Come on the streets with active travel

Last weekend’s door-knocking in Shipley about active travel was very successful – many people were in and grateful for being pointed to the current consultation to stop rat-running and encourage walking and cycling. Around 60 signed up to keep in touch with Living Streets and with BSTA. Thanks for all who took part and especially Will’s organisation from Living Streets. We made good use of the new BSTA flyer.

To make the most of the consultation on Saltaire and Shipley which ends on 17th August, can you join us to do some door-knocking this coming weekend on Saturday 14th between 1 and 4 and Sunday 15th also between 1 and 4?

On Saturday we’ll meet in the car park on Saltaire Road/Exhibition Road, BD18 3JN. If you come later than 1pm then ring Ludi on 07747 565273 to find out where we are. The area Bradford Council are looking at includes Wycliffe so we’ll visit Park Street, Elliot Street and Wycliffe Road and Belmont Terrace which are used as short cuts for through traffic.

On Sunday we’ll knock on doors in Frizinghall. Although the consultation on the Active Travel Neighbourhood in Frizinghall is just finished, it will be good to raise awareness about the issues and begin to sign people up there who are concerned about car-dominance in travel. We’ll meet at 1pm at the top of Shipley Fields Road, BD18 3BL. Again, if you are later than 1pm, ring Ludi on 07747 565273 to find out where we are.

All welcome.

Thank you! If you haven’t commented on the Shipley Active Travel network you can do so here until 17th August: https://activetravelbradford.commonplace.is/proposals/have-your-say

Best wishes, Ludi

Champions

Will you be a Champion of less traffic, better health and taking seriously the climate emergency?

Following a successful strategy meeting in early July, Bradford-Shipley Travel Alliance is growing its activities with Champions in the following nine areas:

  • Social media and publicity
  • Engagement with politicians
  • Health matters including Born in Bradford and GPs
  • Traffic flows, speeds, composition
  • Air qualityActive Travel
  • Schools and education
  • Engagement with businesses
  • Finance and fundraising
  • We are drawing up plans for the next 6 months, to influence the detailed plans for the Bradford-Shipley road scheme, and to engage with them when published for consultation in 2022. Thanks go to those who are already preparing campaign plans, we do need more help.

    Appeal: As we write we need especially a Champion to develop our social media reach and another to lead a concerted effort to reach politicians. If you can help with these or any of the other areas listed above, please get in touch with Ludi at admin@bsta.org.uk, and we’ll welcome you on board with all the support you may want. Please get in touch now, and certainly by 2nd August, as we will be discussing ideas and plans on 18th August.

    New reports on roads and climate

    Led by a cross-party panel, the final report of the Institute of Public Policy Research’s Environment and Justice Commission was published in July. It insists on ‘six shifts’ to make the response to climate emergency an opportunity, done with and by people, fairly and taking a whole-society approach, treating climate not in isolation but with nature, with government taking leadership but giving responsibility locally. Summarising 4 citizens juries spread through the UK, and analyses of carbon emissions and much else, on transport the report says:

    “Transport decarbonisation plans must aim to make it possible to live a good life, wherever you are, without needing to own a car. This will mean that alternatives to the private car, including both public transport and shared mobility schemes, reach a level of convenience and affordability that makes them the obvious choice for personal travel for far more people than they do today.” (p99)

    Roads, Runways and Resistance is a very different read. Published this year, Steve Melia entertainingly runs the winding course of government road policy, the industrial road lobby, and resistance to road schemes from 1990 to the present. Scepticism in providing for forecasts of ever-increasing traffic is a streak that has run through all governments during that time, keeping road-building a hotly contested policy.

    Despite John Prescott’s 1997 promise ‘I will have failed if in five years there are not many more people using public transport and far fewer journeys by car’, the road lobby has always been powerful enough to keep policy confined to slowing traffic growth rather than putting a lid on it. The book’s final chapters chart the climate actions of recent years.

