Mr Chris Barker
Traffic Management and Road
Wolverhampton City Council
Wolverhampton WV3 0SQ
25 October 2002
Dear Mr Barker,
Thank you very much for inviting me to comment on a number of schemes.
I apologise for the delay in replying. I was able only this Monday to consult with my Right to Ride colleague Tim Jones for the first time since receiving the letters.
1. Minor improvements - Church walk, Bradmore
This scheme gets the whole-hearted support of Wolves on Wheels cycle campaign. A minor improvement makes a major change. Tim and I hope that any road closure schemes like this one in the future will also be left open for two-way cycle traffic. In effect Church Walk can be added to the City cycle network forming a useful link.
2. Compton Road West Safety Scheme
Overall this is a good scheme that will bring about a reduction in motor vehicle speed. There are some serious snags, however, to which I must draw your attention.
2.1. Starting from Finchfield Hill partway up Compton Hill is shown a pedestrian refuge. I do not know what the remaining carriageway widths will be. But for a climbing cyclist this invariably means following motorists will try to overtake far too late and cut in. A good rider will signal and move to the Primary riding position in Ref (1). The rider even so will feel very uncomfortable with the following vehicles pressing in while they climb at 6 mph.
To quote the road narrowings section of Ref (5): “ Centre islands, on the other hand, are some of the potentially most hazardous features to be found.” Try climbing up a few times on your bike through the centre islands and pedestrian refuges on Oxley Moor Road or beside Bantock Park for a foretaste.
Therefore I must raise an objection. Isuggest the following compromises. Eliminate the problem by installing a zebra crossing. This enables pedestrians to cross the road safely, does not take width from cyclists and when vacant enables safer overtaking. I believe the Pedestrians Association advocate zebra crossings instead of refuge islands. Tim tells me the old justifications for installing zebra crossings based on capacity no longer apply.
If WCC must have central refuges on a hill, a number of options are possible. 20 mph limits through this section is the first. Make the entire carriageway through the narrowing an advisory cycle lane, using some red anti-skid surfacing perhaps, with a large diagram 1057 symbol on the road surface. This will show motorists that they are entering cyclists’ space. I believe this technique has been successfully trialled in Gloucester.
2.2. Measures on the corner of Compton Hill are necessary and good.
2.3. The Rumble Strips on either side of the summit are a good idea because observed vehicle speeds are too high. For cyclists full width rumble strips are very uncomfortable and sometimes dangerous. However I have your assurances after our telephone conversation that a gap of 500 mm down each edge free from rumble strips will be provided for smooth cycling.
See Ref (2) 7.8.4 where 750 mm is recommended.
2.4. The section marked “area under investigation” is ripe for transforming into a Safe Route to School and an important crossing on the city cycle network . St Peters, St Edmunds and Wolverhampton College are on Compton Park and Linden Lea links to Merridale and Finchfield schools. The area has been involved with the NOF cross city route. Section 3.19 of Ref. (3) refers.
3. Wood End Road Local Safety.
This is a very good scheme. Tim and I would suggest that the Lichfield Road roundabout geometry is altered to lower vehicle speeds on approach to the pedestrian crossing. Is this a possible opportunity for a cycle bypass?
The junction with Amos Lane is well laid out. I welcome Advanced Stop Lines (ASL’s). Inter-green times may need attention as there are no filter lanes apparent on the drawing. I think the zebra crossing by “The Castle” is a superb idea. Why not apply this in other schemes instead of pedestrian refuges?
4. Craddock Street Local Safety Scheme.
On-street parking in 1-81 Craddock Street is a problem for cyclists. I assume that will remain. The junction with Hordern Road appears to show some excellent features and a good layout. ASL’s with filter lanes make their WCC debut. Ref’s (2), (4) and (5) refer. We suggest that ASL’s and filter lanes be added to the Hunter Street / Clifford Street / Newhampton Road as early as possible. Tim Jones says that the road surface at this junction is in a very bad way. The zebra crossing and anti-skid features are welcome. The scheme is seriously marred, from a cyclists’ point of view, by the objectionable splitter islands. These are at least on a relatively level road, but could WCC do without them?
Refs (2) and (5) cover all the real problems.
Lower speed limits, advisory cycle lanes through narrowing and diagram 1057 symbol are all recommended to offset the very real hazards.
