Thursday, September 19, 2013

Leicester Cycle City Workshop - Wed 18 Sept 2013

Andy Salkeld kindly included discussion of my note " Re-use of the Glenfield Tunnel:  Launch of Scheme" on the agenda, so I attended the meeting.  Apart from Anna Scull, there was no other Sustrans representative, so mainly LCCG and CTC representatives and County Council present.

1     Re-use of the Glenfield Tunnel

The 'Launch of the Scheme' note summarised the aims and purposes of re-using Glenfield Tunnel.  It outlined the scope of work required, and the phases which this work would probably fall into.  I then listed the organisations who would be likely to participate in the first 'launch' phase of the re-use scheme, and drafted a list of what I see as the immediate first steps.  'Immediate', that is, if there is a will to progress the scheme from right now.

Why right now?
The urgency implied by the above seemed to me to stem from:-

In Leicester:

  • the current publicity and enthusiasm concerning the Tunnel itself, aroused by a series of local visits to the Tunnel organised by Leicestershire Industrial History Society and British Cycling.  Over 150 people took part in the former visits, with 50 more on the waiting list.  The visits will be repeated in early November.
  • Sir Peter Soulsby's mention in a TV interview outside the Tunnel, repeated in an interview published in the Leicester Mercury last week that it might be possible to re-open the Tunnel as a cycleway.  
  • The promotion by Leicester City Local Access Forum of the re-use of the Tunnel.

In Bath:

  • The completion of the Two Tunnels Greenway in April 2013, (see blog of 10 Apr 2014), bringing the prospect that the action group Two Tunnels Team who promoted the entire work of creation of the Greenway, including reopening of their two tunnels from initial concept through to first months of operation, and from whom any Leicester scheme organisers could learn so much, might close down, making their experiences much harder to learn.

The note is entirely from my viewpoint, and was therefore put out as a draft for others to comment/edit.  The aim of the note is to encourage formation of some action group in Leicester to take up the cause of re-use of the Tunnel.

Of those at the meeting, only Andy Salkeld and Mat and Anna Scull of LCCG had seen the note before the meeting, so I presented it verbally, without passing out more copies.

Views of the meeting
The consensus of the meeting was that re-use of the Tunnel may be a desirable aim, but should not be taken up with any emphasis at present.  There were fears that taking up this single and large scheme might detract from both funds and effort available for cycling schemes, to the detriment of smaller, more vital jobs.  Point was made also that cycling/pedestrian approach to two of the main employers of people west of the City - Glenfield Hospital and County Hall - would not be helped by the Tunnel, so the likely usage by commuters was doubted.

The idea was mooted, that rather than a Feasibility and Initial Costing Study aimed solely at re-use of the Tunnel, a review of all access to the City from the West be undertaken, of which Tunnel re-use would be only one strand.

Presumably this wider study will continue as an agenda item for the Workshop.  No plan for action on study discussed.

2     Cycling map of Leicester to be re-issued

Comments/requests for any changes to Andy Salkeld, preferably in form of marked up map scan.

3     Re-construction of Lancaster Road/University Road junction and entry to Peace Way

Concern about plans for this work as part of construction of new University Medical building on sports field.  Current plans for cycling routes untenable, according to University of Leicester BUG.

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