Regarding Durant Road/Ellison Place and Market Street/Pilgrim Street Improvements
The changes being proposed for both of these schemes offer improvement for cycling in the city centre. We congratulate the council on continuing to produce plans that could create a city centre that is much more accessible and hopefully also traversable by those using cycles.
As the schemes are still in an engagement phase we nonetheless have some points that we would like to raise. We urge the council to act on these before any further phase.
The drawings are not clear about the width planned for the two way cycleways. Due to the city centre location and the potential for high volumes of cyclists, the two way cycleways should be 4m wide minimum. On Pilgrim Street particularly we would prefer a layout that has cycleways on both sides (west and east). Council should also consider to closing pilgrim street to motor traffic from swan house roundabout.
There are some corners on the drawings that seem tight, especially the corners for the crossing at the southern end of Pilgrim Street to use the crossing. While these corners may seem suitable for a standard bicycle, they are likely to be too tight for other types of cycles, For example those using trailers, mobility tricycles or people carrying children on the back of a bike. The council must ensure that all corners have a large enough radius to ensure that they can be navigated by all types of cycles safely and comfortably.
A fairly sharp dog leg has been drawn to provide the bus stop bypass at the southern end of Pilgrim Street. The swerve of the dog leg should be made sufficiently smooth to ensure that the geometry remains totally accessible for all types of cycles, and cycling styles.
On Pilgrim Street gaps have been provided to access the streets on the opposite side of the road. As with the previous points made about the geometry of the features, these must be wide enough to ensure that they can be easily used by people using all types of cycles and cycling styles.
Where the cycle path on Durant Road meets John Dobson Street, the angle seems to be designed to suggest cyclists should be heading north. The geometry should make it easy for cyclists to travel in any direction.
College Street and wider picture
It is a shame that the opportunity has not been taken to close the junction that provides access on to College Street/Ellison Place. College Street is used as a rat run, and keeping this junction open has complicated how IT will work once the cycle route is added. Access to the car park in this area could be provided directly from Durant Road and the University could easily be accessed from the North.
The council should publish a clear people and traffic movement plan for the city centre, this would make it clear how the council intend all roads and junctions to be used (such as Durant Road-College Street). This would help the council create designs that clearly support their plans. At the moment it is unclear what type of road function is intended for College Street. We again point council towards using the principles sustainable safety (http://newcycling.org/sustainablesafety/).
We also repeat the need for a car parking strategy, to make sense of city centre space and its allocation.
It is not clear what type of kerbs are planned along the cycle lanes/path. We suggest that kerbs with an angled profile should be used to be forgiving for people who may wobble or who need to swerve to take avoiding action if needed.
The plans show tactile paving across the cycle paths/lanes by pedestrian crossings. These are uncomfortable and difficult for some people to cycle across and can become slippery and dangerous in wet weather. They may also pose a risk to the visually impaired, as they may be led to feel that they are on a footway, when actually crossing a cycleway. Has the council contacted disability groups to find out if this is the best way of indicating to visually impaired where the crossings are when crossing a cycleway? We ask the council to reconsider this design decision and provide something that is both more informative, comfortable and safe to visually impaired users and safer and more comfortable for those cycling.
Document to which this refers:
Pilgrim Street – Market Street