CTC Exeter - Newsletter - December 2006
Exeter Cycle Forum
The Exeter Cycle Forum was established
- to ensure communication between cyclists and Council representatives,
- to suggest how cycling might be improved in Exeter, and
- to comment on specific planning proposals affecting cyclists.
The Forum meets every 2 or 3 months and is attended by representatives of the CTC (me), Bicycle User Groups (BUGs) (e.g. Roy Russell for the EA BUG), the Police, School Teachers, Sustrans, BikeIT, and committed individuals (e.g. Mike Bowden) as well as the Exeter Cycling Officer and other representatives of the Planning and Maintenance Departments in the Council.
Cycle Demonstration Town
There is much activity in the city as Exeter was successfully selected as one of six Cycling Demonstration Towns. This secured around £3M of funding for cycling. Half the money is being used to develop ‘hard’ facilities such as the Exe Estuary Trail, and the remainder is being used for ‘soft’ activities – primarily for the training of 9-11 year old school children. Progress so far was reviewed by the Government in November and Exeter was awarded an A* rating and given an extra £ 100K.
Exe Estuary Trail
The Exe Estuary Trail is being constructed in eight sections. Work has already begun on the Exmouth-Lympstone section and planning consent is currently being sought for three more sections - one of which, the Turf Lock to Powderham section, will require a new bridge over the railway to replace the pedestrian crossing. 2007 should see substantial progress towards the completion of this valuable facility.
The Council are keen to monitor the uptake of cycling and for a number of years have operated 15 automatic cycle counters, 13 more have been installed this year and since 2001 cycle traffic in Exeter has increased 10% year on year, with the biggest increases being on the Trail alongside the canal.
Considerable efforts are being put into training of youngsters – primarily through the ‘BikeIt’ Scheme operated by Sustrans which aims that children should ‘make trips safely’. Exeter will also be a demonstration town for the new ‘Bike Ability’ scheme which awards children badges for achieving one of three levels of biking skill. The aim is that 20% of children will make at least one journey to school by bike each week. Prior to the scheme the level of cycle usage at some schools was around 2%.
With all these new developments the Forum has not forgotten the issues of maintenance of existing facilities and commenting on new planning proposals. For example at the most recent meeting the Forum agreed to write to the Planning Officer to encourage the new housing development on the old RN Stores in Topsham to incorporate a Topsham to Sowton cycle path.
If any of you have comments or suggestions on how cycling might be improved in Exeter and the surrounding area please contact Roy Russell, Mike Bowden or myself (Kirby James).