Cycling Afterthought for Leicester Road Changes

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The latest plans to be released by Warwickshire County Council for the redevelopment of the Leicester Road Gyratory in Nuneaton (Vicarage Street, Back Street, Leicester Road) have been dubbed as an “ovalabout” in local press. While reports note so-called improvements for cycling, the actual published plan is motor-centric and poor for pedestrians and cyclists, failing to meet minimum standards and providing indirect routes.

My statement in response to these plans follows below:

The new plans released by Warwickshire County Council for the redevelopment of the Leicester Road Gyratory in Nuneaton do not offer a great solution for walking or cycling, where they fall below the minimum DfT standards for cycling infrastructure.

The plans call for a 2m track for bidirectional cycling; the recommended minimum standard is 3m.

The connection for those travelling between Vicarage Street and Leicester Road is convoluted. At present, pedestrians and cyclists can choose to use toucan crossings to make a fairly direct connection avoiding the need to deviate around past the station. This new plan appears to lose this option, forcing people to make a longer journey.

Shared use space in the area closest to the station puts pedestrians and cyclists in conflict, where the connection between the station and the town centre should be attractive and welcoming for people on foot and cycle, in support of multi-modal transport. There appears to be plenty of space to do this properly, yet instead the designs offer unnecessarily narrow space, and awkward turning angles on to a toucan crossing.

There are options that designers could employ to improve things: as far as possible, provide a 3m bidirectional cycle path alongside a 2m footpath; provide a well-designed, wide, and light underpass (or overpass) to directly connect to Leicester Road; align crossings with Regent Street to the south (to be stopped up to motor vehicles) to remove awkward turns; continue prioritised separated walking and cycling to directly connect the station to the town centre.

The current plans are very motor-centric and put walking and cycling as an add-on rather than considering these as a priority for local transport options. One important method of improving traffic flow is to enable alternatives to the car for those who want to use them, reducing the impact of motor traffic growth which ultimately is unsustainable. I cannot see how this scheme does that in its current guise.

@BicycleBenUK | fb.me/BicycleBenUK – 30 January 2022

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