May I put in a request for a dropped kerb at St Andrews Close? This forms a popular link already for riders passing through to Bittern Drive and Evans Street.
5. Local Safety Scheme – A41 Tettenhall Road/Albert Road / Paget Road Junction
Thank you for your letter dated 10 October 2002 regarding proposals for improving the above-mentioned junction. Wolves on Wheels conducted a full Cycle Review of the Tettenhall Road Cycle Route in 2001 for which a report (Ref 3) was produced and submitted to your department. In our report we made the following recommendations with respect to the Albert Road/Paget Road signalised junction:
Assistance at difficult junctions – cyclists would benefit from the provision of Advanced Stop Lines and reservoirs at the junction of … Tettenhall Road and Paget Road. Inter-green times should be extended at the signals at Halfway House to allow cyclists sufficient time to clear the junction. A pedestrian phase should also be included as pedestrian flows exceed 300 per hour during peak periods [recommendation 3, p11].
We have taken on board your proposals and agree with the scheme design in principle because overall it seeks to improve conditions for journeys on foot and by cycle.
However, we would wish to seek alteration to the design proposals in order to consider more fully the requirements for cyclists crossing all arms of the junction. We would therefore recommend the following:
Tettenhall Road (North Arm) – include a single stage crossing because the proposed two-stage arrangement is unnecessary and causes undue delay to pedestrians.
Reposition lane markings and install an Advanced Stop Line and feeder lane to assist cyclists to link in with the existing Advisory Cycle Lane and allow cyclists to filter to the front of queuing traffic.
Paget Road – Reposition centre-line to create a filter lane and Advanced Stop Line to allow cyclists to filter to the front of traffic.
Tettenhall Road (South Arm) - Reposition centre-line to create a filter lane and Advanced Stop Line to allow cyclists to filter to the front of traffic.
Albert Road –Extend the Advanced Stop Line across all lanes in any case. Better still remove the left hand turning lane and reduce the existing arm to two lanes (a left turn & straight-ahead only lane and a separate right turn lane). Provide a kerbside filter lane for left turning cyclists and an offside filter lane (i.e. to the left turning and straight ahead traffic lane) for right turning cyclists (see diagram attached).
Riches Street – Mark an Advisory Contra-flow Cycle Lane along Riches Street to allow cyclists to travel in a southbound direction towards Tettenhall Road (i.e. from Newhampton Road). Consider including a loop detector and signal head to allow a separate cycle phase for cyclists travelling across the junction from Riches Street.
Other issues – Inter-green times are currently inadequate and do not allow cyclists to cross the junction safely. Extended inter-green time should be built into the proposed design (i.e. 5 seconds minimum). Directional signing should also be installed to indicate distance and direction of Wolverhampton College & Compton Campus/West Park and Tettenhall Village/City Centre. This would assist non-resident cyclists in particular e.g. Students of University of Wolverhampton.
If the above recommendations are included in the scheme design we feel that a high quality facility and an important piece of the jigsaw shall be complete along the Tettenhall Road Cycle Route. In cycling terms it would not only benefit residents in the area but also students of Wolverhampton College and the University of Wolverhampton as well as pupils at the many local schools. The proposals shall also benefit visitors to the City using the proposed ‘Sustrans Cross City Route’ when travelling between the city centre (via West Park) and the Tettenhall Road facility.
Save for the refuge on a steep hill, these are good schemes from a cycling point of view. Wolves on Wheels members have been very vocal in their disapproval of the pedestrian refuge by Bantock Park and Bradmore Road since its installation, which is on an incline. I promised to them to oppose similar narrowings elsewhere.
Please don’t hesitate to contact me with any further queries. I am available most Friday afternoons to come to Heantun House for any discussions.
CTC Right to Ride Representatives, Wolverhampton
& on behalf of Wolves on Wheels Cycle Campaign
(1) Cyclecraft, John Franklin. Stationary Office
(2) Cycle Friendly Infrastructure, IHT, CTC & DOT, 1996
(3) Tettenhall Village to Wolverhampton City Centre Cycle Review. Wolves on Wheels
cycling campaign, Jan. 2002
(4) Traffic Advisory Leaflets 05/96 Further development of Advanced stop lines. D&T.
(5) Campaign for High Standards. Website of the Cycle Campaigning Network.