Monday, November 15, 2010

Cycle Route Signage - Soar Valley Scheme

It sounds as if this Scheme will affect all of us who cover stretches of Routes 6 and 48 within the northern Soar Valley, i.e. from Leicester City Centre to Loughborough.

The following is preliminary and I have no detail to support it yet. Hence all the 'AIUI' ('as I understand it') comments below.

But it's pretty urgent, and, if I understood an announcement at a hurried meeting with the County Council correctly, concerns a complete overhaul of signage from Leic City Centre to Loughborough, basically along the river corridor, as part of the 6Cs Strategic GI project**. Most importantly, this project seems to have funding guaranteed available until end 2011, and the County Council is activating concept work on it right now, with physical completion by end 2011!

And the County Council is inviting involvement. They're setting up a consultative group to involve users like us, and are inviting participation. I guess the job will be to receive Council proposals for design, content, location of signage, look at these to see they meet Sustrans needs/desires, feed back comments to the Council, attend consultation group meetings ...... the usual stuff. Excellent experience! Council is also inviting ideas up front on signage needs - as of NOW. I submitted recently to the Council a suggestion for signage for NCN6 around Birstall Lock, and, AIUI, this has gone straight into the Soar Valley Scheme melting pot - but that only covers a tiny part the stretch covered by the Scheme, of course!

The tenor of the Soar Valley Scheme signing AIUI is as much about local features, attractions and useful places (like refreshments) as about geographical direction. So it will be nicely complementary to Sustrans objectives for signing.

When more information is available, I'll pass it to Rory, and/or to whomever else may like to be involved, and put a summary on the blog here.


** Never heard of it? Me neither! But I think this Scheme comes under the heading of 'Strategic Opportunities for Enhancing Connectivity of the Greenspace Network for Biodiversity' which is a sub-section in 'Green Infrastructure Strategy, Volume 5, Strategic GI Network for the Leicester Principal Urban Area and Sub-Regional Centres' published by 6Cs Green Infrastructure. 6Cs is a joint body of 'The Three Cities of Leicester, Derby and Nottingham and their surrounding Counties'. It's one of 29 areas nationally proposed under the Sustainable Communities Plan for significant growth, where the Government has invited local authorities and other partner organisations to bid for funding to help meet the aims of the Plan locally. You can read more at .

The important thing is 6Cs have made a successful bid re Soar Valley signage, and got the money!

Sunday, November 14, 2010

Connect2 - Watermead Park scheme: progress Nov. 2010; signage needs Route 48

See my earlier post describing the Watermead Park Connect2 Scheme

The following notes on progress were gleaned at the 11 November meeting of the Watermead Connect2 Steering Group. Suggested actions for Rangers are PURELY my own opinion, however, which I'm happy to discuss as any of you may wish.

Progress of works to November 2010 (see map below)
Virtually all the definite, funded jobs located within the green ellipse, i.e. within Watermead Park North, are complete. The main incomplete works there are lighting along the Thurmaston - Birstall causeway, and new entrance gates ('A-frame' by K barriers -see ) at Birstall and at the Park exit onto the Canal towpath just south of Wanlip Road, plus, of course, all the 'aspirational jobs'.

Current work (purple ellipse) proceeds to
  • improve access to the north end of the Park at Wanlip Road via a short stretch of the Canal towpath, and construct a new crossing of Wanlip Road
  • improve the towpath width and surface from the Hope & Anchor pub to Meadow Lane, Syston, and improve access from the towpath to Meadow Lane.
  • clear and restore to use the derelict eastern end of Meadow Lane up to Fosse Way, where a new crossing will follow next year.
It is planned to complete much of the link from Meadow Lane into Syston village centre by the end of March, 2011.

Remaining works - Cossington link
These comprise a replacement bridge for the towpath/cycle route over the Wreake, improvement of the towpath north of that to the next lock, replacement of the footpath leading thence to Syston Road by a cyclepath/footpath, and a crossing from the northern end of this to Platts Lane to give access to Cossington. Timing of these works, plus the 'aspirational' jobs is, in the current financial situation, uncertain.

Again, for further details, just email me.

Cycle-Route Signage: Ranger action urgent, IMO
Much of the ongoing/imminent Connect2work lies along NCN Route 48. The County Council has NOT - for reasons I don't know - provided new or even replacement signage during earlier Connect2 jobs - notably at Birstall Lock. I have therefore just submitted a detailed, but unfortunately retrospective, signage proposal re Route 6. I would suggest that the Ranger or Rangers looking after Route 48 Birstall - Syston get in touch with Ed McWilliam at County Hall ( immediately, to ask what's planned, and, if necessary, how best they could contribute to the detailed design of signage along the stretches of Route 48 which are being modified. A detailed submission of ideas, sign by sign, might be an approach. There is a possibility that such signage may be fundable from the 2011 Soar Valley Scheme , on which I'll add another posting soon, so be prepared for this response from the Council. But, whichever scheme it's provided via, they'd still need our ideas on WHAT signage is desirable.