    Bradford-Shipley traffic scheme: new release of (old) information

    West Yorkshire Combined Authority have finally released to us the ‘Benefits Realisation Strategy and Monitoring Plan’ prepared for their traffic scheme between Bradford and Shipley in 2019. Although all the scheme details have been hidden and made unreadable, the list of aims and intended monitoring sadly reveals a lack of ambition on making a shift to traffic patterns that health and climate improvements demand.

    The document claims to “summarise the principal scheme objectives and related benefits, the proposed interventions, opportunities to maximise and lock-in the benefits, their measurement and ownership” (p3).

    The main objectives declared for the scheme (Table 3) are as follows:

    • “Increased capacity to a level which can accommodate the predicted demand from the residential and employment growth around the corridor
    • Reduce congestion and improve journey time reliability
    • Improve safety… with a particular focus on pedestrians and cyclists
    • To support … a modal shift from private cars
    • To improve air quality and environmental impacts”

    While welcoming the aims of safety and improved air quality, it is fair to ask how will the aims be achieved? Though every measure is blacked out, the ways of monitoring the impact of the scheme are listed.

    An initial concern is that the aims are not reflected in the ways the expected benefits will be measured (Table 4):

    • ‘Increased capacity’ has no quantitative target, simply ‘widened highway’.
    • ‘Modal shift from private cars’ has no target at all. Measurements will be made to reveal if there has been a change in walking, cycling and public transport, but no measurement or target of a shift to these away from private cars. WYCA has an aim from its climate emergency policy to reduce car journeys by between 21% and 38%, but there is no whiff of that realism here. 

    Bradford Council officers, who develop and implement the scheme on behalf of WYCA, have said that the objectives themselves are being further developed (Ref 16 in their June 2021 response to the Shipley Labour Party’s review of the scheme). It can only be hoped that the concerns of residents and Councillors will be taken on board. It would be better if we could have a conversation rather than rely on hope. Just for confirmation, Bradford-Shipley Travel Alliance is not party political and has support from community and environmental organisations as well as from several local branches of different political parties.

    The reason given by WYCA for hiding or ‘redacting’ the details is:

    “Redactions have been made to information specific to the scheme itself that is still under development. The data / information is changing frequently as options are developed, assessed and refined and it is therefore not appropriate to share these at this time. Evidence summarising the Full Business Case will be provided through further consultations and other statutory processes such as Planning Approval. … We are committed to openness and transparency however we also need to ensure the integrity of the development process is protected.”

    It seems clear that WYCA and Bradford Highways do not at present intend to collaborate with residents, schools and businesses affected by the scheme. Currently, it appears they intend to consult only on a finished scheme, “the Full Business Case”, not gaining residents’ inputs to the formulation of the scheme. It is our intention to intervene to change that process and influence the plans to make them better for health and climate.

    Active Travel Neighbourhoods – have your say on Saltaire and Frizinghall

    Bradford Council are consulting on measures to reduce through traffic in and near Saltaire and in Frizinghall (and Barkerend). The aim is to encourage walking and cycling – active travel.

    The consultation offers a map of the area and invites you to click on a place you think there is a problem. The problem might be speeding cars, rat-running through an area, parking, or anything that makes walking and cycling less attractive. You don’t have to suggest solutions, but you can if you think you know what would work: examples might be blocking a road at one end, speed bumps, one-way traffic, no-through-traffic signage, bus only stretches (bus gates), cycle or pedestrian only routes, lighting, information, training, maintenance, pedestrian seating or cycle parking, vehicle restrictions around schools, creation of walking or cycling groups, removal of steps or curbs, or whatever else you think would help. You can also read comments that have been made, and agree or disagree with them.

    Bradford-Shipley Travel Alliance thinks that increased traffic capacity on Canal/Valley Road would put additional traffic pressure throughout Shipley, Frizinghall and many places from Keighley to Tong, Baildon to Wyke. Along with many of our affiliates we welcome measures to make cycling and walking easier, and to reduce the need for the car to be the dominant way of travelling.

