Pedaller

Will Woodward Workout Weyhill’s Wrongs?

Families already escape to the pavement to avoid road danger on Weyhill Road.

Families already escape to the pavement to avoid road danger on Weyhill Road.

I have been trying my darnedest to convince Hampshire County Council and Test Valley Borough Council that their proposal for a cycleway – a single bidirectional shared path for people cycling and walking – along Weyhill Road in Andover is not of sufficient quality (to put it politely).

I made two different proposals – both of which have now been rejected. You can read about them HERE, and HERE.

Others, too, have been raising concerns with the councils. Aside: a report in the Andover Advertiser reveals that there were 11 people who had their letters opposing the scheme published; in contrast, the councils say 11 of the 13 responses they received were in support! The same article reveals the cost of the proposal is £230,000.

Undeterred…

APPLY CONDITIONS TO APPROVAL?

People are forced to cross the busy Weyhill Road unaided by road markings when the existing cycleway abruptly ends.

People are forced to cross the busy Weyhill Road unaided by road markings when the existing cycleway abruptly ends.

Determined not to let things stand with a potential increase in road danger, I contacted the councils again with my concerns about the proposal – this time to try and get some conditions imposed if (when) they approve their original plan, which is by all indications what they seemed to want to do from the start.

Some of the conditions that I would like imposed are (see emails below for the complete list):

  • intersections with roads have the stop line before the shared path instead of the car lane;
  • islands are not used, rather puffin crossings are;
  • places where the path end have considerable space given over to merging traffic as people on bicycles rejoin the carriageway;
  • the route to get onto the cycleway is controlled so that conflicts do not arise with car traffic ie priority given to bicycle traffic crossing the road to enter the cycleway
Priority at intersections is for people who choose to drive instead of for people walking or cycling on the cycleway.

Priority at intersections is for people who choose to drive instead of for people walking or cycling on the bidirectional shared path.

You won’t be surprised to read that the council rejected my assertion that the proposal was increasing rather than decreasing road danger.

They also were quick to defend their safety analysis, telling me in an email that all relevant checks were made to a national standard:

“any capital scheme that the County Council carries out undergoes a strict safety audit to check that the scheme conforms to national or any county specific standards.”

Perhaps this says more about the national standards than anything else!

SAFETY STANDARDS NOT GOOD ENOUGH?

The existing islands aren't wide enough for people on bicycles to fit safely on them.

The existing islands aren’t wide enough for people on bicycles to fit safely on them – one or both wheels will protrude into the roadway.

The proposals put out for consultation by the Department for Transport for improving the road signage regulations – which would affect how cycle paths are made and marked in the UK – were called into question by the Cycle Embassy of Great Britain, who in their recent open letter stated:

“…this consultation does not go nearly far enough, and is weak or muddled on the detail of the changes being proposed.”

and,

“Safe, attractive and convenient cycle provision at busier junctions is essential, yet this consultation has very little to say on this crucial issue…”

as well as,

Indeed, we argue it fails drivers and pedestrians too, as well as falling short on the opportunity to reduce street clutter in the form of excess (and ineffectual) signage and markings.”

Islands create 'pinch-points' which can increase road danger for people that are cycling.

Islands – especially ones near railings – create ‘pinch-points’ which can increase road danger for people that are cycling.

DECISION DAY

Today, the 10th of June 2014 is “decision day” for the cycleway proposal.

Hampshire County Council’s Executive member for Economy, Transport and Environment, Councillor Seán D T Woodward is expected to give the nod to the cycle way.

The councillor has assured me that,

“With respect to your individual suggestions, I will of course take these in to account tomorrow when I make my decision and thank you for bringing these to my attention.”

Some people choose to drive their car quickly around people cycling towards pinch points created by islands.

Some people may choose to drive their car quickly around people cycling towards pinch points created by islands and then cut in. Thankfully, that didn’t happen this time.

So, I asked the councils today:

“Are you confident in the safety of the proposal such that you would use the cycleway when walking and cycling?”

I will update this article when I get a reply!

UPDATES:

11 June: Cllr Woodward approved the plans (unsure if he attached any conditions – I have asked) and told me that he “would be happy to use the cycleway.” — see article on that at: Weyhill Cycleway Approved Without Dutch Quality

CORRESPONDENCE

I wrote to the councils (again!) this time hoping to have conditions imposed on the proposal to at least reduce the road danger that I feel it creates. Earlier correspondence can be found HERE and HERE.

From: Andrew Reeves-Hall on 6 June 2014 08:37
To: Seán Woodward [HCC]
Cc: Robert Drew [TVBC], Gary Hedges [HCC]

Hello,

Can you attach conditions to your decision?

If you do decide to proceed with the shared path then can you make it a requirement that:

  • intersections with roads have the stop line before the shared path instead of the car lane;
  • islands are not used, rather puffin crossings are;
  • maintenance is of a high standard and done several times a year;
  • intersections with driveways are painted to indicate priority is for people on the path;
  • places where the path end have considerable space given over to merging traffic as people on bicycles rejoin the carriageway;
  • the route to get onto the cycleway is controlled so that conflicts do not arise with car traffic ie priority given to bicycle traffic crossing the road to enter the cycleway;
  • signage is not erected which obstructs the cycleway;
  • there are no ‘cyclists dismount’ signs; and,
  • signage makes use of new TSRGD 2015 regulations.

For reference, article here about why cycleways are often not used:
http://lulzredux.blogspot.co.uk/2014/06/why-dont-cyclists-use-cyclepaths-that.html

Thank you,

~Andrew~

 

From: Seán Woodward [HCC] on 9 June 2014 17:24
To: Andrew Reeves-Hall
Cc: Robert Drew [TVBC], Gary Hedges [HCC]

Dear Andrew

To avoid confusion, any capital scheme that the County Council carries out undergoes a strict safety audit to check that the scheme conforms to national or any county specific standards. These standards look at all highway users but occasionally there will be specific rare individual needs that cannot be accommodated. That being said the modes of pedestrian and vehicular transport you highlighted are encompassed by the DfT standards set out for highway design. All relevant considerations have been taken into account and if there are any departures from standard this is highlighted in the project appraisal for the decision maker. With respect to your individual suggestions, I will of course take these in to account tomorrow when I make my decision and thank you for bringing these to my attention.

Best wishes

Councillor Seán D T Woodward
Executive Member for Economy,
Transport and Environment
County Councillor for Sarisbury Division

(further emails regarding whether the officials would ride on the proposed cycleway have been moved to the new posting: Weyhill Cycleway Approved Without Dutch Quality)

1 comment for “Will Woodward Workout Weyhill’s Wrongs?

  1. August 19, 2015 at 10:24

    Hi Andrew. I’m emailing from Spokes in Edinburgh/Lothian. We are preparing a leaflet and video on the hazards experienced by cyclists on the roads. Would you be happy for us to use your photo above which has the caption “Islands – especially ones near railings – create ‘pinch-points’ which can increase road danger for people that are cycling.”
    Thanks.
    PS – if so, can you email me a higher res version?

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