This generally looks like a good scheme to create a two way cycle route separated from the roadway and pedestrians and allowing cyclists to safely access the shops and other facilities in the centre of Chaddesden. This would be one of the first two way cycle routes in Derby (particularly on a radial route – i.e from the suburbs into the centre) so, if it leads to similar schemes elsewhere, is to be encouraged.
For the scheme to be useful, it needs to be delivered to a high standard (matching the LTN 1/20 guidelines) and connected to other high quality, off road routes. Given that there are large amounts of grant funds available, there should be no need to accept lesser quality solutions.
This scheme consists of a number of sections:
Pentagon to Chaddesden Park Road
The plans state that they will make “improvements to the existing cycle route”. This route is currently an advisory on road route (i.e. just paint). The maps of the plans do not show any intention to make the on road route mandatory or to provide any kind of segregation.
On road routes with no segregation provide little protection for cyclists and are not supported by the DfT. Thus, as understood from the plans, this part of the scheme will be poor. To improve the existing routes, segregation from the motor traffic will be needed.
In addition, some of the on road lanes are narrow (more narrow than the LTN 1/20 guidelines) so improvements would also need to increase the widths as well as provide segregation.
Chaddesden Park Road to Reginald Road South
Plans are to make the pavement a two way cycleway with separate foot way. No details are given of the widths but LTN 1/20 specifies a desirable width of 3m for a 2 way cycleway. The guidelines also make a number of points (6.2.16) that need to be considered when implementing two way cycle routes including:
- transitioning between the cycle track and the carriageway is more difficult for cyclists travelling against the flow of traffic;
- there may be more risks associated with retaining priority over side roads or busy accesses;
- cyclists’ accessibility to premises along the route on the opposite side of the carriageway is reduced;
- it is more difficult for pedestrians, especially disabled people, to cross a two-way cycle track where they do not have priority;
- in some locations, cyclists may be dazzled by the headlights of motor vehicles. Similarly, cyclists’ use of high-powered lighting can dazzle or be confusing to oncoming drivers.
Cyclists travelling east from the Pentagon will have to negotiate the Chaddesden Road junction before using the crossing to access the two way cycle route on the south side of the road or use the existing pedestrian crossing from near the Fire Station.
The plans say that there will be a “cycle segregation kerb” between the 2 way cycle lane and the west bound traffic on Nottingham Road. This needs to be implemented well together with a suitable amount of buffer space between the cycle traffic and the motor traffic. Too little space will be particularly intimidating for cyclists travelling eastwards towards the westward moving motor traffic. LTN 1/20 provides guidelines for suitable clearances and states that, for a 30mph area, the desirable buffer should be 0.5m.
The method of segregating the cycle and motor traffic also needs to be defined. Insufficient segregation may be a disincentive to cyclists who may worry that approaching motor traffic may encroach onto the cycle space – this needs to be made impossible for the motor traffic.
Reginald Road South to Raynesway/Acorn Way
This section will be provided with a two way cycle route and separate footway. DfT guidelines specify that the desired width of the two way cycleway should be 3 metres – no details in the plans as to whether this will be achieved.
The two way cycle route, if provided of adequate width, could be a good facility. However, at the western end it will feed into the existing unsuitable on road lanes (just paint). At the eastern end it will connect with the path on the western side of Raynesway but not well connected to other routes. Connection northwards to Acorn Way and eastwards towards Asda could be provided by light controlled crossings on the roundabout.
There are decent cycle routes in Chaddesden Park but there needs to be access provided from the two way route on the south side of Nottingham Road – e.g. a toucan crossing into the park.
At a number of points there will be a need to provide bus stops alongside the two way cycle route. The detail of how this will be provided is not shown on the plans but needs to be well designed to avoid conflict between bus users, buses and cyclists. Cambridge City have experimented and found solutions that seem to work well.
There is already controversy about this scheme and the local Councillors currently don’t feel they can support the plans. It’s hard to get to the bottom of what the objections really are but believe they relate to reducing the width of the car lanes being perceived as leading to congestion, and the two way cycle lane preventing parking on the road verge. Coverage in the Derby Telegraph attracts the normal unrelated comments.