Suffolk Local Cycling and Walking Improvement Plan

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Leo Borwick

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Apr 5, 2021, 12:28:33 PM4/5/21
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Suffolk County Council have published a new version of their draft LCWIP on their website

I have commented as below, but would be happy to pass on any comments others may have, or you can comment on specific aspects on their site via the "your say" section.

Thanks,

Leo



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Dear Paul,

Thank you for sending us this.  It looks good and you have done well to keep it short and readable.  I do though have a few specific comments and a couple of more general ones. 

Specifics first:
P. 6 - Benefits: I suggest that you include reduced street crime, from having more "eyes on the street", as there is now evidence of this from schemes in London (see The Impact of Introducing a Low Traffic Neighbourhood on Street Crime, in Waltham Forest, London | Published in Findings (findingspress.org));

p.6 - Air Quality: I suggest you add some more local stats, as these are available (e.g. 40 out of 41 km squares in Ipswich (98%) exceed the WHO recommended PM2.5 level of 10ug/m3);

p.8 - final sentence in column 1 has a typo ("this") and seems a bit muddled

p.13 - This section seems to repeat things that have already been said.

More generally, my first comment would be that the methodology lacks a clear anchorage in a high level goal.  So,whilst we can all agree about the benefits on offer from active travel, as you set them out, there is no indication of what we need to achieve in regard to these.  I think the obvious one is carbon emissions, but the same applies to air pollution, health, road deaths and injuries and so on.  Whilst I would accept that this plan forms only one part of Suffolk's response to the challenge of meeting the target of carbon-neutrality by 2030, it is significant enough that we need to know how it fits in what the target is and, importantly, how much mode shift is needed to meet that target. 

It is debatable whether you could realistically assess and measure such targets on a route-by-route basis.  However, I think you could and should try to do it at a network level.  As a starting point, the PCT provides a range of what they call "scenarios" that yield varying levels of modal shift (Census 2011, Go Dutch, e-bikes,etc.).  These give a scaling for how much mode shift you might get (y-axis), against a rather subjective x-axis.  They also quantify what these scenarios might mean for carbon emissions. I don't think it is unrealistic to try to specify what the points on their x-axis look like in terms of the active travel network,both in general and by application to specific routes and areas.  You then know what level of interventions is necessary and can measure progress towards the goals. On the other hand, if you don't do this, the almost inevitable consequence is that the programme will lack ambition and you will have little in the way of ammunition when it comes to defending the plan when the going gets tough, which it will.  Positive BCAs are never enough.

My second general point is that the programme focuses almost entirely on routes, which of course are an essential component, along with training, publicity, cycle parking and so on.  However, I think the routes need to be complemented with area-focussed initiatives - LTNs, if you prefer.  As you know, we have given some thought to this, both in terms of what is already out there and can be built upon and also where more needs to be done. But generally, I would expect that people would only be persuaded to make substantial changes in their behaviour if they can meet most of their day-to-day travel needs on foot or by bike, rather than (or in addition to) just having good commuting routes, which is what the PCT deals with.  This means making a range of systematic changes in and around specific areas to cut out through traffic, deal with pavement parking, dangerous junctions and so on and ensure accessibility to a range of local facilities.

I hope this helps and I am happy, as always, to explain and discuss.

Leo
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