Calls for increased focus on cycling provision in Gloucestershire
A COUNCILLOR has urged Shire Hall bosses to take an "open-minded" approach to promoting cycling rather than "focusing on money".
Paul Hodgkinson (LD, Bourton-on-the-Water and Northleach) pointed out to Gloucestershire County Council that the proportion of commuting journeys made in the area by bike stayed at four per cent between 2001 and 2011.
He asked the authority to spell out how much money it spends on cycling infrastructure to boost take-up, as well as what is being done to promote the mode of transport so that Gloucestershire can catch up with the likes of Bristol and Oxford.
He was told the council "does not allocate specific funds to any particular form of transport".
Bring a friend to Yoga with Evelyn at 8pm on Wednesdays, and get...View details
Bring a friend to Evelyn’s “Yoga” class on Wednesdays at 8-9pm, and get your class half for only £3. Offer open to non-members. Contact Natasha on 07958 520042 for details.
Terms: Class running at Fitness4Less, Grosvenor terrace. Non-members welcome.
Valid until: Friday, January 31 2014
A written response from Councillor Vernon Smith (C, Tewkesbury East), cabinet member for highways and flood, said the authority spends "virtually all of the capital funds available to transport on essential maintenance and safety improvements".
"These improve road conditions for all road users, including cyclists," he said.
Mr Smith added he would be "interested to hear" where Mr Hodgkinson would get the money from to pay for any cycling proposals.
However, Mr Smith did point out the county's successful bid for £5 million from the Local Sustainable Transport Fund, some of which will be spent on cycling.
The authority is planning to spend £55,000 this year on cycle route signing and £22,000 on cycle parking stands.
Mr Smith also said the comparisons with Bristol, Oxford and Cambridge "aren't particularly useful" because they are "urban cities".
Mr Smith also reminded councillors that they can spend the £20,000 highways fix fund all members are allocated on cycle schemes in their divisions, should they choose to.
Mr Hodgkinson believes the county council should act as a "facilitator" to promote cycling.
He cited an example of a group he chairs in the Cotswolds which has created a safe mountain bike and walking path between Cirencester and North Cerney, built on people's time, not large amounts of cash.
He said: "It is extremely disappointing given the huge amount of interest in cycling in this country off the back of the Olympics and the Tour de France.
"It was a response that did not take into account other options that do not involve lots of money being spent.
"I am as mindful as anyone else about the need to save money. I am simply asking for people to be open-minded about thinking about other ways of promoting cycling that do not involve spending lots of pound notes."