West Road, Clayton bypass, Rood Hill, Mountbatten Way, Buxton Road and Park Lane. 20’s plenty where people live!
  2. Increase the priority for vulnerable road users. Eg add more pedestrian crossings, reduce the waiting time on Puffin crossings, give cyclists on the main route priority over vehicles on the side route such as entrance to New Life Church and Barn Road shopping centre.
  3. Allow side street zebra crossings (Common in Europe)
  4. Change the law on assumed responsibility so that in event of an accident the responsibility is with the least vulnerable road user. (Common in Europe)

Points 3 and 4 are a government responsibility but the local authority has control over points 1 and 2.

Then we got hit by a pandemic and the government introduced a rule to allow local councils to make highway changes without consultation.

This was an opportunity to trial ideas that would encourage active travel, reduce the risk of catching Covid-19 and also help boost the flagging retail trade. We came up with a 5 point plan:

  1. Impose a 20mph speed limit in urban areas
  2. Widen some town centre pavements to enable social distancing
  3. Encourage cycling by using contraflows on one-way streets
  4. Allow shared use of walking and cycling in the town centre
  5. Reduce traffic entering the town centre, making the centre a more pleasant environment for pedestrians.

Reducing speed limits

Reducing urban speed limits reduces accidents and increases the take up of active travel. In Bristol for example, after introducing 20mph speed limits they found a 23{72c9b228f72c6947c353efd0c4fd57a9bb0b8871b19ca465d44d250e3e23d96f} increase in walking and a 20.5{72c9b228f72c6947c353efd0c4fd57a9bb0b8871b19ca465d44d250e3e23d96f} increase in cycling. In our own feedback we had one resident who supports this measure because it would mean fewer cats dying.

please cycle considerately

Encouraging cycling

‘Cyclists Dismount’ signs in our pedestrian precinct don’t really work, do they? There is a problem with some reckless cycling in Bridge Street but these signs have done little to prevent this problem. What these signs do is to put off responsible cyclists from using their cycle to get to the town centre.  Some cyclists are disabled with problems such as severe back pain, Parkinson’s disease or Dystonia and some people even ride tricycles. For these people it is very difficult to walk and push a cycle. We are not against a 5mph speed limit, and signs that say “cycle considerately” as in Derby, would be more appropriate. It would show that the council are taking an even-handed position on balancing the needs of pedestrians and cyclists whilst allowing responsible cyclists to access the town centre and beyond.

Traffic Calming

Studies have shown that by improving the town centre environment, more people spend more money in the shops. This is the basis of our proposal to reduce through traffic within the town centre streets of West Street, Antrobus Street, Mill street, Lawton Street and High Street. In normal times Mill Street is a positively unpleasant environment for the pedestrian. Traffic should be encouraged to use the major routes and not use the town centre roads as a shortcut. The Blueprint for Change document also describes how, by making our towns and cities walkable and cycleable, we improve the prosperity of the town centre.

Our proposals are meant to stimulate discussion. I know from our own feedback that our specific traffic reduction proposals are not popular with certain sections of the population. Perhaps a 10mph speed limit in Mill Street would be a more acceptable solution. Reducing speed limits may also have the effect of discouraging drivers from using the town centre as a shortcut.

I know that you too want the best for Congleton and I hope you will have sympathy with the spirit of our proposals. Please feel free to contact me anytime antbolding@outlook.com or 07734 509739.

Anthony Bolding

Active Travel Congleton

Did you know

The Prime Minster has requested that metro mayors should encourage cycling and walking after the lockdown.

The cost to the NHS for treating Type 2 diabetes in 2019 was £11.9Bn

According to a detailed study by University of Dresden in 2012.  The cost to every person in the UK for subsidising automotive transport is nearly 1000 euros per year. See page 36 for the results.

67{72c9b228f72c6947c353efd0c4fd57a9bb0b8871b19ca465d44d250e3e23d96f} of journeys made by car are less than 5 miles. 42{72c9b228f72c6947c353efd0c4fd57a9bb0b8871b19ca465d44d250e3e23d96f} are less than 2 miles and 24{72c9b228f72c6947c353efd0c4fd57a9bb0b8871b19ca465d44d250e3e23d96f} are less than 1 mile.

3 thoughts on “Emergency Measures survey results and background

  1. Hi, I read your letter in last week’s Chronicle, and have seen the analysis of responses to your survey above. It is clearly difficult to draw many conclusions from a (disappointingly) low number of respondents. As you will be aware from my earlier response I am against space sharing on Bridge Street, and I suggest that it might be useful if the shopkeepers on this street were asked for their views on whether such a change would actually generate more business for them. Regards.

  2. Thank you for your comment. Space sharing is never ideal, cyclists face it all the time on our roads. The reason we want to allow cycling in Bridge Street is the alternative would be to use Mountbatten Way which is a 30 mph dual carriageway and many people may find this an unsafe alternative and choose to drive which would mean more pollution and congestion. We have changed our proposal to include a sign saying “Pedestrians have priority” I hope this will be more acceptable to the community.
    Enabling people to cycle to the town centre is important because it reduces congestion and pollution and helps with health and wellbeing. it also brings more equality in our society. In fact if more people chose to cycle we will all feel the benefits in less pollution. Must be a good thing surely?

    1. Sadly the problem with having cyclists on bridge street is that you would turn a safe pedestrian street into an area of vehicle access. Cyclists using this route are unlikely to be visiting shops, otherwise there would be no problem dismounting and walking, and that would suggest a negative impact for business. Cyclists using it as a through route whilst pedestrians are walking between shops is a recipe for disaster and to be honest a pretty irresponsible suggestion. Surely the answer is simple, create an alternative route for cyclists passing through town. Market street, Stonehouse green, Brook side road and onto mill street would seem achievable with some minor adjustments to pavements, with advantage of giving a route back up to west road or to rood hill.

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