There are some changes happening around the centre of Wolverhampton that Wolves on Wheels (WoW) has been attempting to influence so that they are beneficial to people who would like to choose to use bikes for more of their daily journeys and to do so feeling relatively safe.
How much the Council and others are willing to listen to our inputs and produce good results on the ground remains to be seen as the projects proceed and we remain active in the Cycle Forum and through other meetings to put the case for well-designed infrastructure.
The situation here remains fragmented but one welcome step forward has appeared on the junction of the Ring Road with Wednesfield Road and first impressions are that this is an improvement from both a cycling and driving point of view (WoW members do both!).
The new cycle lane markings reduce what was a hazardous jostling zone for traffic turning into the Wednesfield Road, the traffic must merge earlier before making the turn and this has made it easier to find a clear space to join the carriageway underneath the bridge, heading east. I recall a few near misses here in my car as well as when cycling through and it feels more straightforward now.
My own preferred route is to join the road here from the Toucan crossing and this lane has made me feel more relaxed about the downhill-assisted transit under the bridge. It's far from ideal, especially for anybody not fully confident about cycling in busy traffic, but it's an improvement and the Council deserves credit for this first step.
Earlier this year, following a detailed submission to the then Head of Transportation in Wolverhampton City Council, a couple of us rode along this road with the Road Safety Officer, out and back, as far as the canal bridge after the busy junction of Wolverhampton / Wednesfield / Tudor and Deans Roads, where there is a very good and safe cycle path leading on to Bentley Bridge and Neachells Lane. Several suggestions were offered and discussed for ways to improve options for cyclists and to begin to form a link between the City centre and this area; if safe cycling routes are not joined up, who will use them? If cycle routes are only designed for the confident and assertive cyclists, then few others will make the attempt.
We await further responses and actions, such as making it easy to return safely under the railway bridge:
They say "the journey of a thousand miles starts with a single step", at about 2km/1.3 miles, perhaps this need not take quite that many!