WoBC has a consultation on transport within the Borough. It’s open until 31 December, so please fill it in (www.wokingham.gov.uk/news-and-consultation/consultation-and-having-your-say/current-consultations).
The survey concentrates on the inconvenience that congestion causes to people who drive, but there’s the opportunity to support more sustainable methods of transport too.
WoBC took over responsibility for enforcing parking regulations in the Borough at the start of October. This is an opportunity to reduce dangerous and inconvenient parking, so please contact WoBC if you regularly encounter cars blocking cycle ways or entrances. There’s no obvious form on the website so I suggest phoning them.
An RCC member has raised problems with the new ‘greenway’ from Finchampstead to the Arborfield Green housing development. Part of the greenway near Bohunt School is ‘Coxwell Gravel’ (compacted gravel) which some people think looks nicer than tarmac.
My experience of this on routes such as the Downs Link is that it becomes muddy after a few years, so it’s OK for leisure routes, but not for one expecting all-year-round use such as the greenway.
I hope this is only a temporary surface while the development is being built, but I will ask for it to be avoided in future routes; tarmac coated with gravel looks just as good.
The second issue is that there’s a kissing gate and horse-stile at Commonfield Lane. To get through this you need to get off your bike and it is impassable with a child trailer or a trike.
I asked WoBC to address this, but they are concerned about vehicles of travellers and trail riders getting through, which are claimed to be an issue in the area.
Unfortunately, this means the greenway is unusable by people with cycle trailers. I wonder whether the design obstructs access for those in wheelchairs and therefore may not be compliant with disability discrimination legislation, but I will leave that to other organisations.
WoBC has published an outline study for a third road bridge over the Thames in Reading (http://news.wokingham.gov.uk/news/new-thames-crossing-strategic-outline-business-case/).
Cycle facilities in the proposed design are minimal rather than ambitious, with what appears to be shared-use cycle/foot ways rather than dedicated facilities. The study predicts reductions in traffic in central Reading and in Sonning-on- Thames, with only small increases in traffic in rural South Oxfordshire.
However, there were unfavourable initial reactions from district Councillors in South Oxfordshire and John Howell (MP for Henley), and the total cost of the third bridge would be around £100 million with no obvious sources of that money, so this scheme is unlikely to happen for many years.
If it does, we need to make sure that the bridge caters better for people who cycle, and that the reduction in traffic on Sonning Bridge, Caversham Bridge and Reading Bridge leads to better provision on them for people who cycle.
WoBC campaigner for RCC