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.

Thursday, 18 June 2015

Butts Road / Albany Road junction

Getting over (or under) the ring road is a major problem for cyclists in Coventry. One of the safer crossing places is the Spon Street subway. It's also part of Cycle Coventry Routes 12 & 13, shown in yellow on Coventry Council's cycle map:

Routes 12 & 13 provide a fairly direct path to Hearsall Common, but they are not very useful for those cycling to or from the Earlsdon Street area. This could be improved by adding a link between Meadow Street and Albany Road, as indicated with a red blob on the map.

Exiting from Albany Road, cycling with the traffic, it's easy enough to turn right into the Butts Road bus lane. Unfortunately, as the google streetview image shows, you then have to bump up over the kerb and cycle five metres before bumping down to Meadow Street:

The Earlsdon bound trip presents bigger problems. You might cycle to the middle of Butts Road and join the traffic waiting to turn right into Albany Road. Or you might dismount and use the pedestrian crossing to walk across Butts Road. 

Many would find waiting in the middle of Butts Road daunting. Others might try cycling across the pedestrian crossing, annoying pedestrians whilst trying to negotiate the sharp bends and ending up on the wrong side of Albany Road:

Current routes from Meadow Street to Albany Road (Google satellite).

There are simple solutions to these problems.
  1. Add dropped kerbs and 3 more metres of blacktop to provide a cycle path between Meadow Street and Butts Road
  2. Add dropped kerbs to the central reservation, providing a refuge for cyclists turning right into Butts Road. Once in Butts Road, they would turn left at the traffic lights into Albany Road:
Proposed routes:

The fence on the central reservation has already gone. The reservation is over two metres wide, so there's enough of room for cyclists to safely wait for a gap in the traffic. Bicycles being about 1.8 m long. Waiting there would be much safer than on the carriageway proper and cyclists would only need to look for traffic coming from one direction at a time.

An application has been made for planning permission build a five storey extension to the Sherbourne House student accommodation block on Meadow Street. I've proposed that the developers should be required to contribute money to help provide the links described above. There will be a pressing need for cycle facilities, as students will be prohibited from bringing cars into Coventry as a condition of their tenancy.

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).