A Better Medway with Space for Cycling?

An update to my post, ‘A Space for Cycling in Medway‘.  I received a further reply via my ward councillor yesterday…

Dear Councillor Turpin

I refer to Mr Turner’s e-mail of 8th May where he makes a number of excellent points and, for many of us, is ‘pushing at an open door’. I believe that a number of his ideas are contained in the attached ‘Cycling Action Plan’ which has now been formally adopted. With particular reference to his comments contained in his item 4, it would require an Act of Parliament to allow cycling through the Medway Tunnel and some significant engineering to protect cyclists from passing HGVs, a risk which is exacerbated by the constraints within the Tunnel. However, as an alternative, we are working with the local bus operator, Nu-Venture Coaches, to accommodate bikes within 3 of their buses that provide services through there, hopefully, by the end of the year.Whilst this Action Plan should give us the backing to deliver a programme of high quality, attractive cycle routes and initiatives, I do recognise, however, that some Councillors are not necessarily fully supportive of all the objectives contained within. I would hope that they could be persuaded and resasurred particularly because we have already implemented a number of routes which are performing well. To illustrate that, I attach data from some sample sites across Medway which shows cycle usage levels and how they have grown since 2009;- Rochester Bridge; July 2009, 6820; July 2010, 8249; July 2011, 7295; July 2012, 10784. (% increase 2009 – 2012 = 58%)- Strood, Castle View (A2, near Gravesend Road); July 2009, 2428; July 2010, 2415; July 2011, 2469; July 2012, 3357 (% increase 2009 – 2012 = 38%)

– Chatham, Dock Road; July 2009, 4027; July 2010, 4759; July 2011, 5097, July 2012, 5587 (% increase 2009 – 2012 = 39%)

– Strood, Canal Road/Riverside; April 2011, 3356; July 2012, 4099 (% increase of 22%) (New route only opened in August 2011 and the number of cyclists using the route prior to that was about one third of the 2011 figure)

– Rainham, Sovereign Boulevard (A2); July 2009, 6001; July 2010, 6569; July 2011, 6283; July 2012, 7706. (% increase 2009 – 2102 = 28%)

Overall cycling numbers in Medway are up 12.1% in 2011/12 compared to 2010/11.

Please let me know if you require any further information.


David Bond | Transport Operations Manager
Integrated Transport

Very encouraging to read that the Provisional Cycling Action Plan for 2014 to 2017 I referred to in my previous post has now been approved. The plan was not attached to the email forwarded to me. No links to the approved plan on the councils website yet. If I get a copy I’ll update this post and link to it.

Searching for that did though turn up this letter to David from Peter Jones, CBE, Chair, South East Local Enterprise Partnership supporting Medway’s application to the Local Sustainable Transport Fund (LSTF) for £163,000 which will in part be used for the bicycle bus initiative David mentions.

I echo David’s words and his hope that those councillors who are not fully supportive of the Cycling Action Plan can indeed be persuaded. I do wonder what the objections are. If I can find out who objects to what and why I’ll be sure to write a post about that to.

It would seem odd wouldn’t it that given the reported increase in number of people cycling in Medway why any councillor would not support initiatives that set out to create safer and more accessible ways to do so? It certainly seems to counter the work of Medway Council’s health improvement team who say they working throughout Medway to help local people make healthy lifestyle choices.

As a foot note I contacted the leader of the Labour Party in Medway via Twitter to ask what his parties position was on this. He asked me to drop him an email, ‘so I can send you a reply which is more than 140 characters’. That was on the 13th May. Not had a reply yet but I guess it’s only been a week or so since I asked.