The latest plans for City Centre Traffic Management will go before councillors on Tuesday 5th March.
As always with these schemes, the devil is often in the detail, so we are again taking a closer look at the potential of the proposals to improve cycling around central Wolverhampton.
In reality the proposed cycle lanes appear to be painted pavements stopping and starting in odd places.
To cycle clockwise around the pedestrian zone could potentially involve 14 non traffic light dismounts.
Starting from Beatties, SY takes a clockwise look at the new facilities.( Click on image for larger view )
Entrance to Eastbound Sustrans NCN81 onto pavement which stops after 1m.
Shared usage or forced dismount on pavement outside Yates' ?
After hopping back on the road, the Cycleway quickly vanishes opposite Exchange Street on Queen Square ramp.
Would be worth continuing the solid outer line, or even better continuing the green route as a reminder for pedestrians to look both ways without cluttering the location with extra signage?
An Advanced Stop Lane for Westbound traffic would vastly improve the pedestrian experience, discourage red light jumping whilst increasing cyclist safety.
Verdict : 5/10 - Weird entry point and stop/starts.
Signalled pedestrian crossing by HSBC / Barclays routes the cycle lane straight into the path of pedestrians, or will it be dismount and remount?
Continuing the cycle lane in the road then reverting to pavement space on the ramp just after the crossing may be more appropriate?
Similarly, the crossing point at the West side of the Art Gallery seems to introduce conflict with pedestrians.
Shared use or dismount / mount?
Not 100% sure what the black rectangle after the art gallery represents.
Hoping that there will be a push button operated cycle only phase to enter junction of Princess Street.
None of the entrances to this junction have ASL's which would improve pedestrian and cyclist safety.
Advanced Stop Lines would particularly be welcomed here from direction of railway station as National Cycle Network Route 81 forms an important strategic route .
Verdict : 7/10 - Points lost for lack of ASL's.
Now heading Southbound along Princess St, the route stops after a just a few metres over the pedestrian crossing.
The junction of Berry St appears to be well designed with the cycleway marking reinforcing the presence of bikes.
An interesting development is the Northbound cycle lane between Queen St and Berry St.
Presumably this has been designed to enhance the pedestrianisation of the street, which is already undermined via the loading zones on opposite side of the road.
The exit from this is not clear, with potential conflict points
The non-continuous dashed lines indicate that a vehicle can enter the cycle lane, would a continuous line be more appropriate?
The cycle lane Southbound terminates just before the Junction of Queen Street, directing users onto the pavement.
Many cyclists will think it is daft to finish the lane at the point where it may be needed the most.
Will this section be shared usage or dismount / mount?
A continuous route would be much more preferred, especially with the sharp angle of the sight line for riders travelling Southbound turning left into Queen St.
Approaching this two-way section Northbound, cyclists using the marked route will be in the centre of the road just after the junction, which could prove to be a hazardous manoeuvre.
Verdict : 6/10 - Too much potential for conflict?
The Still heading Southbound, the cycle lane could start a bit sooner after the junction, it will be interesting to see how cyclists turn right out of Queen Street.
It's a shame that the lane does not continue across Castle Street and Tower Street. Motor vehicles may not necessarily expect cycles travelling in the different direction.
In terms of the disabled parking and loading bays, will there be anything to stop larger vans or open doors encroaching onto the lane?
The pavement route increases the potential for conflict with pedestrians.
Verdict : 4/10 - Too many stop/starts for such a short section.
A bit of a shame that Market St was not pedestrianised by the police station, this would have helped to encourage public transport operators to use the bus station?
The Southbound entrance into the Garrick St / Bilston St Junction appears to be signal controlled to get cars and buses , so will the button for cyclists be positioned before the pedestrian crossing?
How will service vehicles exiting Bilston St be treated?
Continuing South, again a shame that the cycle lane was interrupted by Old Hall St. Could a stop line in Old Hall St be moved back a few metres, to allow for an uninterrupted flow for bikes?
The lane finishes on the pavement just in front of a pedestrian crossing, how are we supposed to go straight on or right from here?
And finally, evidence that Advanced Stop Lines CAN be planned into schemes like this!
Riders travelling from the West and East directions are given a good amount of visibility AND motorised traffic is further away from pedestrians crossing the road.
Cyclists wishing to go straight over from St George's Parade are given protection with the centre lane markings with a clear point to aim for at the other side, before continuing West onto more painted pavement.
Verdict : 6/10 - Weird stop/starts.
The stop / start approach to the cycle lane is starting to get annoying.
The pavement approach continues to increase the potential for conflict with pedestrians, rather than being a usable route.
The junction of Cleveland St / Summer Row looks particularly bad and does not need such an exaggerated curve.
Verdict : 4/10 - Painted pavement with poor planning.
Another dismount / mount point if you want to ride here.
Will the new pavement cycle lane in Salop St come to an abrupt stop before the next difficult bit, just like the others?
Verdict : 3/10 - At least there's an attempt at a 2-way route for bikes.
Erm, the pavement looks pretty wide for cyclists so a fair few will be heading up Victoria St, rather than via School St (nb I don't condone illegal short-cuts however I can appreciate the distance saved, cycling is supposed to be easy!)
The diversion route along School St could be enhanced with ASL's at the Junction of Skinner St / School St, also at the junction of Darlington St / School St ( a NCN81 junction).
Verdict : 2/10 - Points added for reducing motorised traffic with 1-way Victoria St.
Sub-Total : 37/80
Extra points : 20/20 - for reducing motorised traffic in the City Centre.
Grand-Total : 57/100 - A few cheap tweaks could easily improve the score.
The cycle lanes seem to have been considered as part of the pavement, hence all of the getting on and off.
If they were actually on-road contraflows, there could be a much more positive cycling experience.
Paint on pavement seems to be a keen theme for the lanes, however more thought is needed to get rid of the stop/start points which will make them annoying and little used.
Better planning at junctions is essential to ensure that this is not a white elephant scheme like the bus station.
The plans were unclear whether guard rails will be installed at junctions - This will have a major impact on how the cycleways will function.
Also unclear is how to get more operators to use the bus station. This is critical to the success of Wolverhampton.
The full recommendations and consultation feedback document is available here (PDF, 6Mb)
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nb, this article by SY, resident of Park Ward is just the view of one member of the campaign, and does not necessarily reflect the views of WoWCC.