RBC Winter 2021 Report

Campaigns

After a quiet time since meetings in August, the Cycle Forum took place in November (see below), and the CAST meeting is due in December. I’m not aware of any recent infrastructure improvements for cyclists in Reading, but the major road re-surfacing programme has certainly improved the cycle-ability of many roads.

Cycle Forum

A Cycle Forum via Zoom was held on 17 November with three main issues being discussed: the Shinfield Road Tranche 2 scheme; the Cycle Hub; and the ongoing Traffic Management Schemes Requested list.

Active Travel Cycle Schemes – Tranche 2

We were talked through the Shinfield Road proposals with questions being raised and answered.  See details on https://images.reading.gov.uk/2021/10/70080223-WSP-X-DR-HI-0100.pdf.

There had been a scheme display at the University on the previous day where the Council had also received feedback. In general, the scheme was welcomed, although how many cyclists it will attract as opposed to the parallel quiet road of Northcourt Avenue will be interesting to see.

The scheme will include mainly segregated one-way cycling surfaces, in accordance with DfT LTN 1/20 guidance. Low kerbs between cyclists and motor traffic, and also between pedestrians are proposed. Designation of the route as ‘segregated cycle lanes’, with clear marking and coloured surfacing, was suggested by RCC to ensure safe legal continuity at side-road junctions.

The route joins the main carriageway at signal-controlled junctions, where cyclists’ early release is to be included, giving cyclists a 5-second start on motor traffic from the 5m deep advanced cycle stop-line.

The problem of cyclists heading from the University to Redlands Road was discussed with the likelihood that cyclists would use the northern footway rather than try the unprotected (by island) right-turn out.

A two-way track on the University side and/or an extra gate out to help access to Redlands Road is desirable, otherwise cycling on the footway is likely to occur.

A 20mph limit at the eastern end would help cyclists and pedestrians in the vicinity of the shops.

Tranche 1 Schemes

Improvements to the Tranche 1 Active Travel schemes are being considered by the Council, so let them and us know of any changes that you want. Sidmouth Street including the cycle route has been resurfaced recently as part of RBC’s resurfacing programme.

Tranche 3 Schemes

The Council is also bidding for funding for the Bath Road/Castle Hill scheme and seems to be hopeful for DfT funding. This is the route that was prioritised by Reading Cycle Campaign.

Schemes Requested List

A list of mainly cycling and pedestrian schemes that have been requested by RCC and others is held and updated by the Council. This list is to be used when considering planning applications (CIF – Common Infrastructure Fund) and other Council works.

Unfortunately, many of our requests have been buried in earlier versions of this list, including the simple issue of correcting cycle signing in the town centre (waiting for six years?)!  Let’s hope that the list is used and some of the priorities and simpler requests can be carried out.

Cycle Hub

The Council is still investigating sites for the proposed Cycle Hub, a secure cycle parking facility in the town centre.

A location in the Broad Street Mall area is most likely, with funding of £125k from the government’s Capability Fund available this financial year.  The Fund is also financing an Active Travel Officer and the Tranche 1 improvements.

CAST (Cleaner Air and Safer Transport)

The next CAST meeting is due in early December.  The Shinfield Road scheme will be on the agenda again.

With COP26 and the Climate Emergency it would be good to see some real commitment and change in Reading to improve cycling conditions.

John Lee
RBC Coordinator for RCC

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