Notes on Transport Group meeting 12th June 2017

Present: Sue MV, Robin, Barry, Steve, Jon

We started off the meeting by looking at the text of the Loughborough & District Cycle Users’ Campaign Pedal Power article on cycle infrastructure funding and the Government’s Cycling and Walking Investment Strategy document. The conversation turned to cycle routes – both between towns and within  the town. Should we be focusing on the latter as the Strategy explicitly talks about aiming for short journeys to/from work and school or to/from other (public?) transport options as part of multi-modal longer journeys.

Robin suggested that running regularly tours of local cycle routes might be helpful, as it is sometimes difficult to find the start or end of cycle routes. Cycle maps can also be hard to read and difficult to match up to other mapping such as Google Maps or road atlases.

Robin said that in Bristol they have a scheme to help people learn to cycle safely on the roads. Sue said that Loughborough has had a similar scheme in the past, but that it may have lost its funding? If so, could Strategy money be used by the council to reintroduce it? Feeling safe and confident on a bike is a big plus to wider use – Barry said that the introduction of cycle paths had made him feel liberated.

Robin said that cycle route signage is often small and difficult to spot.  Both it and cycle maps could really do with road names on them so that they are easier to find.

Talked briefly about walking infrastructure. As a pedestrian Jon said one of the worst bits of path he’d come across in Loughborough is on the Ashby Road alongside the University campus, where the brook crosses under the road.  There the path narrows severely, and there isn’t room for two pedestrians to pass, let alone meeting an oncoming cyclist.  Need to ask widely for similar issues other pedestrians face. Some people may find shared cycled paths/footpaths worrying to use, especially if cyclist are going fast and don’t use their bell to announce their presence.

We talked about wasting money on cycle infrastructure that isn’t maintained or enforced. Many cycle lanes are not statutory and so are ignored by drivers, and parked over, forcing bikes back out into the flow of traffic. Jon mentioned that the shared use cycle path alongside the campus on Ashby Road has very worn markings – if they need to be there why aren’t they maintained? If they don’t need to be there it would make lots of other routes more cost effective to make into shared cycle paths. Steve said parking on the ring road was a major pain and made the new cycle infrastructure dangerous to use. Sue pointed out that in London some cycle lanes now have a physical concrete kerb between the cyclists and motor vehicles. Some discussion about the dangers posed to cyclists by buses.

We really need to encourage all groups (pedestrians, cyclists and drivers)  to obey rules better.  There are good and bad individuals in each group – we must be careful not to tar the good with the brush of the bad.  Fines and enforcement were discussed, including how jay walking (crossing the road at a place other than a pedestrian crossing or against the red walking signal) are fineable offences in other countries, and often enforced too.

Robin raised the question of how well disabled users in adapted bikes can make use of the cycling infrastructure. That’s something that shouldn’t be overlooked, as cycling can be liberating for such users. Sue knows a lady who may have some input on this.

Steve floated the idea of a “courteous campaign” as a way to encourage people to consider other road users.  Could be practical and relatively cheap to implement.  For example hi-viz vests or straps and bumper stickers with some suitable logan and branding. Such information could be made available at lots of the events Transition Loughborough already hold, thereby getting the message out about safer road (and path/cycle path) use. This could mean that we can help make a practical difference (something that is often difficult for us to do in the infrastructure driven transport world).

Next steps: we need to contact Councillor Max Hunt who is keen to hear about ideas on this topic and see how he’d like to proceed (get a list of ideas from us, or meet with us, or meet with a wider group?).

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Picnic in the Park and Summer Festival

On Saturday 10th June 2017 the annual “Picnic in the Park” event is being held in Queens Park in Loughborough between noon and 5pm. This is a great community event organised by Charnwood Arts with arts and crafts stalls, music, dance and street entertainment. Transition Loughborough will have a stall on the day where we’ll have information available on the various projects and events we’re running, and plants to swap and give away. Its free, so pop over from shopping at the Saturday market in the town centre and say hello!

Then on the following Saturday, 17th June 2017, we’re helping to run another event at Fearon Hall with more plant swapping: the Loughborough in Bloom Summer Festival. This is a celebration of sowing and growing in and around Loughborough. Find out about community gardening projects around the town, learn how to easily grow some of your own herbs, fruit and veg at home, sample the Utilise Social Kitchen and talk to a variety of groups involved in edible growing in the town. Entry is free and it promises to be a fabulous fun day for the green (and not so-green!) fingered so please pop along to Fearon Hall from 10am-2pm.

Also at 7.30pm on Monday 12th June 2017 the Transition Loughborough Transport Group are holding a meeting to discuss projects. These include developing ideas to could potentially go towards a funding bid under the Government’s “Cycling and Walking Investment Strategy“. This strategy may be able to provide some funding to improve pedestrian and bicycle infrastructure in and around the town. Bring your ideas on how we can do this and we’ll then take them to other local community transport support groups and councilors to help build a funding case. The meeting will be held at a Transition member’s private house – please contact us for directions.