    Will Sanderson of Living Streets is encouraging residents to respond to this consultation, and educating residents about the impact of more traffic on the Bradford-Shipley route. Get in touch if you can join him knocking on doors on 7th and 8th August or any other time (admin@bsta.org.uk, or Will on 07970 654333).

    Government Transport Decarbonisation Plan

    Press release 15th July 2021, from Bradford-Shipley Travel Alliance

    The government’s plan to make transport climate-friendly has been described by a Bradford transport campaign as “too little too slow”.

    “The Transport Decarbonisation Plan will do nothing to reduce congestion nor provide health benefits as particulates emissions will not be reduced, indeed are likely to increase. It doesn’t address the need to reduce car traffic,” said Ludi Simpson from the Bradford-Shipley Travel Alliance.

    Published on Wednesday, the government plan aims to cut in half the transport carbon emissions from all transport by 2035. It says that local authorities will have to make carbon reductions a fundamental part of local transport planning.

    Ludi Simpson said “The targets won’t save us from the disastrous consequences of further man-made global warming. They are less than demanded by the Climate Change Commission which the government itself set up to advise it.’

    The campaign says that local government should be given more support to implement solutions to the climate emergency. It calls for major changes to the traffic scheme that plans to increase motor traffic on Canal and Valley Roads between Bradford and Shipley. It calls for support at www.bsta.org.uk.

    – – –

    Transport Decarbonisation Plan published 14/07/2021: www.gov.uk/government/publications/transport-decarbonisation-plan

    Bradford-Shipley Travel Alliance: www.bsta.org.uk

    Contacts for further information:

    Ludi Simpson: 07747 565273

    Suggest Our Strategy 13th July, 6.30-8.30 – stakeholders and alternative transport plans

    Who is this meeting aimed at? All BSTA supporters, who want to see a healthy and climate friendly outcome from the Bradford-Shipley road scheme. Chris Todd from Transport Action Network will facilitate this meeting, on Zoom. Please register here: https://zoom.us/meeting/register/tJUodeqsrD8vHdE3ccgI01L_WGsxUr6XMWb_

    Where do we want to be at the end of it? (a) To understand better how we can influence the road scheme. (b) To propose actions that are taken away to work on. (c) To make the most of the period up to early 2022, the expected time for the final formal consultation on the road’s business case.

    What will we cover in the workshop? (a)Who are the players (residents, councillors, business, media etc etc)? How to shift players with most interest to have more power/influence, and shift players with most power/influence to have more interest? (b) Create a timetable of decision points. What is a good rhythm of education and campaigning to best influence the scheme? (c) What are the key things that we need to win, drawn from Chris’s experience of other road campaigns.

    Please help us prepare for the meeting in these two ways:

    Add to the list of ‘players’ we might want to influence, here: https://tinyurl.com/BSTAplayers

    Add to the list of road improvements that you would like: https://tinyurl.com/BSTAimprovements

    WYCA correspondence, keeping aims ill-defined

    After an appeal, BSTA has received the ‘Benefits Realisation Strategy & Monitoring and Evaluation Plan’ for the road scheme between Bradford and Shipley. West Yorkshire Combined Authority (WYCA) sent it with all reference to specific ‘improvements’ blacked out because its planning is “still in the course of completion”. We can hope that this means the options for the road are being revised and that when published they will take into account health and climate concerns. They should include full publication and discussion of the carbon audit that WYCA plans to conduct on the scheme later this year.

    The objectives of the scheme stated in the document are first to increase road capacity but also “to support a more sustainable transport network and modal shift from private cars”. Sadly that ‘modal shift’ doesn’t get mentioned again and is not included as an outcome for monitoring. Only an increase in public transport and active travel (walking, cycling) are measured, not whether there is a shift away from cars. Nor is ‘model shift from private cars’ mentioned in the summary case for the scheme. Yet a minimum 21% shift away from car travel is necessary to achieve WYCA’s target of net zero carbon by 2038, a target that many say is not ambitious enough.

