Last week I wrote about the plans by Warwickshire County Council to develop a new high quality cycleway along the A47 Long Shoot, an initial phase of a plan to improve the cycle link between Nuneaton and Hinckley. I expressed how I was pleased to see these plans develop which have been in the pipeline for a little white, but how the exact details fell short in a number of areas.
If you haven’t read that article, head that way to get an overview of the road as it stands, and to take a look at the plans. You can also find details on the county council’s website, www.warwickshire.gov.uk/longshootcycling.
Today, I am submitting my formal response to the consultation. There are a couple of ways to do this – a quick and easy survey form, or through email.
Both are detailed in the link above. I’m choosing the latter simply because I have a bit to say which is easier to communicate in letter form. The consultation on this scheme has now closed.
Now it’s your turn! If you cycle in, around, or through Nuneaton, even if only occasionally, or if you want to cycle more but don’t feel confident or safe on the roads, your voice needs to be heard and I urge you to submit your own responses to this consultation! You should make your own views known having looked at the plans, but if you want some pointers for what to comment on then do please read my evaluation from last week, my response letter sent today, or use the following ideas:
- Express support for high quality cycling infrastructure that keeps pedestrians, cyclists, and drivers separated to the benefit of all road users.
- State the importance to maintain that separation throughout the length of the scheme, not merging into shared-use space to the detriment of both pedestrians and cyclists.
- Comment that the scheme needs to be adjusted to meet the five core design principles in LTN 1/20 (this is the up-to-date guidance for scheme designs issued by the Department for Transport).
- Highlight any concerns that may put you off using the scheme once it’s developed (e.g., faster cyclists, would slow and conflicted movement across signaled junctions mean you’d use the carriageway? Less confident cyclists, are you concerned about cycling against traffic without a notable buffer area? Does access to the route concern you?)
- Note the benefits of commercial cycling for last mile deliveries, reducing the need for vans, and how this scheme needs to be sufficient to support that.
The consultation is open until 18 March 2021. Design decisions made here will have a long-lasting impact on the take-up of cycling for local transport, both personally and commercially. Therefore, in my opinion, it is very important for the county council to get this scheme right from the start, and we need as many local voices as possible to express this sentiment.
Please submit your responses and spread the word!
Update: 02 March 2021
After being told that there is not enough space to provide separation at the Greendale Road junction and that the redesign is not viable nor affordable, I took a closer look and came up with a design that I think may work and fit within the space constraints.
This design maintains separation throughout the junction, means west-bound cyclists can bypass traffic light phases and gives east-bound cyclists the same phases as the main carriageway. In other words, cyclists would not be disadvantaged using the cycle scheme compared to using the main carriageway – a serious flaw in the current scheme.
To implement this scheme would require the Council to admit that the recently installed junction layout is not suitable, and to accept that there will be an additional cost as a result. However, I think doing so is the right course of action if the local authority is serious about developing high quality cycle networks. To get this wrong now will simply mean more money needing to be spent further down the line to bring the scheme up to standard – better to admit and correct one mistake now, than to make another!
Please feel free to feed this design into your comments. The consultation has now closed.
Side note: The cover image for this article is the shared-use toucan crossing at the Greendale Road junction. It shows the limited space available for both pedestrians and cycles in a two-stage crossing that may take sixty seconds to cross. There is also a two-stage pedestrian crossing on the A47 itself where the central reservation needlessly takes up road space that could be reallocated to maintain separation. However, this is fairly new infrastructure having been installed in the last 2-3 years and the scheme proposes that this remain as-is.