Big Dig letters: Take Two

Further to the previous post it is not just Dynamo that is concerned by the way that simple measures to protect cycling during Lancaster’s drain renovations appear to have been dismissed by Lancashire County Council and United Utilities.

The below letter from local CTC Right to Ride representative Matt Hodges, catches both the exasperation of people campaigning for cycling promotion and the in depth knowledge of various legal frameworks that often support cycling but appear to be overlooked by those with authority.

What the letter also demonstrates is the authority that Lancashire County Council has had in approving United Utilities to put in place a traffic plan without incorporating cycle access (despite these concerns having cropped up at previous meetings between cycling advocates and council representatives).

 

Hi Eddie

I am extremely unhappy that you came to our meeting last week clearly determined from the start that no matter what I said you would not alter in any way the United Utilities traffic plan which treats cyclists so abysmally. For LCC Highways to abdicate responsibility and hide behind the hacks hired by United Utilities is outrageous. LCC is the Highway Authority. Andy Ashcroft’s signature is on the bottom of this TRO. He is responsible for approving this plan on behalf of LCC

Buried in the voluminous detail of this confusing TRO is a ban on CYCLISTS using George Street and Spring Garden Street.AND FURTHER, during the period of the said closure, Motor vehicles and cycles with the exception of Buses, Taxis, Access and loading by Goods Vehicles, will be temporarily prohibited from proceeding over the lengths of road specified in the first column and in the direction as specified in the second column, below the attached Schedule to this Notice.

  • Temporary Prohibition of Driving (Buses, Taxis, Access and loading by Goods Vehicles):
    George Street From its junction with Thurnham Street to its junction with Penny Street
    Spring Garden Street From its junction with Penny Street to its junction with King Street.

What is the excuse for this outrageous closure of a key cycle route across the Giratory? Or didn’t you even read it before rubber stamping this rubbish from United Utilities so called traffic management “expert consultants”.

To return to North Road:
You told me that to put a contraflow cycle lane on the west side of North Road would require DFT approval and would have to be submitted to them as a permanent scheme. This is not so.
Certainly TAL6/98 saysAuthorisation Procedure Where a highway authority wishes to introduce a scheme that includes an advisory contraflow cycle lane, or contraflow cycling in the absence of any such cycle lane, it will need to apply for authorisation for sign NP960.2. Working drawings are available from DETR. Applications should be addressed in the first instance to the Government Office for the Region in England,Note the authorisation is only for the sign.However – The Traffic Signs Policy Paper – Signing the Way dispensed with this requirement.Contraflow cycling 5.37 As part of the announcement for this review, English local authorities will be able to place the combined sign “no entry except cycles” where they consider appropriate. Trials undertaken for the review in the Royal Borough of Kensington and Chelsea, and further trials undertaken for research for TfL, have indicated that the number of motor vehicles which contravened the restrictions was halved and there was an increase in the number of cyclists using the contraflow schemes compared to the prescribed solution of using the “no motor vehicles” traffic sign.

5.38 The Amendment Regulations will prescribe a sign to indicate to road users that un-segregated contraflow cycling is permitted on a one-way road. This is a frequently requested sign through the authorisation process. Figure 5.6 illustrates this sign and the “no entry except cycles” sign combination. The Department will update is Traffic Advisory Leaflet 6/98, Contraflow Cycling Lanes, to reflect these changes

So you can put in an advisory contraflow cycling lane down the West side of North Road. Clearly to do so the present parking bays need to be removed or relocated to the east side. There is room. If there was room for Parking, Traffic Flow and Cycle Contraflow when traffic flow was north then there is room to reverse the whole scheme when traffic flow is south. The same applies on lower church street.
You also told me that any contraflow cycle lane introduced as part of a temporary traffic management scheme for Statutory Undertakers had to be separated by barriers.

TAL 15/99 Cyclists at Roadworks talks about problems for cyclists caused by roadworks.

Firstly I would point out that this is referring to traffic at the site of roadworks NOT temporary arrangements away from the actual site to mitigate the disruption.

Secondly It stresses the need to maintain two way cycle access. Maintaining Access: Wherever possible, access should be maintained for cyclists in both directions throughout the period of road works, avoiding more hazardous diversions. Cyclists are unlikely to accept lengthy detours or long delays. In such conditions some cyclists will be tempted to ride contra-flow or use the footway.

Thirdly it stresses the need to keep existing cycle facilities open. Existing Cycle Facilities: Where there is cycle provision, such as cycle lanes or tracks, efforts should be made to keep these open or to provide an acceptable alternative during the road works. They should not be blocked by signs, debris, plant, etc.

Fourthly it mentions segregated cycle lanes on Dual Carriageways or Multi-lane roads.Special Provision: Cyclists will often ride contra-flow or use the footway to avoid potential hazards or lengthy diversions. This can be avoided by, for instance, providing a segregated cycle lane or route away from the carriageway. This kind of provision is likely to be desirable or even essential on dual carriageways or multi-lane roads.

It clearly does not say that a contraflow cycle lane MUST be segregated and protected by barriers. Clearly this is desirable or even necessary where there is a high motor traffic flow through a narrow  very restricted space. This is not the case in North Road. The width is adequate for a contraflow cycle lane. It has had one for years. The reversal of flow means it needs to be reversed to the other side.

Clearly the reasons you gave for banning cyclists from riding northbound on North Road do not hold water.

I call on you to revise this scheme promptly providing a contraflow cycle lane on the west side of North Road and either removing or re-siting the parking onto the east side. This will also require a cyclists GIVE WAY where it crosses the bus access to Damside Street and a small extension of the cycle lane that has come round the corner from Chapel Street.

Similarly the contraflow cycle lane on Lower church street needs to be on the South Side and the Loading bay (if justified) should he on the north side. (I can see little justification for the loading bay on Lower Church Street as St Nicholas Arcade has a large loading area.)
Also the TRO should be altered to remove the cycle ban on George Street and Spring Garden Street.

Matt Hodges
Right to Ride Representative, CTC – the national cycling charity.

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About lancasterdynamo

Dynamo is a cycling group, established in 1994, to work with official bodies, other cycling organisations and interested individuals to promote cycling as a safe, enjoyable and healthy means of transport.
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