Friday, 2 September 2016

(not so)Quietway 6 - the joy of shared-use footways!

To say I'm unimpressed is quite an understatement!  

How can the same organisations and authorities get it so right with the East-West Cycle Superhighway, CS5, CS2/X/U and even much of Quietway 1 mess up so royally on this?!   

Here's what I sent to Tower Hamlets via their online form (you can respond in seconds and could win a £50 M&S card!): 

We all have our biases and pet peeves. What really grinds my gears is street designers often ignoring equality and safety laws by not giving safe routes for blind people or disabled cyclists in particular. 

Comments on entire scheme:

The designs will not enable cycling by all and are almost entirely unacceptable.  

Many young, old, disabled and utility cyclists / potential cyclists with either be totally excluded or very badly served by this route.  

The plans are almost entirely a collection of revised speed bumps and the raised tables - like we are seeing on most Quietway plans now.    

Wasting so much money on surfacing and paving is wrong, but when it is proposed to spend absolutely nothing on dedicated, accessible cycling infrastructure, it would be unforgivable.  

To have not even one metre of dedicated cycle track on a major cycle route like this is utterly insane.   

The designs retain and introduce many dangerous pinch points.  Instead of pinch points, point closures and filters should be used instead.  

The route is bizarre and indirect, repeatedly being routed onto footways, which is totally inappropriate for a major cycle route in an urban environment.

Not a single road on the route will be a formal Cycle Street.  Why?  If the streets are to be quiet enough for a Quietway, they will be suitable to be designated Cycle Streets.  You can't do a proper route like this on back streets without creating genuine Cycle Streets, where cars are treated as guests.  

Whilst ASLs (advance stop lines) are not an ideal form of cycle infrastructure, the near total absence of them on a route like this with no cycle tracks is unacceptable. 

Comments on specific proposals:
1. Junction narrowing only appropriate if motor traffic banned.  Current plan brings cycles and motor vehicles into conflict. Continuous footway a good thing, but should not be paid for from cycling budget.

2. Raised corner could increase risk to pedestrians.  Another pinch point is included. Extra general parking space included - new parking spaces should be for either electric cars or disabled bays.  

2.2 - More road humps and a 'Jeremy Vine' design.  A narrow road with parking on either side that isn't a designated Cycle Street will cause conflict.  Many drivers do not understand that cyclists are meant to ride in the middle of the carriageway in such circumstances, and will harass and abuse them, like happened to Jeremy Vine recently.  Unless the road is properly filtered and designated a Cycle Street, it will be dangerous and unpleasant.  

3. The parking bays on the north side of Worley Street and the end of Morpeth Street should be reduced to improve visibility.  Consideration should be give to altering the corner to be a formal junction giving clear priority to the cycle route. 

4. Bollard position at park entrance could make it inaccessible to cycles used by disabled people.  No bollard should be used at all unless there is a proven need for one.  Yet another altered speed bump is pretty much all that is offered.   4.2 Unsegregated shared-use footpaths are totally unsuitable for a major cycle route.  This will cause such significantly poor levels of service and comfort for many disabled people, especially blind and deaf people - to an extent that is probably illegal under the Equality Act.  An Equality Impact Assessment will be required.  There is ample space to have separate cycle and foot paths.  Mixing high volumes of cyclists and pedestrians is totally inappropriate and breeds conflict.  

5. See comments to 4.2. Further use of shared space that causes conflict and a bollard that is inaccessible and will cause injuries. 

6. Another proposal for an illegally-discriminatory shared footway.  The junction will require cyclists to make movements and be positioned on parts of the road that drivers will not be expecting.  A separate cycle track should be built that connects directly to Arbery Road and would thus not require any cyclists to use the footway.  A giraffe crossing instead of a Toucan would be more appropriate.  

7. Shared-use footway without tactile paving is extremely dangerous.  Instead, a clearly-delineated cycle track should connect Viking Close and Lyall Road.  Extending double yellow lines is essential and welcome.  The narrow usable carriageway of Saxon Road will bring drivers and cyclists into conflict, this could be reduced by removing parking bays or changing the road to become a Home Zone or Cycle Street. 

8. Middle bollard at end of Sutherland Road and at junction with Cardigan Road is unnecessary and inaccessible.  Use of shared footpaths highly undesirable and likely to provoke conflict.  Route unsuitable for high volumes of cyclists. 

9. Removing the islands is welcome, bollards should be wide enough to permit use by all kinds of cycles, especially those used by disabled people.  Keep clear hatching welcome.  Junctions in this section will only work if there are very low levels of slow-moving motor traffic - if traffic is heavy and/or fast, then more filtering will be required. 

10. Relocation of parking welcome.  Pedestrians refuges cause pinch points and no-overtaking cyclists signs would be required if they are to be retained.  Raised table of questionable benefit without filtering.  Parking should be prioritised for disabled people - at least some of relocated bays should be disabled bays.  There are grossly-insufficient wayfinding signage and symbols proposed it is totally unclear where the cycle route even goes.  

11. Yet more unnecessary shared-use footways.  There is no reason whatsoever not to have a clearly-delineated cycle track separate from the footway through this section.  Again, this section will create unnecessary pedestrian-cyclist conflict that will be particularly severe for blind and deaf people.  Moving the fence to create space is welcome and makes a defined cycle track and separate footway even more possible.  The cycle track should connect directly to the road, not go via a footway.  The retention of the bollards will cause serious difficulties for cyclists in accessible/recumbent/cargo bikes to continue North.  The design of the shared footway will encourage cyclists to be positioned in unexpected places on the road and cause conflict and collisions.  

12. Instead of having buff-painted borders, cycle lanes or tracks should be used.  It is unclear why chevrons will be used here and nowhere else on the route. These would be unnecessary if the road was a Cycle Street.  Cycle symbols in the middle of a lane are meant to indicate to all where cyclists should ride-however that only happens in the minds of planners.  Almost no-one understands what these symbols mean.  The bus stop location is extremely dangerous, covering the end of a T-junction.  Instead it should be located further north and instead of inset parking, a bus stop bypass should be used.  Alternatively the bus route(s) should be moved to another nearby street.  There is an extremely dangerous pinch-point at the junction of Cedar Close and Parnell Road, with no ASL or filtering.Resoond here now!

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