 

 

 

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Upcoming Events in the next month

A quick heads up about a couple of Transition Loughborough arranged events that are coming up in the next month or so.

Cycle maintenance workshop

A Transition Loughborough bicycle maintenance workshop

First off we’ve got a bicycle maintenance session from 12 noon to 2pm on Wednesday 17th May. This will take place on the University campus at the LAGS shed, to the rear of car park 5. We’ll have a few experienced cyclists on hand to give help and advice, plus the Transition Loughborough cycle maintenance stand and repair toolkit. Whilst its being held on campus, its open to everyone to come along to.

Continuing with the topic of repairing things, we’ve got another Repair Café at Fearon Hall on Saturday 3rd June from 9.30am to 11am. As usual we’ll have a group of volunteer repairers who will attempt to fix broken items that would otherwise be thrown away. However if you’ve got a skill in repairing items that you’d like to come and share for an hour or two, please get in touch as we can always find space for a few more! After the Repair Café there’ll be a Utilise Social Kitchen pay-as-you-feel meal and everyone is welcome to stay on for that – its a great way to spend Saturday lunchtime.

And don’t forget that as we have light nights now we’re running our social gardening sessions at our community allotment plots off King George Road. We’ve got some new regulars coming along this year, with sowing and planting pace picking up as the weather warms up. If you want to do a bit of gardening but either don’t have a garden or want to pick up some gardening tips, come along from 6pm on Wednesday evenings. Its free and very informal – you don’t have to commit to coming every week (unless you want to!).

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Gardening season kicking off

This coming Sunday sees the clocks going forward and so the lighter nights will be with us again. In the Transition Loughborough calendar, this also means that the regular summer Wednesday evening meet ups at the Community Allotment plots in King George Road will be restarting!

The first of the year will be on Wednesday 29th March. As in previous years people start arriving between 5.30pm and 6pm at the site, which is accessed through the wooden gate at the bend in King George Road – we’re down the track and round the corner, with a greenish polytunnel, a couple of sheds and a large black fruit cage. We go on until it either gets dark or we get tired (or last year occasionally when it started to rain heavily!). During the meet ups we work on the plots, chat and share the produce we grow. Its a great way to meet other local gardeners and swap ideas, hints and tips.  Parents can bring children with them, but please note that it is a working allotment site so they will like get dirty and also need to be supervised.

To give you a taster, here’s what the allotments look like in their mid-summer glory:

This year we’re also going to have an informal meet up from 6pm on Tuesday 28th March in the Swan in the Rushes pub. This is so that we can plan what we want to do on the plots, discuss ideas for other Food & Gardens group projects and also let newcomers meet us over a drink. We’ll probably be there until at least 8pm, so don’t worry if you can’t make the start of the meeting – just turn up when you can!

And before all that, we’ve got another meeting you can come along to if you’re interested in some of the more “exotic” vegetables that are now being grown in the UK.  These have often come from abroad as communities have moved to this country, and after decades of growing and seed saving are now acclimatised to our British weather.  This workshop is being held at the offices of Human Rights and Equalities Charnwood at 66 Nottingham Road on Saturday 25th March from 10.30am.  It has been inspired by the “Charnwood Chai” project that some Transition members have been involved with, and hopes to bring together different communities in Loughborough to share their experiences of growing some of the less “traditional” vegetables.  As with the community allotment meet ups, this is free and open to all – see the attached poster for more details.

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Repair Cafe on Saturday 4th March 2017

repair-cafe-poster

After having a great time at our seed swap last Saturday morning, we’re now turning to planning our next Repair Cafe in a month’s time. On Saturday 4th March 2017 we’ll be at Fearon Hall once again from 9.30am to 11am offering to attempt repairs on any broken items you have that would otherwise go to landfill.

To give you an idea of the range of items we’ve tackled at previous Repair Cafes, we’ve helped to fix lawnmowers, lamps, seats, bikes, prams, clothes, tambourines, coffee machines, food mixers, computers, power tools and… well the list goes on. The set up is the same as always: you bring along the item you want repairing and you sit with the repairer whilst they make the repair, so that you can show them the problems and they can show you how they go about fixing it. That way you not only potentially save something from being thrown away, but you also pick up the skills to repair things yourself in the future!

If you have skills in repairing things or are a life long tinkerer, please get in touch and/or come along to lend a hand on the day. The more people we have offering to help with repairs, the more people we can offer repairs to. Its also great fun sharing the skills of repairing things with others and talking to other like minded menders.

