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Spokes East Kent Cycle Campaign Questionnaire

April 15, 2013 1:00 PM
By County Councillor Tim Prater in Response to Spokes East Kent Cycle Campaign Questionnaire

Bicycle StandsSpokes East Kent Cycle Campaign have sent a questionnaire to all local Kent County Council candidates asking their views on cycling locally and how they would seek to improve it. Their questions, and my answers, are below.

1. Widespread 20 mph speed limits are increasingly being implemented across the country in places that people live, work, and shop. They provide a cost-effective means to reducing the number and severity of casualties and make our streets more accessible to pedestrians and cyclists whilst having smoothing traffic flow. Kent County Council regularly receive requests for widespread 20mph limits to be implemented. Will you act to support the adoption of widespread 20mph limits? If so, which specific actions do you plan to take? If you do not support widespread 20mph limits please explain why not.

Where local residents support a 20mph limit in their area, I certainly back them.

The Liberal Democrat Group moved a motion to Kent County Council to shift their policy from a freeze on the creation of new 20mph zones to allowing such schemes with local support. http://kentlibdems.org.uk/en/article/2012/610999/lib-dem-delight-over-kent-20mph-zone-policy-shift

2. Would you actively pursue the creation of more dedicated walking and cycling routes away from motorised traffic such as the creation of a cycle routes to schools? If so please explain how you will support such schemes and, where possible, give examples of routes you would like to pursue. If not please explain why not.

In the last year, I have used Members Highway Fund money to support the upgrade and surfacing of a previously muddy and rutted off-road path that now allows a direct off-road link from J13 of the M20 / Cherry Garden Roundabout almost to Pent Valley School. This scheme will benefit both walkers and cyclists alike.

I have also been pleased that Shepway Cycle Forum have been succesful in getting grant funding for a signage scheme in my division, getting the support of local residents to back the scheme through the "You Decide" process used in Folkestone West for grant applications.

3. Almost all districts in East Kent now have adopted cycling strategies. Which actions will you take to ensure that the strategy for the area you represent is fully implemented? Where a cycling strategy has not yet been adopted which additional actions will you also take to help in the adoption of a cycling strategy?

I supported the Shepway Cycle Forum is driving to get the Shepway Cycle Strategy moved on and agreed after what seemed to be years of delay, and am pleased it has now been put in place.

My colleague Lynne Beaumont also recently moved a motion to Shepway District Council supporting a the Cycle Shepway campaign for the coastline cycleway from Folkestone to Dungeness, and from that meeting a Shepway District Councillor has now agreed to take responsibility for moving Cycling Strategy on in Shepway.

4. The introduction of the National Planning Policy Framework introduced core planning principles to "support a transition to a low carbon future" and "actively manage patterns of growth to make the fullest possible use of public transport, walking and cycling, and focus significant development in locations which are or can be made sustainable". How will you ensure that these principles are upheld in the area that you represent and how will you work to ensure that funds are pursued from developers to be spent in maximising the use of sustainable transport?

A big forthcoming development in Folkestone West will be the "barracks" development of part of the current MoD site, and it will be crucial to ensure that good cycle links are built into that development. With good scrutiny of plans and working with the developer, I will aim to see safe cycle routes created allowing easy access through the development and connecting in to the current footpath and cycle network such as it is. Equally, where facilities such as schools are planned, I'll push to ensure sustainable transport options are "built in" from day one, such as including safe cycle storage and safe access to the site by bike.

5. Would you support KCC funding of free adult cycle training in order to maximise the uptake of cycling in preference to private motor vehicle journeys?

If funds can be found then yes, and ideally it would be delivered through local cycle shops such as The Hub on Sandgate High Street, as that would also connect local people with their cycle shops. The Hub is a great example of a cycle shop that does more than just sell bikes: it promotes cycling locally with regular ride-outs and meet-ups for cyclists: the more of that that happens, the more people will join in.

Another key is that people can see the advantages of cycling. Easily available, secure, well-promoted and free cycling racks at stations and large work places will offer a real option compared with expensive car parking charges.

6. Do you support the provision of more cycle parking in public locations? If so, have you any suggestions of suitable locations and how would you pursue its introduction? If not, please explain why you don't support cycle parking.

I do. For example, a Folkestone Town Councillor until 2011, I worked to get more cycle parking installed on Cheriton High Street near the shops there, and welcomed the new cycle parking and improved access introduced at Folkestone West station a while ago.

As with the answer to my previous question, I believe easily available, secure, well-promoted and free cycling racks at stations and large work places will offer a real option compared with expensive car parking charges.

7. How will you liaise with your communities to ensure safe routes to schools and other community facilities and the increase in shared paths and cycle lanes?

Although I think we've made some steps forward in Folkestone West in the last few years, there is more to do.

Last year I investigated with Kent County Council whether there were any Cycle Strategy projects in Folkestone West that could be usefully funded through the Members Highways Fund, but there didn't seem to be any suitable schemes at the time. I would want to approach this again this year, including meeting up with the Cycle Forum and Shepway District Council's Highways team to look at all possibilities again.

8. Please let us know any other comments or ideas you would like to share in relation to cycling.

I was delighted to support the Cycle Shepway petition for the creation of a safe coastline cycleway from Folkestone to Dungeness, and that my colleague Lynne Beaumont moved and got support for a motion backing that cycleway at Shepway District Council. All Councils and bodies at all levels need to work together over the next few years to bring that into reality: there are hurdles, but together we can overcome them.