Monthly Archives: April 2013

When is a cycle lane not a cycle lane?

Are these cycle lanes?

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Perhaps the cycle route signs give an obvious answer?

 

Off road to on road.resized.jpg

Off road to on road 2.resized.jpg
 

 

If you think they are cycle lanes then you’d be wrong. These are not cycle lanes.. These ‘lanes’ actually indicate areas of danger according to information presented to the Sheffield City Council Cycle Forum.

As part of the Supertram project, red surfacing and white lines were introduced to indicate to drivers how to avoid the tram tracks and to guide them onto a conventional surface.

This has created a problem for cyclists, given a perception that cycle lanes are often coloured red, and therefore with many believing that the nearside red surfacing adjacent to the tram tracks is a cycle lane. Cyclists are then presented with tram stops where the platforms extend into the ‘road’ and the ‘cycle lane’ disappears. Cyclists then find themselves crossing the tram tracks at a narrow angle and slipping into the rails, or find themselves ‘forced out’ often into faster moving traffic. There have been a number of injuries, some serious, as a result.

Sheffield Cycle Forum notes – 19th March 2013

Use these ‘cycle lanes’ at your own risk. They will end suddenly and force you to cross tram lines at a dangerous angle.

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These road marking will soon be replaced by hatched markings. Hopefully less misleading for anyone who use these routes.

Replace the red surfacing and white line (the ‘cycle lane’) at the nearside with a solid white line and hatching for 5m to 10m. The hatching then ceases and the white line continues, solid or broken as appropriate. At side roads the process is repeated.

If there is insufficient width to provide hatching a solid white ‘nose’ can be provided, followed bythe white line.

Sheffield Cycle Forum notes – 19th March 2013

But… good luck sharing the road with trams, you’ll need to get out of the way if one comes up behind you. They can’t overtake and there’s not enough room to move over to let one past.

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Prime Minister: “We should be doing much more to encourage cycling”

Yesterday at Prime Ministers Questions, Julian Huppert, MP for Cambridge asked a question about the Get Britain Cycling report which was released yesterday.

Julian Huppert Liberal Democrat MP for Cambridge

Julian Huppert
Liberal Democrat MP for Cambridge

Dr Julian Huppert (Cambridge) (LD): Today sees the publication of the all-party cycling group’s report “Get Britain Cycling”, which calls for leadership from the very top on this issue. Will the Prime Minister look at the report, make sure that he produces a cross-departmental action plan and give his personal commitment and leadership to get Britain cycling? [Interruption.]

 

 

Mr Speaker: Order. Members on both sides are very discourteous to the good doctor. I cannot for the life of me fathom why there are groans whenever I call the good doctor, but it is very unsatisfactory.

David Cameron Conservative MP for Witney

David Cameron
Conservative MP for Witney

The Prime Minister: I do not always agree with what the hon. Gentleman says, but on this occasion he is absolutely right and the House should heed what he says: we should be doing much more to encourage cycling. The report has many good points. I commend what the Mayor of London has done in London to promote cycling, and I hope local authorities can follow his lead in making sure that we do more.

 

 

Source: TheyWorkForYou

Stop Directing Heavy Traffic into 20mph Zones

Taplin Road 20mph Zone - A designated through route for 'other traffic'

Taplin Road 20mph Zone – A designated through route for ‘other traffic’

20sPlentyLogoIn Hillsborough, a suburb of Sheffield, a significant volume of motorised traffic uses a 20mph residential as a through route by design so that delays to motorised traffic is kept to a minimum.

There are already some 20mph zones in Sheffield such as Taplin Road in Hillsborough.

The local council is in the process of installing more of them around Sheffield.

We want to reduce the speed limit to 20mph from 30mph in some residential areas in Sheffield. This will help us to reduce the number of accidents on our roads.
Lower speeds will help make neighbourhoods a safer, more pleasant place for local people to live, particularly for our children and elderly.

Taplin Road

However, in reality the Taplin Road 20mph zone is used as a dumping ground for excess through traffic re-routed from Hillsborough Corner crossroads in order to keep traffic flowing smoothly.

A lot of vehicle traffic heading out of Hillsborough will use the A61 Penistone Road. Most of this would ideally travel south along Middlewood Road towards Hillsborough Corner and then left onto Bradfield Road (as in the map below – the red area shows the 20mph speed limit zone).


The actual route is shown in green, the prohibited route is shown in dashed red.

However, the left turn onto Bradfield Road is not permitted because the phasing of the lights at Hillsborough Corner conflicts with a pedestrian crossing phase.

As a result drivers are directed into the residential area of Taplin Road and Hillsborough Place and then onto Holme Lane to approach Hillsborough Corner junction from a different direction. This diversion is through a 20mph zone in a residential area.

Taplin Road

Taplin Road

Hillsborough Place

Hillsborough Place

Taplin Road and Hillsborough Place are both residential roads with on street parking, houses close to the road, narrow footpaths, children and plenty of families. Not the sort of place significant volumes of traffic should be directed!

As a token gesture some traffic calming measures have been introduced. Can you spot them in the pictures? Some red surface and a brick moulded tar covering. Does this do anything to remind vehicles that pedestrians have priority when crossing? No.

Traffic calming measures
Traffic calming measures

Perhaps a ‘speed table’ at junctions? It’s quite hard to see, because it’s such a half arsed measure.

A Speed Table - Can you see it!?
A Speed Table – Can you see it!?