    The Bradford-Shipley road scheme was conceived a decade ago to support new housing and employment in the Canal Road / Valley Road area. We do need people-centred jobs and housing, that don’t require more cars on the road.  It means implementing the Council’s policies in favour of a shift to other forms of transport, and to reduce car traffic as part of avoiding climate catastrophe. It means providing car-share schemes and public transport along the valley and insisting on housing with low car density, not only in the valley but across the District.

    From our affiliates: Extinction Rebellion

    I am writing this in response to Bradford Councils proposal to expand Canal Road into a four lane road.

    Despite declaring a climate emergency in 2019, the Council seems incapable of acting in a way commensurate with the climate facts. 2020 was the hottest year since records began. Nineteen of the warmest years have occurred since 2000, with the exception of 1998. The year 2020 tied with 2016 for the warmest year on record since record-keeping began in 1880 (source: NASA/GISS).

    We already have illegal levels of dirty air on the route of the A657 as it passes through Saltaire and air pollution at many other locations in the district. Every day tens of thousands of vehicles spew noxious fumes affecting the health of citizens and in particular schoolchildren whose schools are sited along our roads. 191 people every year die in the Bradford District because of toxic air.

    Research since the 70’s has highlighted the fact that more roads bring more traffic. If you make it easier to drive, more people will drive.

    How ironic when back in the 1850’s Titus Salt built Saltaire to escape Bradford’s pollution!

    We need a fundamental shift in transport policies away from endless road building to a huge increase in the provision of affordable, and clean air friendly, public transport. Active travel needs to be encouraged and funded to tackle fumes, congestion, public health crises like obesity, asthma, diabetes and heart disease. Encouraging the positive benefits of quieter streets, clean air, more birdsong and nature; streets for people not cars.

    A recent Dutch study (Cycling Embassy of Denmark) found that, in terms of socio-economic costs, cars cost 79 cents (with fuel, parking, road building, ill health) and cycling gains 72 cents (with health and climate benefits).

    In terms of building infrastructure for the future for every 1Km of highway built you could provide 100Km of cycle ways. (Manuel Calvo, Seville bicycle way architect)

    Cars are the least space-efficient way of moving people and goods around – a three-metre wide lane can move 700 to 1,100 people per hour in cars, whereas for bicycles and walking this increases from 2,000 to 6,500.  There are also multiple city case studies, such as the construction of Cycle Superhighways in London, which show that changing car space to bicycle space does not adversely affect car travel times.

    The truth is giving more road space to bicycles and pedestrians does not make traffic worse and quieter, safer streets can increase the footfall in the city centre, as most other cities have discovered.

    During lockdown Gov figures show cycling increased by 380% and other means of traffic dropped 90%. Cycling turns out to be a cheap and fast solution to our city problems of toxic air and congestion.

    It followed unprecedented levels of walking and cycling seen across the UK during the pandemic and an attempt to encourage people to make healthier travel choices and to choose alternatives to public transport as they started to return to work.

    The £250m emergency active travel fund was the first stage of a £2bn investment promised to boost greener, active travel.

    What did the transport secretary say? Transport Secretary Grant Shapps said: “With public transport’s capacity severely restricted at this time, our trains and buses could become overcrowded and our roads gridlocked – holding up emergency services, critical workers and vital supplies.

    “We know cars will continue to remain vital for many, but as we look to the future we must build a better country with greener travel habits, cleaner air and healthier communities.”

    I recognise that politicians only have a four year ‘lifespan’, they need to get re elected and don’t want to be perceived as unfairly demonising car owners. But if we make changes now we will save so much more than money in the long run. We will save lives and create a city that people want to live in.

    If Bradford Council are serious about their Climate Emergency and their commitment to Clean Air and a decarbonised transport system in our district they must instigate a Citizens Assembly on Climate Change. Let the people learn about the issues, debate the solutions and give them a mandate to instigate the radical solutions necessary to benefit us all.

    Paul McHugh, Extinction Rebellion Bradford