Wednesday, 18 February 2015

Tollbar End death

January's meeting of the Cycle Coventry Advisory Group began with a minute's silence to commemorate the death of Andrew Wolfindale, who was killed in a collision with an HGV at Toll Bar End on 6 January.

As is usual with a death resulting from a Road Traffic Incident, the police are investigating the circumstances of the crash.

Is that good enough? The police will only concern themselves with whether a case can made which will be strong enough to stand up in court. Everyone is "considered innocent until proven guilty", so it's not unlikely that no case will come to court. Yet a man has died, so something, and I expect quite a number of things, weren't as safe as could be reasonably expected. A lot of other people who use the junction think so too. But unlike incidents which involve trains or aircraft, there will be no body to conduct a full public investigation and to make (legally binding) recommendations to improve future safety.

It's no wonder that travelling on the highways is far more dangerous than travelling across the skies or in a train.

Monday, 19 January 2015

Whitley Business Park Expansion

A planning application has been made to extend the Whitley Business Park to the south west.

As James Avery explains in his blog, it's "another example of a planning scheme in Coventry which completely fails to provide the required cycle access, in accordance with Coventry City council's own policies, which clearly require cycle and pedestrian access to be safe, convenient and direct."

Here's a map of the proposal:

The proposed new road (shown in red) will serve the storage and distribution unit (shown in blue).

About 100 metres south of the new road, there's the cycle path along the north side of the A45/A46. It would be so easy to provide a link. Yet the Highways Agency (who manage the A46) has no comment on the scheme.

At the moment the A45/A46 cycle path only provides a route to the east (Toll Bar End and Selsey Close / Sunbury Road), but a link over the Stivichall Interchange ("Festival Island") seems feasible. On the roundabout there's space on the bridge over the A444 and traffic lights at the junction with the slip road from the A444:

Existing cyclist/pedestrian paths are shown in green as are paths due to be re-instated as when the A45/A46  Tollbar End Improvement Scheme has been completed.  Shown in red is a possible route to link Finham & Stivichall to the Whitley Business Park.

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?