The repairs are free (though donations to help cover costs are appreciated!) and we’ll have refreshments for sale on the morning as well. The Repair Cafe is followed by a Utilise Social Kitchen pay-as-you-feel meal at midday which all Repair Cafe attendees are welcome to join in with. The Social Kitchen takes donated from food nearing its expiry date from retailers and turns it into delicious meals. Well worth staying on for and more things saved from the waste heap!

 

 

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Successful Potato Day and coming Seed Swap

Our third annual Potato Day was a great success. Thank you to everyone involved – volunteers who helped organise it, staff the stall, run the cafe in the Baptist Church and of course those who bought their potatoes, onion sets, garlic and seeds with us. We hope the gardeners of Loughborough and the surrounding area have some great crops this year. Please send us photos of the resulting plants and harvests later in the year so we can show everyone how well people have done!

But wait, we’ve got another gardening event this coming weekend too: its our 2017 Seed Swap! This is being held in Loughborough Public Library from 10am to noon on Saturday 4th February 2017 and its free! Come along with any old, out of date, partially used, duplicate or just unwanted seed packets, drop them on the swap tables and then have a look to see if any of the other seeds take your fancy. Even if you don’t have any seeds to swap yourself come along because we’ll have more than enough for you to pick up a few packets to help you get growing. We’ll also have a very limited stock of seed potatoes left over from the Potato Day stall, so you’ll a last chance to pick some up for 15p per tuber if you missed out on pre-orders and our market stall.

seedswap-poster-2017

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Less than a week until Potato Day 2017!

A quick reminder that on Saturday 28th January 2017 we’ll have a Transition Loughborough stall on Loughborough Market for our annual Potato Day. If you pre-ordered potatoes, seeds, etc with us last Autumn you will be able to pick up your orders from the stall. If you missed out on pre-ordering we’ll have a limited range (and quantity!) of seed potatoes to buy on the day, as well as a few packets of onion sets. These are strictly “first come, first served” – last year we’d more or less run out by lunchtime!

The stall should be at the end of market near Lloyds Bank, and we’ll have Transition Loughborough banners out so that you can find us. We’ll be setup and ready to go by 9am, and are usually there until early afternoon.

On the same day we also have volunteers running the cafe in the Baptist Church in the morning, just round the corner from our Potato Day stall.  So if you need a cuppa and some cake after the excitement of picking up your seed potatoes, please do pop round there and say hello.  Profits from the cafe are kindly donated by the church to Transition Loughborough on that morning so you’ll also be helping us put on more events during the rest of the year.

potato-day-2017-last-poster

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First events in 2017 – Repair Cafe, Potato Day and Seed Swap

Now that we’re in the gap between Christmas and New Year, its probably a good time to let our supporters know about some of the events we have lined up for the start of 2017.

We kick off the year with another of our Repair Cafe events on Saturday 7th January 2017. The doors open from 9.30am to 11am and during that period you can bring along broken items that you were about to throw away and see if our volunteer repairers, sewing experts and tinkerers can fix them for you. As usual repairs are made on a best effort basis and are free, though we welcome donations to help cover costs. There will also be refreshments on sale so that you can sit and socialise with friends and neighbours whilst waiting for a repairer to become available. After the Repair Cafe, the Utilise Social Kitchen folk will be serving up one of their delicious pay-as-you-feel meals, and Repair Cafe attendees are very welcome to stay for that.

repair-cafe-poster

Next up we have Potato Day on Saturday 28th January. This will take place in Loughborough Market where we will have a stall. If you have pre-ordered items they will be available to pick up from the stall. We’ll also have a limited supply of seed potato varieties to purchase on the day, as well as a few packets of onion sets and some of our reusable shopping bags. If you want some help and advice on growing potatoes we’ll also have some experienced gardeners on hand who may be able to help.

potato-day-2017-last-poster

The following weekend, on Saturday 4th February we have our annual Seed Swap. This takes place from 10am to noon in Loughborough Public Library’s meeting room. Bring along any unwanted seed packets, including partially used or out of date ones, add them to the swap table and then have a rummage to see if there are any seeds you fancy growing! It is all free and we also encourage people who have self-saved seeds to bring them along to swap. It has become one of the regular events in many Loughborough gardeners’ calendars and it is a great way to kick off the new growing season!

seedswap-poster-2017

So there’s at least three things to look forward to in 2017.  Happy New Year to all Transition Loughborough supporters!

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Potato Day Pre-Order Deadline Approaching!

For those of you who want to take advantage of our 12p per seed potato tuber pre-order offer and haven’t yet made your order, you’ve only got a few days left!

The closing date for pre-orders is 6th December 2016 – any orders received after that will not be accepted. Don’t forget that its not just potatoes available – we’re also supplying shallots, onion sets, garlic bulbs, beans, peas, green manures and some growing sundries. For ordering information, see our Potato Day page.

So get those orders in ASAP – and tell your friends too!

Digging them up

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