Tuesday, 26 February 2013

Time for Coventry's first Straight Through Crossing

One of my pet hates when cycling is having to deal with an army of "Cyclist Dismount" signs, followed by endless diversions up some side spout going away from where I want to be, only to be forced across a tight crossing and into a sheep pen, before waiting again to cross to the other side, turn around, go through the routine again, and finally start heading in the direction I want to go.

There are some much better solutions to this problem, especially with the Dutch or Danish "outer ring" style roundabouts, but it looks like these will have to go through a bit of testing first before they get approval.

A half-way house is to design crossings that enable pedestrians and cyclists to proceed through in one move, without all the horrid staggering.

Early next month, Coventry City Council will discuss a planning application for two new restaurants on the edge of the Arena Park retail development. Whilst the proposal itself is nothing contentious, and it will no doubt be nodding "straight through", the transport plan is sadly lacking, just as can be said for the rest of the site.

As freehold owners of the Arena Park site, Tesco could do something different here, and install the first "straight-through" crossing, at a point where it is much needed, on the western side of the main internal roundabout.

This is whatt I have suggested to the council:

Although Arena Park has two segregated cycle routes, they are inconsistent at junctions. Whilst the lack of integration with the Longford Road is a long held concern, the prospect of more development near the entrance can only increase the loading on the larger internal roundabout, where no crossing facility is provided on the western side. This is particularly dangerous[1], given that there is a huge variation in speed limits on each side, with wide approach lanes ensuring that the 30mph limit can frequently be broken. As part of the proposed development, the cycle route should be given priority over the minor access road to the catering units and the filling station, whilst a light controlled crossing is needed at the roundabout.
 Best practice for such crossings is to ensure that they are straight-through, with a small island if needed, but no staggering, as this creates a pinch point for pedestrians and cyclists, and increases wait times. There is no traffic management reason to introduce a stagger at this location.

[1] Accident rates for cyclists on roundabouts are approximately 2-3 times higher than at traffic signal junctions - Sustrans.

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