The following is our response to the engagement event carried out by the council for changes that are being developed for the Great North Road between Broadway and Brunton Lane. The engagement web page is here. The drawing that was produced for this is included below.
As the proposed scheme is currently going through engagement, this is not an endorsement of the scheme, but an opportunity for us to make comments. We hope these comments will be useful to the council in developing the scheme further.
Overall the scheme is encouraging. It is good to see continuous cycle infrastructure that is protected along a fast and busy main road.
It is good to see that the cycleway is being given priority over side road traffic.
In addition to the proposed changes, the council needs to look at providing a sufficient number of safe ways for pedestrians and cyclists to travel across the Great North Road. There may be places where crossing may be better suited compared to where they are in the drawing. For example we feel the crossing south of Polwarth Drive should be closer to the junction to more directly follow natural desire lines. Another example would be beside the Three Mile Inn. There is obviously a need for a crossing here as a bridge has been provided, but this bridge offers no inclusive access (is not suitable for cyclists, wheelchair users, people with prams or people on mobility scooters due to the steps on the ramps). Hence a inclusive crossing that allows all users to cross here is needed. There are many other areas where walk/cycle crossings are needed along this severing road corridor.
Where crossing points are included it’s good to see that they are straight, rather than the often used cattle pen design. This will make using the crossings much more comfortable to cyclists.
For local residents who may want to use the new facilities, the lack of crossings could add significant length on to their journeys if they want to use the infrastructure as intended. This lack of lateral access points could put local people off cycling here, and could open the council up to complaints from local residents and politicians that the changes while causing disruption that affects local people, offers little benefit.
On the drawing, it is explained that the cycleway is 2m wide, this width should be the usable width, taking in to account any obstruction on or around the cycleway.
Consistent design concept
Along a road with vehicles travelling at 30mph, a physical buffer must be provided between the carriageway and cycleway. It is good to see that this has been provided in places, though a shame in other areas where t has not been included, as the road width available along this entire area would allow it. Consistency and clarity in the design approach is needed.
At the southern end of the scheme, there are numerous green cycleway sections. What is not shown is how these sections will be designed in detail. These details matter. They are key to how comfortable and safe the cycleway will be to use at these points. At this early stage in the scheme’s development, while the exact design may not be decided, something indicative would allow us to provide comments before more time is spent creating detailed designs.
A small entry for cycles has been provided on to Glamis Avenue, while we support allowing entry on to the avenue, it is not clear how the entry from the Great North Road is supposed to be used. The inclusion of this may create uncertainty about how cyclists should use the facilities here.
It is good to see a reduction in speed limit being proposed.
It is not clear how the cycleway will be separated from the footway. While these plans are not detailed, it would be useful to know at this point what is planned, so that we could provide feedback on what is planned, before more time is spent on more detailed work.
We are also noticing, that the roundabout at Polwarth Drive has two motor lanes to go North going into the roundabout, yet only one on the exit from the roundabout, this will likely lead to conflict within the junction. This should probably be made so that only one of the lanes is for straight ahead traffic.
In conclusion and summary, we thank the council for the opportunity to feedback our thoughts on this encouraging-looking scheme. We hope we have been sufficiently clear in our comments and that council can use them. Given the time frame we do not claim the above listing to be exhaustive but that it rather provides a good foundation for further discussion we seek with the council engineers and planners.