The Dutch approach for a junction from a major road to a residential road would have significant traffic calming measures. It would be clear that you’re entering a residential area where pedestrians have priority.

Source - Paul James, http://pedestrianiselondon.tumblr.com
Source – Paul James, http://pedestrianiselondon.tumblr.com

This could all have been prevented if the Hillsborough Corner traffic light phase had been separated so the pedestrians could cross either before or after the green vehicle phase.

So, why wasn’t this done? I suspect because it would introduce delay to vehicles at Hillsborough corner – Sheffield City Council never seem very keen on doing this!

I believe this shows road design at its worst. To go to these lengths to remove any inconvenience/delay to vehicle traffic shows a significant disregard for the safety and well-being of the residents of Hillsborough. Traffic that adds no value to the local area is put ahead of the place in which we live. And that has to change.

20mph Zones are not the solution to through routes in residential areas. Removing the traffic is.

“Confident cyclists can just use the road”

P1050779.resizedToday I was speaking to someone about a proposed highways scheme in Sheffield. I said that the bicycle route was inconvenient because to turn right into a side road from a main road there were five toucan crossings on the bicycle route whereas the road has a slip lane with one traffic light.

The response was:

Confident cyclists can always use the road

Installing a cycle route that is less convenient than the road will not be used by existing cyclists who are used to convenient routes and dealing with hostile traffic.

Installing a bicycle route that is less convenient than the road will not encourage drivers to go by bike as it is more convenient to drive.

Making convenient routes that are only accessible to ‘confident cyclists’ excludes new cyclists, the young, the old, normal people nipping to the shops. It perpetuates the current approach which puts the convenience of the private motorcar before bicycle and pedestrian traffic. Roads that create convenient routes for private motorised transport at the expense of bicycle and pedestrian traffic have been designed upside down from the start.

Cycling routes need to be convenient and feel safe, one without the other will never encourage people to go by bike.

 

‘Sheffield gets cycle-friendly’

StarThis was the title of a piece in The Sheffield Star newspaper this morning reporting on a petition to Sheffield Council discussed at last weeks general council meeting.

I’ve written about cycle audits in the past and Sheffield’s failed commitment to conduct them. Recently CycleSheffield members were encouraged to write to their councillors and ask for cycle audits to begin ASAP. Many many people did this and I’ve heard that the council was inundated with questions from Councillors trying to get information.

This campaign had the desired effect and Sheffield Council have announced that they will introduce cycle audits and will be creating a new staff position in the council to conduct them.

The cycle audits will review schemes from the very inception to the finished product (pre-planning permission, planning permission review, detailed design and construction). We should begin to see bicycle traffic considered at the inception of highways schemes in Sheffield rather than just added on as an afterthought.

PI_Councillor_166“We have made a commitment that in the next financial year we are putting someone in post to conduct cycle audits… in any schemes coming forward they will be conducted”
Councillor Leigh Bramall – Chair of Sheffield Cabinet Highways Committee

 

This is a huge success and wouldn’t have been achieved without the efforts of CycleSheffield members.

Well done.

Full words of the representation I made at Sheffield Full Council meeting last week.

In 2007 this council passed a motion from Councillor Peter Price and gave a commitment to consider bicycle traffic during the design of highways schemes in Sheffield.
In the 6 years since this motion passed, Sheffield still does not consider bicycle traffic as a matter of course when designing highways schemes.
This petition and related representations to councilors over the past few months has the aim of highlighting this problem and to ask Sheffield Council to follow through with this commitment by adding cycle audits to all highway design projects.”

Sheffield Police – Yes, they’re still at it!

Blocking a contraflow cycle lane - 30th March 2013

Blocking a contraflow cycle lane – 30th March 2013

Sheffield Police seem to be under the impression that they can leave their vehicles in mandatory cycle contraflow lanes even though they have a car park across the road.

The people on the front line (receptionists, policemen) seem to think that I’m wasting their time complaining. I was made to feel like an idiot and that I was in the wrong for asking the vehicles to be moved to their car park.

Well, they’re mistaken, we’re not playing games anymore, parking in this cycle lane opposite their own car park is no longer acceptable and has been condemned by SYP management with assurances given that it is not acceptable.

After I made my complaint I assume someone with some knowledge of the history got wind and asked for the vehicles to be moved immediately. 5 Minutes after being told that there was no where for the vehicles to park and it was necessary to block the cycle lane, the vans were moved into the police car park. A minor victory.

All photo’s on this post taken approximately 10:05 on 30th March 2013.

Blocking a contraflow cycle lane - 30th March 2013

Blocking a contraflow cycle lane – 30th March 2013

 

Blocking a contraflow cycle lane - 30th March 2013

Blocking a contraflow cycle lane – 30th March 2013

 

Blocking a contraflow cycle lane - 30th March 2013

Blocking a contraflow cycle lane – 30th March 2013

Blocking a contraflow cycle lane - 30th March 2013

Blocking a contraflow cycle lane – 30th March 2013

Blocking a contraflow cycle lane - 30th March 2013 Not even anyone waiting in the vehicle

Blocking a contraflow cycle lane – 30th March 2013
Not even anyone waiting in the vehicle

Blocking a contraflow cycle lane - 30th March 2013 Moved into the police carpark after a complaint made at the station

Blocking a contraflow cycle lane – 30th March 2013
Moved into the police carpark after a complaint made at the station