Goverment Review of HWC
Listed issues, most recent first, limited to the area of Solihull Bicycle Campaign:
sound+fury // 1 thread
A bill is being put forward to sentence any cyclist convicted of dangerous cycling to a 14 year prison term.
Lots of interesting stuff about inclusive transport regarding trains, buses, cars, public realm, streets and yes a bit about cycling too. Quotes:
8.11 While we consider CIHT and DPTAC’s recommendations and how to take them
forward, we are requesting that local authorities pause any shared space schemes
incorporating a level surface they are considering, and which are at the design stage.
We are also temporarily suspending Local Transport Note 1/11. This pause will allow
us to carry out research and produce updated guidance.
Objectives regarding Cycling:
• Update Local Transport Note 2/08, which sets out the Department’s guidance to
local authorities on designing safe and inclusive infrastructure for cyclists, to take
account of developments in cycling infrastructure since its publication in 2008 and
the responses to the draft AAP consultation and publish a revised version by early
• By 2020, explore the feasibility of amending legislation to recognise the use of
cycles as a mobility aid71 in order to increase the number of disabled people
The only cycle access to the train platforms at Solihull station is an extremely small lift, otherwise your only option is carrying your bicycle up and down the stairs which can be quiet challenging. A simple solution would be a wheeling rail at the edge of the stairway to guide wheels down slowly. I see quite a few people with bicycles using the train and I myself do so on a weekly basis and two flights of stairs with a laden bicycle certainly make things tricky.
The path between Smith's Wood and Water Orton could be a key cycling and walking link and a way to avoid the only other crossing of the A452 and M6, which is the busy and fast Water Orton Road. However the route is blocked off with concrete blocks and is in an extremely poor state of repair with overgrown bushes and an exceedingly unpleasant subway.
Cycle provision before this junction vanishes entirely and the only option beyond navigating this extremely busy junction are unappealing subways beneath the junction. For the less confident cyclist this junction would pose a significant barrier as mixing with three lanes of heavy bus, HGV and motor traffic is a daunting prospect for most people. The dank and dirty subways are even less appealing with poor sight-lines, long walks and poor social safety as a result.
This junction is frequently used by cyclists and could be part of an effective links between the north and south of Solihull, as well as this there is clearly enough space for a full Dutch style junction with proper protection for bicycle users to enable them to pass this barrier.
Beyond a single ASL there is no cycling provision for this section of the signposted route from the Coventry Road to Solihull town centre, despite cycling provision being of a decent off-road/ quiet road standard before and after this section.
The short section of road before the turn into Moat Lane is pretty daunting as this is a major traffic and bus route; a barrier that could easily lead to less confident cyclists being forced onto the footway.
A possible solution could be the continuation of the off-road cycle path up to Moat Lane (or indeed directly to the town centre) and a 20mph limit and traffic calming beyond there.
This section of cycle route has only sporadic signposting and also diverts through a narrow underpass with poor social safety. While this route does provide a decent alternative to the other busier roads, the way-finding is poor and the route is very rarely used by cyclists and as such has a poor feeling of social safety.
The shared-use path between Union Road and Grove Road is only wide enough for two people walking side by side and is frequently used by pedestrians, effectively designing in conflict. The path surface itself is also heavily damaged by weathering and tree roots and makes for a rather uncomfortable ride.
This route would benefit significantly from widening and resurfacing. There is a stretch of grassy bank on the east side of the fence that could be appropriated from the Hospital to create this additional space.
There is no cycling provision at all from the end of the shared use path next to the hospital to the cycle stands at the end of Mill Lane (Mell Square). This is the last half a mile of the official signed cycle route from the Coventry Road to Solihull center, however it fails on the last-mile provision. The Warwick Road is wide and busy and the pavement and crossings are pedestrian only, making the last stretch a bit of a pain to do by bicycle. People on bicycles have to either dismount and walk across the crossings and some distance into the center, or take their chances with the fast and busy dual-carriageway.
Could benefit from cycle specific crossings and paths across the junction, overall pedestrian numbers are relatively low but enough people use the pavements to cause conflict if they were converted to shared-use.
The Grand Union canal towpath from Lincoln Road, Olton to Catherine de Barnes is full of potholes and becomes full of mud and puddles when it rains. The alternative is the busy Warwick Rd or Coventry Rd. This is the only off road route from Solihull to Birmingham so is suitable for families and young children.
The (relatively new) shared-use pavements around Windward Way and Auckland Drive, have no priority over any of the numerous Cul-de-sacs, many of which are little more than communal driveways. The constant need to give way at each of these points makes cycling along the route uncomfortable and tedious, as well as making it harder to conserve momentum.
Currently there are pedestrian fences, bollards and curbs separating the two sections of Lugtrout Lane, preventing easy access from one section to the next and avoiding cycling along the 40 mph plus Damson Parkway. This would be an ideal point for some dropped curbs and appropriately spaced bollards to increase permeability for cyclists. There is clearly latent demand for a decent cut-through as the area to the left of the railings has had the grass worn away by the imprint of bicycle tyres.
The off-road/ service road cycle provision ends at Rowood Drive and is replaced only be a short section of advisory cycle lane culminating at an advanced stop line at the junction with Cornyx Lane, leaving the last few miles to the town centre completely absent of cycling infrastructure. It is no doubt expected that cyclists use the alternative route via Glebe Road, however this is a more circuitous route consisting of narrow and badly surfaced shared-use alleyways. With the last quarter of a mile lacking even shared-use pathways or cycle crossings, as well as this way-finding and social safety is poor.
Cyclists value direct route as much as, if not more than, drivers and failure to cater to this and provide safe infrastructure is unlikely to encourage cycling.
The pavement and marked cycle path is in pretty bad shape due to root damage and weathering and could really do with some resurfacing. As well as this the numerous side roads and the narrow pavement sections beyond the bus stop create numerous conflict points.
Cycle infrastructure is disjointed and confusing, there is no clear and consistent level of infrastructure along the Stratford route. What little infrastructure there is, is mostly made up of narrow shared-use pavements. Unless you approach Shirley High Street from the west (through the park), safe access to the shopping district by bicycle is limited.
When approaching this junction from the East on Widney Lane (and possibly other directions as well), the traffic lights do not detect the presence of waiting cycles.
Since the default priority at this junction is for traffic on the Blossomfield Rd / Marshall Lake Road axis, this means that cycles heading from Widney Lane to Longmore Road have to wait indefinitely to cross the junction.
In busy times this is not a problem, because a waiting car will trigger the traffic lights to change.
However, at quiet times this effectively means cycles cannot cross this junction legally at all. I have experimentally waited more than 5 minutes for the lights to change. Unless a car comes to trigger the change, cyclists are stuck.
This "bike-blindness" built into the road signalling infrastructure is unfortunately not uncommon. As well as being inconvenient for and disrespectful of cyclists, it reinforces the notion that bicycles are second-class road-users - indeed that they do not really belong on the road at all.
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