Romsey Cycle Hub has written to candidates standing in the forthcoming Hampshire County Council elections in the Romsey Town Division. We asked them what they will do for cyclists. Here are their responses ...
PS - We've also added an article for Romsey Rural Candidates.
Stuart Bannerman - Labour Party firstname.lastname@example.org
"It is important that cycle routes and cafe cycle parking facilities are developed further. It is equally important that existing dedicated cycle paths are properly maintained so that they are safe to use. I also think it should be an awful lot easier to take bikes on public transport, so that journeys can be undertaken using a combination of the two modes. This is especially true in an area like Test Valley, where public transport rarely fits the traveler's needs, and it is too easy to fall back on the car".
Mark Cooper - Liberal Democrats email@example.com
"I am an occasional cyclist and all my children cycled the roads of Romsey when they were youngsters, so I am very aware of the poor and limited provision for cyclists in Romsey.
Hampshire County Council and Test Valley Borough Council have cycling strategies but they are very limited in scope and ambition. There is, however, 'a sustainable thread' in their policies inasmuch as a proportion of Section 106 development money and CIL funds are earmarked for cycleway and footpath improvements. The need to make junctions safer for pedestrians and cyclists explains why traffic lights rather than roundabouts are employed, for example, at the relatively recent Cupernham Lane Junction and at the long overdue Braishfield Road junction.
It is unfortunate that all these schemes depend on more development which in turn generates more traffic and therefore more safety issues. If Hampshire is serious about sustainable transport it should put some of its tax revenue resource into cycling and walking and not just rely on developer funding. For example, HCC resources should be used to join up what is, at present, a very disjointed cycle network.
I strongly favour 'on-road' cycle lanes where there is capacity. The HCC habit of simply widening a footpath is not good enough, because cyclists are vulnerable at every cross-over. On-road cycle lanes would give the cyclist priority at cross-overs.
I have been campaigning, and will continue to do so, for a 20mph zone throughout Romsey Town Centre and on Romsey Housing Estates where there are relatively few entry points. Slower vehicles equal higher cycle and pedestrian safety. But both HCC and TVBC seen reluctant to bring in 20mph zones for fear of upsetting the car lobby.
I was happy to endorse the Romsey Future grant of £5,000 for improved cycle parking in the town.
In response to requests from local cyclists I also had commissioned a left turn for cyclists only into Middlebridge Street from the Romsey By-pass. Additionally, as part of the drafting team on the Borough Local Plan I have ensured that the new Lower Whitenap development, imposed on Romsey by Test Valley Borough Council, will generate new and better cycle links into the town."
Simon Hayes - Conservative Party firstname.lastname@example.org
"I would, as with any community or voluntary group, want to work in partnership with the Romsey Cycle Hub to understand and support the needs of cyclists in the Town. With an increase in cycling across the Town this relationship will become more important as time passes. It’s important that community groups have a voice to influence decision makers and in this case planners too. Your County Councillor is uniquely placed to do this.
Being a cyclist myself, potholes are perhaps the most frustrating and dangerous obstacle. I believe the main focus is on cars, not cyclists, when repairs are considered and done. Potholes close to the curb are as important as those centre lane; as is the general condition of cycle routes.
There’s a need to take cycle lanes more seriously and not just squeeze them in, and tick the box. Cycle lanes and dedicated cycle routes are an important part of an integrated transport system, but I fear are seen as the poor relation. I’d want to see increased awareness of this point and, for example, a good structure linked to and through the new Fishlake Nature Reserve.
More generally, there’s still a need for increased cycle parking throughout the Town. The upcoming environmental enhancement scheme for the Town centre is an opportunity to ensure improved cycle parking is included in the design. Although businesses are helping improve parking places, local authorities must support and enable. Again, with increased cyclists the demand will rise.
There’s a need to better educate young people on cycle safety, as we encourage them to cycle to school. The problem of a safe crossing point at Duttons Road has not been resolved. In my view, it’s a sufficiently difficult place to cross that it is of concern to parents and may put children off cycling to school, which is a great shame. It needs to be addressed as a matter of urgency and would be a priority if I were elected.
Finally, we need to encourage government to include awareness of cyclists more prominently in the driving test; but this is more of a campaign issue at national level than a specific Hampshire County Council election matter."