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

Wednesday, 2 July 2014

Netherlands Study Tour

In mid June, four of us from the West Midlands went on a David Hembro Study Tour. The most remarkable thing about cycling in the Netherlands is the sheer number of cyclists:

Only a small minority of Dutch cyclists ride mountain/road bikes or wear helmets/Lycra. Despite the proportion of such sporty cyclists among the general population being higher in the Netherlands than the UK, they are swamped by the large number of people who use a bicycle to ride a couple of miles from A to B.

It's not the flatness of the Netherlands that encourages cycling (much of eastern England is just as flat) and certainly not the weather - it's often raining and the wind can be punishing. It's the way cyclists are separated from motor traffic, often onto to routes which are shorter than those taken by motorists.

Back in the 1950's the streets of Coventry were full of cyclists. Then people bought cars in large numbers, just as they did in the Netherlands. Conditions on the roads got much worse for cycling. In the UK, and in many other countries, few good cycling facilities were built and cycle use declined dramatically. For reasons no-one seems to understand very well, the Dutch highway authorities built decent cycle facilities and so many car owners continue to use their bicycles for short journeys.

Dutch cycle path crossing a side road. Note priorities, footway and sight-lines.

Thursday, 15 May 2014

More traffic on Lynchgate Road

Those who cycle to the University of Warwick via its Lynchgate Road entrance will be disappointed to learn that the University wishes to put a large car park just inside the entrance with access via Lynchgate Road:

They propose a roundabout where the Science Park access road and the access road to the new car park meets Lynchgate Road. Link to planning application.

Plenty of people have objected, complaining about the traffic increase the proposal, if adopted, would bring.  Here's my comment:

I object to this planning application as it will have a negative impact on pedestrian and cyclist access to the University and Science Park.

The Department for Transport's "Manual for Streets (2007)" adopts a hierarchy of users to assist in design, planning and development control decisions. This places pedestrians at the top, followed by cyclists, then public transport, with unaccompanied private­ car users last. Furthermore there are local policies AM8 (Improving Pedestrian Routes) and AM11 (Improving Cycling Facilities).

The University's Lynchgate Road entrance has the potential to be the major access point for pedestrians and cyclists working and studying at the campus and Science Park, due to the large volume of residential housing within walking and cycling distances. In addition there is a great potential for rail plus cycle commuting from further afield via the Canley and Coventry railway stations.

According to The Department for Transport's LTN "Cycle Infrastructure Design" the first thing to be considered when creating or improving a cycle route is Traffic Volume Reduction (followed by Traffic Speed Reduction). The application proposes a Traffic Volume Increase on Lynchgate Road. It also proposes a downgrade of the cyclist/pedestrian route within the University campus from segregation between cyclists and pedestrians to a shared pedestrian/cyclist path. Such arrangements are unsuitable for routes with medium to high cyclist and pedestrian use.

If the car park is to be built, a much more imaginative approach needs to be taken to its access by motor traffic. An approach which reduces rather than increases the delay and danger posed to pedestrians and cyclists. One possibility would be to have access via the Science Park's Sir William Lyons Road and to move the access between Sir William Lyons Road and the public highway significantly closer to Kirby Corner Road.