Coventry’s Transport Strategy

Coventry Council recently consulted on its Transport Strategy.

The “aspiration to create a city where it is easy, convenient and safe to walk, cycle and travel on public transport, and where most people do not need to use a car to access the services that they need for day-to-day life” is welcome.

Better cycle access to Coventry Railway Station is needed. All of Coventry is within a reasonable cycling distance.

Area within the ring road

The “shared space” junctions on the “inner circulatory route” are currently perceived as high risk by many would-be cyclists. Those and the one-way sections on the route lead to footway cycling.

Inner Circulatory Route – shown by a blue line

Coventry council needs to commit to making the “inner circulatory route” a high quality through route for cycling. Shared cyclist/pedestrian use on both the route itself and access to it over/under the ring road is bad for both user groups. Where the level of motor traffic cannot be reduced enough to provide adequate perceived cycling safety, segregation from motor traffic is needed.

Air Quality Scheme

Coventry Council is consulting on changes at junction 7 of the ring road, Barras Lane and Spon End.

Deadline for responses: 15 December 2021.

The survey form, with my responses in red

1 How are you responding to this survey? As a representative of an organisation (please specify): Cycling UK (CTC Coventry)

2 Are you concerned about air quality in Coventry? Yes

Spon End

These questions relate to the Spon End part of the scheme only.

To remove the pinch point which causes congestion at Spon End and to reduce traffic delays and queuing we will:

  • widen from the former Black Horse and through the railway arches to Godiva Carpets to remove a pinch point. The Black Horse is locally listed but since it was listed, major alterations have been carried out which have changed the inside of the building. Demolition will be subject to planning approval
  • widen the footpath outside properties on Spon End providing opportunities for planters and environmental improvements
  • provide alternative parking for residents and businesses within the site of the current Godiva Carpets, where existing limited on-street parking needs to be removed
  • widen from Upper Spon Street to Windsor Street to provide two lanes towards the city and provide space for shared cycleway and footpath
  • provide a shared cycleway and footpath and link the cycleway to Upper Spon Street and Meadow Street to the city centre
  • upgrade pedestrian crossings to toucan crossings to provide a safer cycle link to Junction 7
  • upgrade traffic signals to facilitate dynamic traffic management, this means we can change the signal timings to respond to changes in the traffic flows

3. Remembering that we have been directed by Government to do this, are there any elements of the Spon End scheme which you think could be improved to make it better for people living and/or working nearby? Please include location details where appropriate.

Improve the cycle link between Albany Road and Meadow Street. This will make it easier for people to cycle from Albany Road to either Spon Street or Croft Road.

Crossing Butts Road at Albany Road is a more direct route to Spon Street than cycling via Windsor Street. The same consideration applies to people cycling from the Spon Street area to Albany Road.

Crossing Butts Road at Albany Road brings people cycling from Albany Road to the left side of the carriageway at Croft Road, which is a more appropriate position for re-joining the carriageway than the right side.

I expect that people cycling in the opposite direction (from Croft Road to Albany Road) will prefer the route along the south side of Butts Road.

4 Do you think the Spon End scheme will help improve air quality in Coventry?

Not sure

5 Do you have any other comments about the Spon End scheme?

The added capacity will leave a long-lasting legacy of increased motor traffic. It’s a pity that nothing is proposed to encourage people travelling along the Allesley Old Road corridor to use Active Travel rather than cars.

Ring Road Junction 7

These questions relate to the Junction 7 proposals only. 

To remodel Junction 7 including removing the roundabout and Moat Street car park and replace with a direct route from Spon End to the city centre, we will:

  • remove the existing roundabout and replace with a new, more direct, road layout controlled by traffic lights  providing more direct routes for pedestrians and cyclists to where – the city centre?
  • close the existing subways
  • remove the existing car park and raise the ground levels to enable the new junction layout
  • create spaces with landscaping and planting for wildlife to transform the area which is currently dominated by vehicular traffic
  • provide direct walking and cycling routes up to 5 metres wide with toucan crossings to make it easier for people to cross the junction

6 Remembering that we have been directed by Government to do this, are there any elements of the Junction 7 scheme which you think could be improved to make it better for people living and/or working nearby? Please include location details where appropriate.

No comment

7 Do you think the Ring Road Junction 7 scheme will help improve air quality in Coventry?

Yes

8 Do you have any other comments about the Ring Road Junction 7 scheme?

No

Upper Hill Street/Barras Lane

The next three questions relate to the Upper Hill Street/Barras Lane elements only.

