Thursday, 19 November 2015

Coventry's Precinct

People cycling on paths designated for pedestrians indicates a failure of town planning.

Coventry's Precinct is a classic example of poor planning for cycling:

The maps show the centre of Coventry as it was in 1937 and as it is today. In 1937, Broadgate was linked to Corporation Street by Smithford Street, providing a direct east-west route between Gosford Street and Spon Street. By 2009, the heart of Coventry had been pedestrianised (marked in pink on the map).

The Precinct now blocks the central east-west route. People travelling by car don't notice; the ring road provides a speedy highway without traffic signals. People using cycles are expected to use Fairfax Street, Hales Street and Corporation Street, with their traffic signals, one-way system and stop-start buses.

In recent weeks journey times for cyclists using the Fairfax Street, Hales Street and Corporation Street route have dramatically increased as a result of extra traffic lights and temporary one-way restrictions:
  • Corporation Street: extra traffic signals at Spon Street and Upper Well Street.
  • Corporation Street: west-bound only between Bishop Street and Upper Well Street.
  • Fairfax Street / Trinity Street / Hales Street junction (Whittle Arch): west-bound only
  • Fairfax Street / Priory Street junction: extra traffic signals
It's no surprise that complaints about cycling in the Precinct have grown louder in recent weeks. Cyclists in a hurry are cutting through the pedestrianised area, taking the route of the now almost forgotten Smithford Street.

I suspect that the complaints aren't really about cycling as such, they are more about speeding cyclists. This "rat running" will continue until it takes less time to use Fairfax Street and Corporation Street to cycle between Coventry University and Spon Street than to cut through the pedestrianised area.

Wednesday, 9 September 2015

Aldi near Cannon Park

Aldi has applied for planning permission for a new store at Shultern Lane:
(Marked with the red line)

I've put in a comment:

The Transport Assessment (section 3.6) states that space will be provided for 8 cycles to be securely parked.

No grounds for supposing that this is adequate are given in the Transport Assessment. Yet in March 2015 the Cannon Park Shopping Centre Manager (Tim Pople) stated that 100 places were planned to be in operation there for the 2015/6 academic year.

The centre is 300m from the proposed development so the demographic of its customers will be similar. 
See planning application FUL/2015/2906


Planning permission was granted on 11 November, but with a condition that the building must not be used until the developers have provided adequate cycle parking (the council to decide what is adequate).

The council has also got £56,000 from Lidl to help pay for the construction of a three metre wide shared use footway/cycleway between Lynchgate Road and De Montfort Way. That is a path along the north side of Shultern Road between Lynchgate Road and the section of Shultern Road barred to motor traffic.

Thursday, 23 July 2015

Roundabout for the A45 / Broad Lane junction

Coventry City Council is proposing substantial changes:

 The current arrangement (google satellite view)

The council proposes to add a roundabout and alter the traffic signals:

Council proposals

In both of the above images, Broad Lane crosses between right and left (east and west) and the A45 crosses between top and bottom (north & south).

I understand that the traffic lights on the A45 will follow a cycle of just under 60 seconds:
  1. Traffic from A45 (south) held
  2. Traffic from both A45 directions held
  3. Traffic from A45 (north) held
  4. Traffic from both A45 directions held
More details from Coventry Telegraph.

What about Cycling?

Roundabouts are often dangerous for cycling. Motorists leaving the roundabout cross the path of cyclists. Motorists trying to enter the roundabout may overlook cyclists already on the roundabout, especially if the cyclist is too close to the outside kerb or the motorist is impatient.

Cycling along Broad Lane

I think cyclists using the carriageway will find the new arrangement to be no more or less daunting than the current arrangement. It won't be the most dangerous sort of roundabout as traffic lights will protect cyclists from traffic entering from the A45. The big change is the addition of Toucan crossings to provide an off-carriageway route over the junction.

Off-carriageway cycle paths typically suffer from the following problems:
  • Sharing with pedestrians. The narrower the path the bigger the problem.
  • Turns too tight; routes are often designed for pedestrians rather than cyclists. Pedestrians have a far smaller turning circle than cyclists.
  • Hazards on returning to the carriageway.
The council has yet to publish details of the off-carriageway cycle route, so specific comments cannot be made at the moment. The vehicular entrance/exit to the Wing Wah restaurant (SW corner of the junction) will pose difficulties for westbound cyclists rejoining Broad Lane.

Cycling along the A45

There won't be much difference for people cycling along the A45. The council is, however, proposing a change 200m north of the junction, on the east side of the A45 which could lead to an improvement.

At the moment the service road on the east side is one-way, southbound (marked with arrows):

The council proposes to cut a gap between the service road and the A45 at the point marked with the blue spot. Motorists coming from the northern suburbs will join the A45 at that point, but their access to the service road south of the point will be blocked.

If the footway along the east side of the A45 were made into a shared use path, people would be allowed to cycle legally from the Broad Lane junction alongside the A45 carriageway to the "blue spot". From there they could continue to the residential areas to the north. I'm negotiating with the council about this point.

UPDATE August 2015

At the Public Services Cabinet Member meeting (4th August), it was agreed that the footway running alongside the A45 between Broad Lane and Rembrandt Close be converted into a shared use footway/cycleway. This will provide a safe and convenient route between the Broad Lane junction and the Windsford Avenue / Buckingham Rise area (avoiding Wildcroft Road).

It was also agreed to provide a puffin crossing on Broad Lane to the east of the A45. This might help people cycling to/from Sainsbury's.