Just my feelings: it the above is OTT, or beyond my remit, sorry in advance! :-)

Sustrans Connect2 - Watermead Park scheme

Just to summarise the Sustrans Connect2 - Watermead Park scheme:

1 Background
  • Sustrans won the £50million Big Lottery prize of 2007 with its Connect2 project.
  • Connect2 consists of ~70 separate schemes round the country, or which our local Watermead Park scheme is one.
  • £3/4 million is being put by Sustrans from the prize money into Watermead. It has to have matched funding from local sources.
  • Leicestershire County Council is acting as agent for raising the local funds, and for the construction work.
  • The Council and Sustrans are Partners in the scheme, but are consulting widely on content and procedure. Patrick Davis is involved at management level for Sustrans, and he and Keith Drury are members of the Connect2 Steering Group.

2 Scope
  • Our local Watermead park scheme itself consists of 31 separate jobs, ranging from path resurfacing to installation of new bridges and controlled road crossings.
  • The aim is not only to enhance routes for cycling, riding and walking in the Park, but also to improve access to it from the surrounding villages and create a through way for non-motorised commuters to Leicester from as far north as Cossington.
  • The 31 schemes are too detailed to show here, but Keith Drury will email descriptions for any local area, if you wish them
  • 10 of the 31 jobs are 'aspirational'. They will be included if Connect2 money and time permit, or if alternative funding can be found.
  • A very rough outline of the area covered by the scheme is shown below. There are a few more details at and press releases etc. you can find with Google - "Connect2 Watermead Park"

I've posted this basic summary, so I can update the Group on progress via further postings.

Thursday, September 30, 2010

SkyRide 2010

Excellent day from my viewpoint. The "Park & Ride hub" at King Lear Lake, Watermead run by the County Council plus volunteer Stewards functioned well (even after the gazebo was lost in a gust in THAT RAIN!). We stuffed all the freebie 'goodie-bags' with Sustrans literature, and talked cycling non-stop all morning to the hundreds of cyclists (we clocked 530) departing through Watermead and Birstall to join the main Ride at Belgrave.

This year, we accompanied scheduled groups of riders on the route into Belgrave. I went with 3 groups (did 23 miles on the day!!), the largest being way over 150 riders. This took over 15 minutes to squeeze through the bottleneck by the Showman's Park at Bath Street) - quite scary in places; it's a bad stretch of NCN Route 6. Need to look at that, especially the unsafe gate at the end.

Had a good choice of hi-vis to wear on the day - SkyRide bib or SkyRide 'Event Staff' or Sustrans. Opted to wear the Event Staff one, but used my usual Sustrans jacket taped over saddlebag as a Sustrans advert!! Raised the usual questions - "What is Sustrans ..... " :-(

Talked to lots of riders returning to Watermead in the afternoon (while drying out in the sun at Birstall, and giving out more Sustrans leaflets). Several 5-year-olds cycled the whole 6 miles in from and out to King Lear Lake, as well as (at least) once round the central course: very creditable. Very few unhappy faces and only 1 lost child incident - quickly cleared up. Yes, a very good day.

Monday, September 13, 2010

Sustrans at the Skyride

Volunteers manned our stall throughout the day at the second Skyride Leicester.  12,500 people were recorded as cycling on the day and a good many visited the stall.  Leaflets about Sustrans were distributed alongside materials and maps provided by the local councils.  Most requested and most sadly missed item was the Leicester Cycling Map - this has been 'in production' for a prolonged period.
I have e-mailed the City Council reporting how many requests we had on the Skyride day but am still awaiting a reply.  Please mail, phone or send a letter to support our requests.
We learnt alot during the day - not least that we need paper weights to hold down the leaflets in the wind that sprung up in the afternoon.
On the whole a successful day for Sustrans and the Skyride organisers.  How lovely to see an event like this come to our city.  You may like to follow this link to see news, pictures and videos of the ride.

Thursday, August 26, 2010

Signing on route 6

The plan to cycle and check the entire route through our area was rendered less necessary by the dedicated work of the local volunteer.  We did find some places however where we felt the need to add, or clean up a sign. 
Here Peter is cleaning up a sign in Watermead park that was also partially obscured by vegetation.

We came upon this sign that was hidden behind a cherry tree.  The owner of the house was adamant that he didn't want his tree lopped so we found another solution and hopefully kept a member of the public on our side.
the problem -

and the solution -

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

John Woodward completes renumbering of route 70 to NCN 50

With his two sons John has spent 4 days renumbering the route using about 220 route 50 stickers. Each sign needed cleaning and he even returned to a wobbly sign to cement it properly into the ground.
He also produced a 20 point document of required improvements to the existing signs which has been taken up by Patrick.

A huge amount of work by John.

Saturday, July 24, 2010

Meeting 26 April 2010

To kick start our blog here are the pictures from our meeting at the Friends Meeting house in April.

I hope I haven't left anyone out.