Wednesday, 17 December 2014

TollBar End

Here's a diagram of what Tollbar End should look like once the current works are finished (Autumn 2016):

Shared pedestrian/cyclist paths are provided, shown as brown dashed lines.

It's certainly not the best possible solution. Cyclists in a hurry might prefer the carriageway as it has fewer traffic lights than the paths. Subways would be a better solution, but would cost a lot. Such sums might be better spent on other ways of getting cyclists past the A45/A46.

Two potential cycle routes crossing the A45/A46:
  1. Between Willenhall, the site of the old Peugoet factory and Ryton village. This would encourage people working at the industrial site and living in Coventry or Ryton to cycle to work. There's already a subway under the A46 between Willenhall Wood and Orchard Retail Park.
  2. Between Whitley and Baginton. A new bridge over the A45/A46 is proposed as part of a development south of the A45.

With the first idea in mind I sent an email to Rugby Borough Council on 28 November suggesting that the former Peugoet factory development should include a cycle route segregated from motor traffic, running between Tollbar End and Ryton. The reply was swift and full. The opportunity for making the route a condition for granting planning approval should have been made in 2008 or 2011. But neither the Highways Agency nor Warwickshire County Council Highways Department raised the matter.

Neither Warwickshire County Council or the Highways Agency seem bothered that people will only access the site by car. They seem not to understand that if a better cycle route were provided it would take local car traffic off this congested part of the 'Strategic Road Network', as well as giving local people more opportunity to increase their cardiovascular fitness levels.

* *

Also in November, I received details about the signing for Non Motorised Users of TollBar End. The direction signs seemed reasonable, what annoyed me were the proposed "Cyclists Dismount" and "End of Cycle Route" signs.

Back in March 2012, the Department of Transport conceded that "Cyclists Rejoin Carriageway" normally made more sense than "Cyclists Dismount"(see link - look for 'diagram 966')

"[This] sign should be provided only where cyclists are required to use a pedestrian crossing facility that they cannot legally cycle on, at the entrance to a pedestrian area, at a location with a low headroom or width restriction [...] or at places where visibility is restricted to such an extent that cycling would be unsafe" (link)

I wonder how long it will take for the Department of Transport's insight to reach the Highway Agency's contractors (Hyder Consulting)?

 The "End of Cycle Route" sign is a useless waste of space. It's placed at the scheme's boundaries; where the authorities couldn't think of any other sign.
Where are the "End of Motor Route" signs?

Monday, 10 November 2014

Crossing Sandy Lane and cycling on Kingfield Road

Cycle Coventry route 1 improves the route between the city centre and the Ricoh Arena

Expand the map by clicking on the icon at the top right.

Crossing the ring road

It's proposed to use a toucan crossing. Some people think that would delay traffic and be unsafe. More

Crossing Sandy Lane

Something like this is being considered by the council:

After crossing the recreation ground, cyclists would cross Sandy Lane just north-east of Caldecote Road and use a pavement conversion to reach Daimler Road.

Cycle paths on the inside of cars can have problems: cycling in the "door zone" and cars crossing from the carriageway. Newspaper report on a terrible piece of "cycle infrastructure" in Farnborough. Still in Sandy Lane there are no places where cars cross and there should be enough width for cyclists to avoid the door zone.

Kingfield Road

The council is considering widening the pavement on the west side, putting in a crossing, and widening the pavement on the east side up to Lockhurst Lane. Then crossing Kingfield Road again, using the pavement on the west side of Lockhurst Lane to the signalised crossing and then the pavement on the east side to Station Street West.

I suspect there will be a significant safety problems with cars darting from the carriageway into the various side roads and factory entrances:

What works for pedestrians doesn't work for cyclists.

A pedestrian has a stopping distance of a few inches, allowing them to avoid a collision with a car darting into a side road from the main road. More than that, the Highway Code states that motorists turning into a side road should give way to pedestrians already crossing. Cyclists travel at least three times faster than pedestrians and so need about ten times the stopping distance. So if a cyclist is close to the side road he/she won't have enough space to avoid a collision. Slowing to walking pace before crossing any entrance or side road is no way to make progress. While a motorist can regain lost speed by pressing their right foot, a cyclist has to find the lost kinetic energy from within their own body.

Setting the side road crossing back from the carriageway offers a solution; cyclists can see whether a car is heading their way significantly sooner. Even better is to give priority to cyclists as well.

Bollards might be needed to stop pavement parking.

After dark many people won't want to use the path through the woods and park. I suspect faster cyclists won't use the new route; they will use the Kingfield Road carriageway.

Wednesday, 6 August 2014

Henley Road

Coventry Council is proposing to improve the Henley Road section of the cycle route between University Hospital and Longford Park.

The proposals include
  1. Widening the Henley Road footways to create shared pedestrian/cyclist paths:
    • On the north side between the Sowe river bridge and Deedmore Road. This is likely to be about 2.4m wide.
    • On the south side between the new Toucan crossing and Brierley Road. This is likely to be just over 3m wide.
  2. Adding Toucan crossings to Henley Road at the points shown with red markers on the map. This includes adding Toucan phases to all three arms of the Deedmore Road / Henley Road junction
Details of the proposed scheme. A presentation was given to a local Neighbourhood Forum on 3 September.

I'm concerned about the lack of segregation between pedestrians and cyclists - the footway close to Henley College can get busy. Also there's some issues about the crossing of Henley Mill Lane:
  • the turn for motorists needs to be made sharper; to slow traffic
  • cyclists travelling on the new path along Henley Road need to retain their priority over turning traffic
  • there should be enough space to allow a car
    • turning into Henley Mill Lane to clear the Henley Road carriageway before having to stop for pedestrians & cyclists
    • leaving Henley Mill Lane, waiting for a gap in the Henley Road traffic, to clear the pedestrian/cyclist path.
A good example of a cycle path crossing a side road:

Details of the proposed scheme