Members of the campaign together with Sustrans and CTC met with North Tyneside Council last night at the junction of Beach Road & Broadway in Tynemouth A193/A1058. Hopefully we will have succeeded in nudging the design in the right direction before it gets to North Tyneside Cycling Forum for more formal consultation. We took along the attached ideas board, and our comments are summarised below, are we getting it right here?
The existing crossing is very heavily used by bicycle traffic. While we were there bicycle traffic outnumbered pedestrian traffic by some margin and was made up of adult commuters, although the situation would be the opposite at other times of the day.
Rather than it being a case of “we are putting in a pedestrian crossing, should it be a Toucan?” the best approach might be to design both pedestrian and cycle facilities from the ground up.
There are a number of things which we’d like the engineers to look at:
1/ Speed reduction.
The existing geometry of the junction mouth facilitates very high speeds. We observed some of this on site, and the local residents who spoke to us on site also described incidents in the past involving motor vehicles losing control and leaving the road. Before making decisions on the locations of crossing points we’d urge that this is looked at first. There is a strong case for remodelling with more “continental” style geometry.
2/ Location of cycle crossing point.
The council’s cycling strategy stipulates that a single network be constructed. The solution suggested by the council is two crossing points, the existing one and a single span toucan set much further back. With the right geometry a single cycle crossing point might be best located further back from the mouth of the junction than the existing crossing point (5-7 metres / two vehicle lengths). The mouth of the junction is not a fixed point, see point 1. A solution which left the majority of cycle traffic crossing at the existing crossing point would not deliver the road safety improvements that we all want to see.
3/ Provision of a crossing island.
We'd regard this as being absolutely essential, constructed to a minimum width of 2.5m. The majority of cycle traffic will not need or want to hold up motor traffic by triggering a signalled crossing, but will simply cross in two stages at appropriate breaks in the traffic flow. There appears to be room to construct an island to similar design to that on the A188 in Newcastle. If every cyclist we saw go through the crossing last night had to trigger traffic signals then the junction would start to appear very unattractive to motorists which could lead to an increase in rat running through the adjoining estates.
4/ Access to the Crossing North Site
Use of shared use pavements in this location would be likely to attract considerable opposition from Living Streets and from local residents. Concern over shared use was expressed by the residents who spoke to us on site. Newcastle Cycling Campaign have a standing agreement with Living Streets in Tynemouth to oppose the designation of shared use pavements in locations such as this. There appear to be two options that avoid shared use:
a) secure the agreement of Sainsbury's and their landlord to create a new access point adjoining the crossing
b) build a separate cycle track to the crossing in place of the existing grass verge
Given the significant cost advantage I’d suggest that further discussion on what happens on this side of the crossing is delayed until we know whether or not the landowner will cooperate. Building a separate cycle track will be both expensive and will involve solving the problem of conflict with the motor vehicle entrances to the supermarket and petrol station sites (not easy).
4/ Access to the Crossing South Site
A draft design circulated involves taking cycle traffic from a road, mixing it with pedestrians on a shared use pavement, and then taking it to the crossing. Shared use pavements should be a last resort and use in a location like this is surely best avoided? I’d suggest that separate cycle access to a crossing point be provided directly from the road with no shared space with pedestrians. Can the crossing engineers to take a look at the crossing at London Hyde Park corner which features on the front page of the London Cycle Design Standards? This shows a crossing where cycle traffic joins from a service road (inside the park) and runs on a crossing parallel to a pedestrian crossing, coloured surfacing clearly delineates space. The ideal crossing points for cycle and pedestrian traffic at this junction are not necessarily exactly the same. Given that the new crossing point(s) is/are being constructed from scratch it may be possible to maintain complete separation between pedestrian traffic coming from the pavement and cycle traffic coming from a road.