To close the right turn from Holyhead Road to Barras Lane and remove one of the key congestion points in the city, we will:

  • create a left-turn from the Ring Road slip road into Upper Hill Street to enable the removal of the right-turn movement from Holyhead Road to Barras Lane
  • make Barras Lane (Upper Hill Street side) one way from Coundon Road to Holyhead Road
  • remove the signals at the junction of Holyhead Road and Barras Lane, but the pedestrian crossing across Holyhead Road will remain
  • narrow Holyhead Road between Barras Lane and the Ring Road and provide landscaping and pull in bays
  • provide parking bays on Barras Lane
  • remove the car park on Upper Hill Street (near to St. Osburg’s school) and replace with landscaping
  • remove the parking bays on Upper Hill Street near to the school between the Ring Road and school entrance
  • provide a pedestrian crossing in Upper Hill Street outside St. Osburg’s School
  • complete the segregated cycleway from the rail crossing at Coundon Road to link with the Hill Street Bridge
  • provide a new signalised junction at the Upper Hill Street / Barras Lane /Coundon Road / Abbots Lane junction

9 Remembering that we have been directed by Government to do  this, are there any elements of the Upper Hill Street/Barras Lane scheme which you think could be improved to make it better for people living and/or working nearby? Please include location details where appropriate.

Provision should be made for two-way cycling along one of the routes crossing Holyhead Road between the railway and the ring road.  Possibly using one of the pedestrian crossings on Holyhead Road.  This would reduce severance and open up a cycling alternative to the B4107 between Earlsdon Street and Lydgate Road.

Recent planning applications for residential housing in the Abbots Lane area have stressed a desire to have low car use – improving cycling links between the South-West and the North directions would complement the links being built along Coundon Rd and Upper Hill Street.

10 Do you think the Upper Hill Street/Barras Lane scheme will help improve air quality in Coventry?

Yes

11 Do you have any other comments about the Upper Hill Street/Barras Lane scheme?

No

12 Is there anything else you want to tell us about improving air quality in Coventry?

No

Re-imagining transport

The West Midlands Combined Authority is required by Law to publish and review a Local Transport Plan for the area covered by Coventry, Solihull, Birmingham, Dudley, Sandwell, Walsall and Wolverhampton.

In the past, transport planning has been based on the “Predict and Provide” principle.  That is, “Predict” where under-capacity or safety will be a problem and then provide more roads and/or railways.

Policy makers are beginning to recognise the problems with this approach:

  • Increasing CO2 emissions
  • Streets blocked with cars – parked and (slowly) moving
  • Public health problems due to people having little or no physical exercise
  • Problems accessing services for those who can’t access a car
  • Deaths from air pollution
  • Significant resistance from residents to new road and railway construction

To name a just a few. So this “Green Paper” proposes an alternative. Instead of “more of the same”, transport projects should be assessed according to how much they help with broad societal objectives.  Namely:

  • Creating a fairer society
  • Supporting local communities and places
  • Making people more (physiologically) active
  • Achieving net zero greenhouse gas emissions by 2041
  • Sustaining economic success

It’s important to understand where local policy makers are coming from; in order to come up with convincing arguments for spending more on cycling infrastructure.

There’s a survey as well, closing time: 23:59 on Friday 24th September 2021.

Cycle Routes Report June 2020

Coventry Coundon Cycleway

This promises to be of a quality never before seen in Coventry or Warwickshire. A three metre wide path separated from both pedestrians and motor traffic with priority over side streets.

There is  opposition from residents who regard the storing of cars on the public highway as a basic right. There are petitions both for and against.

People who live or work in the council wards close to the route should contact the councillors expressing support. The affected wards are

  • Bablake (NE of Hollyfast Rd)
  • Radford (NE of Barker’s Butts Lane)
  • Sherbourne (SW of the route).

Details of the route can be found here.

Pop-up infrastructure

Due to the need for social distancing, the government is advising people to avoid using public transport.  There’s a fear that this will lead to massive road congestion if commuters switch to cars as the lockdown is relaxed. In response to this, the Department of Transport has made £250 million available to local authorities, telling them to make significant changes to their road layouts, giving more space to cyclists and pedestrians.

However, buses and trains have a small share of transport in Coventry and the Warwickshire towns, except for journeys to schools and colleges, so it is likely that little will be implemented here.

If you know a place where there are considerable numbers of cyclists and where low cost temporary measures, such as planters or barriers, would greatly improve conditions, please email your local councillors about the issue. Copy in the relevant council cabinet members.  In Coventry those would be Jim O’Boyle, Patricia Hetherton and Kamran Caan.

Shows bollardsBollards block heavy traffic Pop-up protected cycle laneLeicester pop-up protected cycle lanes

Canal Towpath

The towpath between bridge 4 (where the Stoney Stanton Road meets Leicester Causeway) and Hawkesbury junction is due to be re-surfaced to 2.2m before the Autumn.

Warwickshire’s Cycling Infrastructure Plan

Warwickshire County Council is inviting input to their Local Cycling and Walking Infrastructure Plan (LCWIP).  A LCWIP is needed when they make  funding bids for infrastructure projects. Please respond. I suggest making your response as wide ranging as possible. E.g:

  • Routes to access schools, colleges, hospitals, business parks, leisure centres, parks, railway and bus stations etc.
  • Direct routes between the suburbs and town centres
  • Routes between towns and villages
  • Highlight barriers to cycling

Link

Vehicle battery factory at Coventry Airport?

There’s a proposal to build a vehicle battery factory on the land currently occupied by Coventry Airport.

Details, and a chance to comment on the proposals, can be found at http://www.gigafactoryconsultation.co.uk (note that the page is slow to load).

I’ve already made the following comment:

1) The battery factory will generate a lot of HGV traffic. What about a railway link to the West Coast Main Line (WCML) at a point just east of the A46? HS2 is supposed to free WCML capacity for freight.

2) The cycle routes need to be a lot better than the recently installed shared use path on the north side of Rowley Road. Cyclists on that path are expected to give way to traffic turning into and out of premises at fourteen points in a distance of about a mile.

Do local highway engineers understand the concept of Kinetic Energy and the fact that cyclists must generate their own? Have they ever heard of Department Of Transport publication “Cycle Infrastructure Design (LTN 1/20)” ?

On Your Bike and Vote!

On Thursday, 6 May there are elections for West Midlands Combined Authority mayor.

Cycle campaigners have been busy contacting candidates, asking them to “sign up” to a pledge for an active travel revolution.  What the candidates were asked and their responses are here.

There’s interviews of the main candidates on their attitude to cycling as well.

If you like what a candidate says, please tell them so by email or Twitter.  The Birmingham Cycling Campaign (Pushbikes) have listed the email addresses and twitter accounts at the end of this blog post

Coventry City Council, Solihull Borough Council and Warwickshire County Council are holding elections too, so if you might want to contact candidates there as well.  Link to the answers that candidates for Warwickshire County Council gave to cycle campaigners.

Note district councils don’t have control of highways.

Cannon Park Cycleway

Coventry City Council is consulting on possible improvements to the cycling route between Warwick University’s Lynchgate Road entrance and Fletchamsted Highway (Canley Ford).

Click here for an expanded version of the plan.

When responding to the Council, you may wish to support some modifications to the plans:

    1. Installing wands to protect cyclists on the “contra-flow” cycle lane along the Fletchamstead Highway service road north-west of Charter Avenue and at the Charter Avenue / Cannon Hill Road junction.
    2. Making the “pop up” lane along Charter Avenue permanent.
    3. Upgrading the un-signalled crossing of Lynchgate Road north of Shultern Lane. Possibly use a parallel zebra.  A two stage crossing would be overkill for the sort of traffic speeds which should be aimed for.
    4. Lighting of any path or cycleway through the wooded areas by Aldi.
    5. A toucan crossing on Kirby Corner Road just before Lynchgate Road to provide a shorter route between the university entrance and Charter Avenue (West).
    6. Sign-posting the route along Albany Road, Earlsdon Street and The Riddings as a way of cycling between the city centre and Lynchgate Road. It passes more homes than the Canley Ford / Kenilworth Road route. It doesn’t involve unlit woods, narrow bridges shared with pedestrians  and steep gradients either.

Adam Tranter, Coventry’s Bicycle Mayor, has produced a map of what he thinks the scheme should look like.

 

The consultation website is at

https://letstalk.coventry.gov.uk/cannonparkcycleway

Deadline: Sunday 11th April 2021

Foleshill Road

Coventry City Council is consulting on possible improvements.

Adam Tranter, Coventry’s Bicycle Mayor, has a good grasp of the ideas under consideration.

He writes

“Foleshill Road is one of the most hostile areas in the city for cycling, walking and driving. New average speed cameras are already coming in, but through the government’s Active Travel Fund, there is now funding for a cycle lane from the city centre to just past the Lockhurst Lane junction. Combined with potential bus gates, the through traffic in the area can be much decreased and alternative transport options provided. The majority of traffic on Foleshill Road is not adding any value to the community – most are using it as a cut through to get to the M6 and/or the city centre (people should be using the A444); as such, the road is one of the worst polluted in the city.”

“The scheme’s budget will mean the council will use wands for segregation from traffic for people cycling and there will be junction safety improvements for cycling; cyclists will have priority over side roads and the route will be continuous and direct.”

The council is taking on board every consultation response, so if you’re able to support the scheme, showing it by completing the web form would be much appreciated.  As Adam puts it “A lot of people drive through the area and will be frustrated that they will no longer be able to do so. Therefore, it’s important to make sure there are as many positive voices as possible.” If people are to switch from car to bicycle, it’s important that the routes are direct and cyclists are not held up by long delays at traffic signals.  People walking shouldn’t have a long wait to cross Foleshill Road either.

Adam also writes that “public realm improvements including parklets (mini seating areas in the space of parking bays) as well as general improvement of the shopping areas should be implemented as soon as possible.”

 

The consultation website is at

https://letstalk.coventry.gov.uk/foleshillroad

Deadline: Sunday 11th April 2021

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