Monday, 20 April 2015

City Centre Action Plan

A consultation on the City Centre Action Plan has recently closed.

I wasn't impressed with the plan. Too little consideration was given to cycle and bus routes to and through the city centre. The council seems to be stuck in the 20th century view that people should travel to the centre by car and then walk about before returning home by car.

I'm reminded of what happened with "Council Square". As a result of objections raised by myself, the council agreed that make cycling legal along the four sides of the square (Little Park Street, Much Park Street, Earl Street and St John’s Street). But the roads haven't been designed to properly accommodate cycling.  The carriageways are designed for motor vehicles, the pavements for pedestrians.  The only things for cyclists are signs indicating that cycling is legal in both directions on the Much Park Street and St John’s Street carriageways and that the pavements on the south side of Earl Street and the east side of Little Park Street are shared use pedestrian/cyclist paths.

Anyway here's my comments on the Action Plan:

  • The routes to the car parks need to be re-thought to reduce the conflict between cars accessing the parking and buses, cyclists and pedestrians. The access to the West Orchard car park demonstrates a poor design, with a large volume of car traffic crossing a major pedestrian, cyclist and bus route along Corporation Street. The grade separated access to the barracks car park at Hertford Street demonstrates a good design.
  • On-street car parking on Far Gosford Street needs to be replaced by off-street parking. This will allow Far Gosford Street to become bothway for cycling.

    The current recommended city-bound cycle route (along Sky Blue Way) is very unpopular leading to footway cycling on Sky Blue Way and Far Gosford Street. Far Gosford Street has the potential to be a major cycle route from east Coventry to the city centre. Parked and unloading vehicles provide significant blocks to buses using the street.
  • Improved cycle access is needed between Warwick Road (& thus the railway station) and Broadgate. Warwick Lane and Greyfriars Lane could be used.
  • Better cycle access is needed between Technology Park Quarter (Parkside) and both Gulson Road and the railway station. This would also improve the link between the station and east Coventry (via Gulson Road).

Sunday, 15 March 2015

Canal Basin Bridge - not fit for purpose

Coventry Council is proposing to replace the Canal Basin pedestrian bridge over the ring road. The bridge links St. Nicholas Road / Canal Basin with Bishop Street.

Details of proposals: part1 part2 (pdfs).

James Avery has written a post on the issue.

Here's the contents of a letter from myself, published in the Coventry Telegraph on 13 March 2015:

The canal basin bridge over the ring road is not fit for purpose.

A safe cycle route between the canal basin and Bishop Street is needed. Cycling is banned on the pedestrian bridge as it's too narrow. Few dare to cycle across the Radford Road or Foleshill Road roundabouts.

At the Bishop Street end, the gradient causes trouble for wheelchair users and pram pushers. It's too steep.

This is not just about existing cyclists. Many more people would cycle if the routes were felt to be safe and convenient. But few are prepared to cycle on the roads as they currently exist. More cycling would mean improved public health and more efficient use of space. Cycle paths have seven times the carrying capacity of lanes dedicated to private cars.

A surface crossing is, perhaps, not the right answer. It would cause delay to motorists, pedestrians and cyclist alike. Has the council looked at an underpass for walkers & cyclists? What about a new, better bridge, perhaps with a spiral ramp at the city end?

Monday, 2 March 2015

Ideas from a Citizen

Last December, Mike Lees sent the following letter to Councillor Lancaster (Coventry Council's Cabinet Member for Public Services):

Dear Ms. Lancaster,

I was pleased to read of the improvements to cycling in Citivision. I would like to suggest some low cost improvements to help fellow cyclists.
  1. Drapers Field bridge, West side - the kerb needs lowering or instead, place a wedge of tarmac in the gutter. There used to be a wedge but someone removed it! It didn't block the gutter.
  2. Make Greyfriars Lane and Salt Lane two way for cyclists. (less need to cycle through the precinct)
  3. Lower the kerb at Cooke St. Gate.
  4. Make it legal to cycle on the pavements adjacent to the ring road.
  5. Make it legal to cycle on the pavement on the east side of Foleshill Road from Harnall Lane round to White Street.
  6. Keresley Road dual carriageway, both sides.Currently the inner lanes on both sides are used as a car park. They easily could be made into cycle lanes. All the houses (except for a handful) have rear car access. In the vast majority of cases there is no reason to park on the road. This section of road provides a quick route down to Radford. The road would be safer for cyclists and pedestrians.
He was promised "comprehensive feedback to you in the New Year when I have fully investigated the proposals."

I made some comments to Mike on these suggestions. Here they are with Mike's responses

1 Drapers Field bridge The council want to greatly increase the traffic on Leicester Row - so that brings up the issue of what cyclists do when they get to Leicester Row!
REPLY - Make a new cycle path on the pavement to Foleshill Road. It's quite wide. Then either go north or cross Foleshill Road and go south down new cycle path (see 5) to city centre.
2) Make Greyfriars Lane and Salt Lane two way for cyclists. The council will no doubt claim that there's a safety hazard with the taxis.
  • Is there any evidence this is the case?
  • Cyclists use it the wrong way even if its not legal
  • Would the council prefer people to cycle through the precinct?
3) Lower the kerb at Cooke St. Gate. Yes!
4) Make it legal to cycle on the pavements adjacent to the ring road. Yes. I often cycle on the fragment that goes past Queens' Road Baptist Church, connecting Queens Road with the subway under the ring road.
5) Make it legal to cycle on the pavement on the east side of Foleshill Road from Harnall Lane round to White Street. Good idea, although the footway probably needs widening (esp. near bus stop) and there needs to be a safe and convenient way of cycling on and off the path at the Harnall Lane end.
6) Keresley Road dual carriageway, both sides. Unfortunately there would probably be great resistance from the residents. Is there enough room to move the parking further toward the centre of the road to provide a cycle track between the parked cars and the footway? People find cycling with a barrier of parked cars between them and moving traffic better than a white line. The side road junctions would have to be carefully re-designed to ensure that cyclists got priority over turning traffic. All rather expensive I'm afraid!
  • The west side of Keresley Road between Kelmscote Road and the Old Shepherd island is served by a service road - Stennels Close - double yellow lines would not inconvenience the residents .
  • A cheaper solution would be to severely restrict parking on the rest of Keresley Rd - say to 1hr max. This would still be a considerable improvement on the current situation.
  • Have there been any complaints about road safety on Keresley Rd? If so reducing car parking and thus increasing visibility would surely address the issue