Consultation, Cyclox further response

20th October 2014

Dear Councillor,

I am writing on behalf of Cyclox with regard to the revised plans for Frideswide Square.

You will be aware the latest version has proposed marked cycle lanes but only approaching the roundabouts from outside the square. However, this overdue ‘improvement’ does not alleviate the key design flaws in the scheme, and we continue to object to the scheme primarily because it will both endanger people on bicycles and deter many people from using bicycles as their mode of transport. In Beckett St, which will become a major street as the Station is redeveloped, the existing two-way segregated cycle path is even removed in these plans.

The key flaws remain as before.

The roundabouts, and in particular the one next to the station, are not suitable for cyclists. As expressed in our previous formal objection, we believe that there is a very real chance of cyclists being squashed under long vehicles here.

• The roundabouts appear to have over-runnable central islands, as such any traffic calming impact of the design will be lost, enable inappropriate speeds by drivers and therefore invite overtaking of cyclists on the roundabouts.

• The two smaller roundabouts have diameters of approximately 17m – 18m, this is less than advised for on-road cyclist safety.

• The new plan has not explained how cyclists can access and exit Frideswide Square without having to negotiate the roundabout.

• Indeed, the whole area of how to get onto the square, e.g. where the dropped curbs will be has not been explained and, whilst this was identified as a problem to be resolved in November 2012, it has proved intractable to this design team. The potential routes for cycling, enabled by the shared area should, are not catered for e.g. crossings over the median areas allowing a shorter path.

I quote from the revised notice:  “The design of exactly how cyclists get on and off the shared paved areas will continue to be investigated to deliver the best possible outcome. The comments made by cyclists in the consultation will be taken into account as the finer detail of design is progressed for things like dropped kerbs for transition points including where they would be best placed for the range of journeys people want to make”

We would like to trust the designer’s intention but, in spite of partial but imperfect solutions discussed two years ago, nothing definite has appeared. The team appears to lack the will to provide for all cyclists. The access to and from the shared area is key. Without it being safe and convenient to do so the whole scheme must be neither safe nor convenient. Cyclists must be able to avoid the roundabouts without delays to their journeys. The 50-60mm kerbs must not trap them.

This is not a “finer detail”, but in fact is – literally – a life and death issue. If this scheme goes for pricing, with details as an ‘afterthought’, subsequent design solutions such as the smooth grading and adequate breadth required for dignified cycling, are likely to be small, steep and uncomfortable.

In addition, it remains legal (and almost certainly more convenient) for cyclists to remain on the main carriageways through the square. We remain unconvinced that the claimed narrow lanes will prevent drivers (often frustrated after rush hour queues) from overtaking cyclists, and this will be extremely dangerous. The pull-in areas for buses, bordering the ‘narrow lanes’, mean that the roadway will appear to be a double lane, 7m or 8m wide. This will be the opposite of the claimed narrow lane.

Cyclox therefore continues to argue that the new scheme is dangerous, and must be rejected by Cabinet at this stage.

Yours sincerely, Dan Levy (On behalf of Cyclox).