2. Overall strategy context
Currently there are a number of policy documents that contain information about, or are relevant to, our approach to cycling in South Gloucestershire as show in the figure below:
The role of this document is to set out what South Gloucestershire Council aims to achieve in cycling, bringing together best practice policy and guidance and applying it at a local level .The Council is committed to the aims and targets identified within this document, but, as the diagram above demonstrates, cycling is one of a number of important modes of sustainable transport, that together will contribute to achieving the overarching goals set out within the West of England Joint Local Transport Plan 3 (JLTP3). It will therefore be necessary to balance cycling priorities against competing demands from different modes.
Joint Local Transport Plan 3 Goals:
- reduce carbon emissions;
- support economic growth;
- promote accessibility;
- contribute to better safety, security and health;
- improve quality of life and a healthy natural environment.
National Planning Policy Framework (NPPF)
Paragraphs 29-41 of the NPPF establish the requirements for promoting sustainable transport by local authorities and within new developments. Our Cycling Strategy meets these requirements:
- Promotes sustainable development
- Contributes to wider sustainability and health objectives
- Helps to gives people a real choice about how they travel
- Supports the reduction in greenhouse gases and reduce traffic congestion
- Works with neighbouring authorities to provide strong cycling links
- Ensures the promotion of cycling facilities within new development that tie in with the existing and planned cycle network.
- Seeks to maximise the potential uptake in sustainable transport especially cycling
- Promotes safe and secure layouts which minimise conflicts between traffic and cyclists, avoids street clutter and where appropriate encourages home zones and other innovative measures
Opportunities and Challenges for South Gloucestershire
- A number of large scale new neighbourhood developments are planned across South Gloucestershire in the next 10-15 years, providing a significant opportunity to work with developers in order to deliver a well-connected cycle network that provides for the needs of both residents of the new neighbourhoods, and for commuter and leisure cyclists passing through them.
- The large South Gloucestershire-Bristol urban area means long commuter journeys are common. It is important that our cycle routes allow people to travel efficiently from A-B and integrate well with public transport.
- The dominance of the car is a major challenge facing South Gloucestershire which can experience severe traffic congestion at peak times. By providing better cycling routes we aim to provide a realistic alternative to the private car.
- South Gloucestershire is made up of a large proportion of rural areas, which for many people means relying on their car for transportation. We recognise that we cannot provide a cycle path along every country road, however, we aim to encourage cycling as a realistic option in rural areas.
We believe that cycling can be built into everyone’s daily routine, and by making a commute to work or trip to the shops into a physical activity, South Gloucestershire will become a healthier place. Physical activity is an effective means of helping to prevent the development of heart disease, type 2 diabetes, hypertension, obesity, dementia and other mental health conditions. Supporting people to become a bit more active is where the biggest health gains can be made. Giving people the opportunity to cycle, will help them gain many of the benefits that being active can bring, whatever their age or ability.
This Cycling Strategy document will be the first point of reference for “all things” cycling in South Gloucestershire. The Strategy brings together all of the Council’s existing cycle related policies into one place and makes clear what standards are expected for new cycling schemes and infrastructure.
South Gloucestershire comprises a mixture of urban areas, market towns and rural countryside and villages. One of the Council’s key objectives is to help create sustainable communities that will stand the test of time, where people will want to live and work. Cycling is a big part of this.
South Gloucestershire has close links with the greater West of England area, particularly in terms of transport with neighbouring Bristol City. Over reliance on the car is resulting in traffic congestion and poor air quality, and making our streets less attractive places to be.
South Gloucestershire Travel to Work Survey 2015 has shown that a large proportion of commuters are considering a change to cycling in the next six months. There is a real opportunity to boost cycling numbers, improve the impact on communities through reduced congestion and air pollution and creating a healthier population.
From those surveyed who are considering a change:
- 58% of 795 solo car drivers considering a change to cycling in the next six months
- 46% of 167 car sharers were thinking of taking up cycling
- 73% of 26 motorcyclists or scooter users were thinking of taking up cycling
- 50% of 83 pedestrians were thinking of switching to cycling
According to 2011 census data, in South Gloucestershire cycling accounts for 3.9% of journeys to work. This is above the National average of 2.8%, providing an encouraging base upon which to build, and offering even greater potential to increase the proportion of journeys made by bike. 57% of car trips in the West of England region are under 5 miles and therefore have the potential to be cycled.
An innovative Cycling City Ambition Fund scheme has provided a straight through’ North-South crossing of the A4174 Ring Road for cycle traffic. The crossing which connects Bristol Road to the well-used Ring Road Cycle Path, part of the Cycle Trunk route, is separate from the adjacent provision for pedestrians and allows cycle traffic to cross the Ring Road in a single phase, thereby reducing delays for cyclists. The new layout significantly improves a difficult crossing which had been highlighted by users as a constraint to increasing use of this route, providing an important link to the employment areas and educational establishments around the ring road, for the local communities at Hambrook and Winterbourne.
New layout at Hambrook: