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.
Bollards block heavy traffic
Leicester pop-up protected cycle lanes
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.
Despite the gloom and doom about the pandemic, it really is an extremely exciting time with so many local developments in the local infrastructure, much of which I can see you have on the website.
Also worthy of mention are:
1 CANNON PARK CYCLEWAY
This is currently out for consultation as the attached scans distributed locally. It includes the Charter Ave pop-up path already on the net which will become permanent if the project goes ahead.
2 THE SUSTRANS LIAS LINE – NATIONAL CYCLE NETWORK ROUTE 41.
This exciting project will include a sealed surface path on the Leamington – Rugby disused railway line between the Fosse Way and Birdingbury Station, and the branch line from near the Fosse as far as the Blue Lias pub east of Long Itchington. The project has funding and is currently awaiting planning permission. This link has moe details –
Adam Tranter has made a video about Coventry’s cycling history:
In this short documentary, Adam explains the history of cycling in Coventry, and the realities of cycling in Coventry today. Comparisons to Amsterdam and the rest of the Netherlands are made.
The video will be shown at the opening of Culture Space Coventry’s gearing up exhibition on 12 March. The exhibition features over 80 cycles and celebrates the history, unique designs, and benefits of cycling. The exhibition will continue to 13 June, by which time it is hoped that it will be open for viewing in person at the Transport Museum, as well as for online browsing.
You can find out more about Adam here or follow him on Twitter
Here’s what I’ve been up to between December 2020 and February 2021:
A46 Strategic Link Road
With new housing at Kings Hill and the planned expansion of the University of Warwick, growing traffic levels between the A46 (Stoneleigh junction), and the University of Warwick are predicted to cause significantly longer journey times. Warwickshire County Council and Coventry Council are proposing that a new road be built between the A46 junction and either the A429 or to the University itself. It would be a dual carriageway, taking a width of 50 metres. I submitted an alternative suggestion:
Demand reduction for Stoneleigh Road and Gibbet Hill Road:
Change use of Westwood Business Park to residential. Student accommodation would be ideal.
Re-locate the University of Warwick car parking much closer to the A46 Stoneleigh junction. That would greatly reduce the number of vehicles using
Stoneleigh Road and Gibbet Hill Road, as buses are much more efficient people movers than single occupancy cars. Cycling and micro mobility solutions for use
between the new car parking and the campus would add flexibility.
Following a little controversy in the local newspaper, I had a letter published in defence of cycleways.
Hipswell Highway / The Drive
Commented on the scheme to introduce speed cushions and 20 mph speed limit. Suggested moving centre island closer to Meredith Road to make it easier for people cycling southwards along Hipswell Highway to turn right into Meredith Road.
Coventry City Centre South
Commented on outline planning application (OUT/2020/2876):
The removal of surplus car parking capacity and the end of the City Arcade and Barracks car parks are welcome steps.
It should be an aim to end the dominance of cars on the inner circulatory road in order to encourage people to use pedal cycles and micro mobility vehicles on it.
Emergency Active Travel cycleway scheme
I emailed the lead councillor for City Centre in support of the scheme following a call from Adam Tranter. I included in the message that I considered a cycleway connecting Warwick University’s Lynchgate Rd entrance with the Charter Ave and Sir Henry Parkes Road facilities is much needed. It needs to be segregated from both pedestrians and motor traffic with priority over traffic accessing Cannon Park Shopping Centre.
Missed opportunity to support a scheme for a 20 mph speed limit, chicanes and speed cushions. It’s quite an important link for cycling between east Coventry and the Stivichall Interchange (for Baginton, Cubbington and Warwick).
Here’s a report from Adam Tranter on the current status of the Coundon Cycleway which is subject to both ‘For’ and ‘Against’ campaigns!
I wanted to share what I think is an exciting update on the Coundon cycleway. I discussed with officers today who have provided an update on the designs after consultation ahead of a council meeting on Monday.
The meeting will discuss the “anti” Coundon petition as well as the “pro” one (which has considerably more signatures) and give a general project update. I am told that everybody (except for Cllr Glen Williams, who thinks the consultation has been rushed – despite a record response rate) is totally committed and behind the project and it will pass with no problem. Ian Court who set up the pro petition has been invited to speak at the meeting also.
Cllr Patricia Hetherton, the Cabinet Member responsible, is particularly enthusiastic about the plans and I met to discuss with her the week before last. Therefore I see the meeting on Monday as more of a formality because of the petitions raised than a debate.
It also means the revised designs are now available. I have had these checked independently by a leading active travel planner at the start of the consultation and again now, who said “The team should be rightly commended for their work because this is shaping up to be up there as one of the best UK projects.”
During the consultation, I suggested to the Council that they should adopt “Dutch style” entrances (continuous footway and cycleway with level change for vehicles) to make doubly clear pedestrian and cycle route priority, reduce speed and – in some cases – close additional side roads to reduce through traffic. I am pleased that these have been fully taken on board and the new drawings now include Dutch-style entrances, the first for Coventry and a rarity in the UK. We also have what I believe are Coventry’s first parallel zebra crossings; zebras that you can also cycle over without dismounting; these work well in Waltham Forst and driver compliance is high.
(A Dutch-style entrance)
I’m aware the route is short but this will be the first dedicated and high quality segregated cycle route in Coventry. The same design principles will be applied to the Binley route and I hope that with support from us all, we can build on the appetite for additional high-quality routes and start to build a genuine network.
One interesting thing is following the initial plans, more side roads have been “cut off” from the main roads, making for more pleasant neighbourhood roads. This has come straight from the politicians and I believe there will be increased appetite for low traffic neighbourhood schemes in future. It’s something I’ve been educating members about and banging the drum for as low-cost interventions that can have a big impact.
I would like Cllr Hetherton to have as much positive feedback as possible thanking her and officers for the great work so far. If you agree, you could drop a short message to firstname.lastname@example.org thanking her for her support and that you’re excited to see the Coundon route progressing. I think it’s important that when Councillors stand up for cycling – even with some public disquiet – that they’re given confidence and reward to do so again.
As background, I am attaching:
– A Cabinet Member report on the scheme
– Appendix A – Scheme Details
– Appendix B – Consultation Summary
Now – not everything is perfect on the cycling front but I think we are making progress. I am on at the Council to accelerate the pop up cycle routes which have still not started, for example.
I also joined a webinar on the new Station Masterplan and have set up an urgent follow up meeting with the Council to go through the cycling provision. While the entrance towards Greyfriars Green is becoming increasingly friendly for active travel; the entrance from Warwick Road is not conducive to getting people visiting by active travel at all; some of this is down to the attitude of Network Rail on cycling between the bus interchange and the main station – which is 6m wide but will be “no cycling”. I’m working to change this.
Here’s a brief update on other things on at the moment, from the Council:
We’re expecting a decision on Tranche 2 EATF regional bid soon, which includes segregated cycle routes along Foleshill Road, Charter Avenue and the first part of the regional LCWIP route from the hospital to the city centre. The consultation on the main Binley Road section is due to commence this month.
With regard to the remaining Tranche One schemes, Government only confirmed the funding allocations for those schemes on 26th June. Since then, we have been working on finalising the designs and procuring the materials required such as barriers and kerbing.
The pop-up cycle route linking the city centre with the Canal Basin across the ring road via Upper Well Street is soon to start on site.
We have also secured supplementary funding for further schemes around the University of Warwick. Improvements to the route via Canley Ford are on site currently and a pop-up route along Charter Avenue is to follow. Although not EATF, we have a major improvement to the canal towpath underway at present too.