In August of 2022 all local authorities in England were asked to provide a self-assessment to Active Travel England to update on their activities relating to active travel and the government Gear Change initiative. Of particular interest is the new guidance on cycle schemes, LTN 1/20. There was no requirement for these forms to be made public, however following a FOI request from the campaign CoYC did release their answers which can be found in an earlier blog post. Campaign member Jamie has looked over their response and given us his thoughts on one question in particular. Question 13…
There are many in the cycle campaign who are frustrated by the lack of progress on cycling and this is illustrated by the disastrous figures on cycling since 2014. There are signs of improvement, but it is essential that we start with a clean slate and York stops pretending it is some sort of cycling city exemplar. The ATE self-assessment seemed an excellent place to start. Sadly this opportunity has not been taken. There are many issues that can be drawn out of this response, but for brevity I will focus on just one: Question 13 is “Since the publication of LTN 1/20 guidance, have you installed or proposed any new infrastructure which is not LTN 1/20 compliant?”. City of York Councils unambiguous response: “No”.
LTN 1/20 was published in July 2020. So to objectively assess this response, I looked at every report at the transport executive decision sessions since July 2020 and searched for the term “cycling” or “cycle”, and, if a hit was found, I then searched it for “guidance” or “LTN”, and attempted to discover if the scheme was compliant or not, noting that ignorance is no defence. There is of course some ambiguity when schemes are initiated prior to new guidance, but no such ambiguity is present in the response. I found 19 instances of schemes failing to take into account LTN 1/20, to greater or lesser degrees. The complete list can be found at the end of this blog, but I want to highlight a few.
I became originally frustrated by this due to the scheme called Lord Deramore’s Primary School Safety Zone (Lord Deramore’s Primary School Safety Zone PDF 238 KB). The thrust of this scheme is understandable, but it was never reviewed against the new guidance before implementing and it actually made cycling provision worse. My battle against this is documented here: https://www.whatdotheyknow.com/request/cycleway_transfer_to_carriageway#incoming-1746846. This was implemented after July 2020 and yet the council answered “no” to Q13?
The Burton Stone Lane scheme is interesting as the council itself raised the point that the speed cushions were not LTN 1/20 compliant but it was decided to implement anyway, citing clashing guidance (with LTN 1/07). And yet the council answered “no” to Q13?
The Tadcaster Road scheme details lengthy costing and width restriction reasons why LTN 1/20 standards could not be achieved, at multiple instances. Whilst the choices for the scheme are well argued, whether one agree’s with them or not, the council answered “no” to Q13?
The Barbican scheme is assessed against the Junction Assessment Tool of LTN 1/20 and found to fail, even if it represents an improvement over the previous infrastructure. And yet the council answered “no” to Q13?
The Piccadilly scheme presented 4 options, with options A, B, C explicitly identified as LTN 1/20 non compliant. Options B and C were ultimately chosen, and yet the council answered “no” to Q13.
What led to officers providing false information to a government executive agency? And what does it mean for the remainder of the responses provided?
- October 2020, Item 29: Emergency Active Travel Fund
Q45, appear to invoke reasons for not using LTN 1/20
- November 2020, Item 33: Scarborough Bridge to Bootham Park Cycle Route Improvements
LTN mentioned once, about path widths (paragraph 50) but no reference is made elsewhere and there is no attempt to assess against JAT or CLoS.
- November 2020, Item 34: TSAR Traffic Signal Refurbishment – Wigginton Road / Crichton Avenue YK2221
- December 2020, Item 41: TSAR Traffic Signal Refurbishment – Clifton Moorgate / Hurricane Way YK2239
Paragraph 17 notes current guidance, but no assessment against LTN 1/20 is done.
- Jan 2021, Item 49: TSAR Traffic Signal Refurbishment – Clifton Moorgate / Hurricane Way YK2239
- Jan 2021, Item 51: Haxby Road, New Earswick – Triple Cushion Replacement Trial
“layout closer in line with LTN 1/20”
- Jan 2021, Item 55: Active Travel Fund (ATF) Programme
The strategic cycle schemes prioritisation makes no reference to LTN 1/20 but was endorsed
- May 2021, Item 83: York’s Local Transport Plan
Amazingly neither Gear Change nor LTN 1/20 are mentioned at all in this document
- May 2021, Item 86: TSAR Junction Alterations – Gillygate/Bootham/St Leonards Place
“Do Nothing” – no LTN compliant option was offered
- May 2021, Item 87: Cycle Route Improvements (Nunnery Lane-Nunthorpe Grove)
No reference to LTN 1/20
- June 2021, Item 5: Footstreets Traffic Regulation Order Proposals
- Sept 2021, Item 23: Delivery Plan for Active Travel Fund Programme
Appears to set out reasons why LTN 1/20 will only be selectively applied.
- October 2021, Item 29: Tadcaster Road Sustainable Modes Improvement Scheme
Paragraphs 14-16 indicate reasons for non compliance with LTN 1/20.
- Nov 2021, Item 34: Coppergate Temporary Traffic Regulation Order Proposal
LTN 1/20 appear not to have been consulted
- Jan 2022, Item 39: Burton Stone Lane – Ward Committee Scheme – Traffic Calming Improvements
Para 15 shows the council explicitly implemented a scheme not compliant with LTN 1/20
- Jan 2022, Item 40: Tadcaster Road Sustainable Transport Scheme – further detail
Non LTN 1/20 compliant
- Mar 2022, Item 54: Coppergate Temporary Traffic Regulation Order
- April 2022, Item 64: TSAR Traffic Signal Refurbishment – Barbican Road/Paragon Street
Page 59 indicated this scheme fails JAT, scoring 38%
- May 2022, Item 71: Piccadilly city living neighbourhood – Highway changes
Option B and C chosen, explicitly LTN 1/20 failing, and not Option D.