Off-road cycleways: the good, the bad and the ugly!

It’s fair to say we don’t have much by way of off-road cycleways in NE Lincolnshire! And what we do have are largely left-over walkways that have been redesignated ‘shared-use’ for both walking and cycling. This means if you want to cycle there are often pedestrians in the way, and if you’re walking there’s often pesky cyclists trying to get past! In other words, not good for either user-group!

Add in to the mix the surface of these shared cycling/walking ways is usually atrocious and you have a fairly unsatisfactory state of affairs. It’s clear from these just how little the local council values cycling. Yet it’s the one mode of transport that could revolutionise the area.

However, it’s not all a slough of despond! There are elements that are actually quite good, and these demonstrate the awareness of what to do and how to do it is there, if only this awareness could meet with some joined-up thinking and a dose of serious political will!

Firstly, then, the good:

The separated pathway and cycleway that takes you from Moss Road (off Doughty Rd) under Peakes Parkway, past B&Q, and exits onto Catherine St.

The separated pathway and cycleway that takes you from Moss Road (off Doughty Rd) under Peaks Parkway, past B&Q, and exits onto Catherine St.

This is a really well designed piece of infrastructure: it separates walkers from cyclers, the surface is smooth and it's lit. The problem is it doesn't connect with a road that's prioritised for cycling (Catherine St), and it's not connected to a cycling network.

This is a really well designed piece of infrastructure: it separates walkers from cyclers, the surface is smooth and it’s lit. The problem is it doesn’t connect with a road that’s prioritised for cycling (Catherine St), and it’s not connected to a cycling network.

Another good one - the cycleway through Ainslie St park, connecting Wintringham Rd with Doughty Rd.

Another good one – the cycleway through Ainslie St park, connecting Wintringham Rd with Doughty Rd.

The cycleway between the Asda store and Victoria St. Another example of the council knows how to do it when it wants to!

The cycleway between the Asda store and Victoria St. Another example showing the council knows how to do it when it wants to!

 

Another good example - the link-way between Beverley Cres and Weelsby Rd.

Another good example – the link-way between Beverley Cres and Weelsby Rd.

Then there’s the bad:

You don't have to go far to find these things - anti-cycling devices (ACD's)!

You don’t have to go far to find these things – anti-cycling devices (ACD’s)! This one is on ‘The Lane’ between Ploggers and Ladysmith Rd.

They're planted by the Anti-Cycling Brigade (ACB) and they spring up everywhere people try to cycle away from cars! This one is where a separated cycle/pathway meets Littlefield Lane.

They’re planted by the Anti-Cycling Brigade (ACB) and they spring up everywhere people try to cycle away from cars! This one is where a separated cycle/pathway meets Littlefield Lane.

They are not only a hazard for cycling, but for everyone, especially people in wheelchairs.

They are not only a hazard for cycling, but for everyone, especially people in wheelchairs.

 

And lastly, there’s the ugly:

The cycleways that do exist are in many cases badly maintained with broken surfaces, litter and broken glass. It would not take much to ensure they are maintained to a good standard of surface and that they are regularly road-swept. Perhaps it’s the anti-cycling barriers that prevent the mini road sweepers getting in there to tidy up!!

This is supposed to be cyclable! It's an appalling surface -the cycle/walk way between Littlefield Lane and Westward Ho.

This is supposed to be cyclable! It’s an appalling surface -the cycle/walk way between Littlefield Lane and Westward Ho.

 

Fine design here (if you discount the barriers out of shot), but fullof glass and litter. Would you want to use this underpass on Patrick St?

Fine design here (if you discount the barriers out of shot), but it’s littered with glass and rubbish. Would you want to use this underpass on Patrick St?

The cutting between Garden St and the train station car park. Dark, dirty, full of glass! Not exactly inviting!

The cutting between Garden St and the train station car park. Dark, dirty, full of glass! Not exactly inviting!

Not the worst by far, but nontheless badly maintained (not maintained at all, it seems) link between Patrick St and Park Drive.

Not the worst by far, but nontheless badly maintained (not maintained at all, it seems) link between Patrick St and Park Drive.

The message of many of these examples is that, although there has been an effort made (even a good one in parts), overall the local authority does not value you as a cyclist and does not care if your cycling experience is a bad one!

However, if the good parts could be joined up with roads that actually prioritise cycling over motoring and actually go where people want to go; if the anti-cycling barriers could be removed and if the surfaces could be maintained properly so they’re pleasant to use, we actually could have something very good on our hands here! Please, NELC?

 

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Dutch cycling city nominees 2014: Eindhoven and Almere

These are the final two videos in a series of articles on Bicycle Dutch, looking at this years contenders for Cycling City 2014.

 

You can read the full articles here and here.

 

The Travelling Cyclopolitans!

Follow Mark and Jenny as they begin their cycling tour from Auckland, New Zealand, to Melbourne, Australia.

What is a Cyclopolitan, you may ask? Find out here! In search of bike culture!

Bargate

Cycling along Bargate, an arterial route into and out of Grimsby centre, is truly to take your life in your hands. There is simply not enough room to squeeze four lanes (and at one stage five lanes) of traffic into this road. The route heading out of town becomes two very tight lanes of traffic between Welholme Rd and Nuns Corner. In the other direction, there is a bus lane for a short distance.

Reclaim the inside lane for space for cycling. At present there is nowhere for cyclists to go. Is this really acceptable?

Reclaim the inside lane for space for cycling. At present there is nowhere for cyclists to go. Is this really acceptable?

This is the same road linking the University Centre of Grimsby College with the town centre, and is frequently filled with students. Yet amazingly there is almost no provision for people wanting to use a bike along this road.

Instead of cramming Bargate with four lanes of traffic, why not make it three lanes and a space for cycling? Reduce the outbound direction to one lane for traffic and convert the other lane into a separated cycle lane, from just before Welhome Road (where it becomes two lanes) through to Nuns Corner. This would create a safe space for people to cycle towards the college.

Begin the separated cycle lane here, just before Welhome Road junction (outbound from town centre)

Begin the separated cycle lane here, just before Welholme Road junction (outbound from town centre)

By also providing a cycle path from Chantry Lane through St James Square to Wellowgate and on to Brighowgate, this would then create a usable through-route for people commuting to & from the industrial areas of Pyewipe and the Humber Bank factories through the town centre and on to the residential areas beyond Bargate.

The sign says "In the interests of safety, cyclists please dismount." What is so unsafe in having a cycle lane on one side of this underpass and through St James Square?

The sign says “In the interests of safety, cyclists please dismount.” What is so unsafe in having a cycle lane on one side of this underpass and through St James Square beyond it?

Riding into town from the college cyclists have the Bus & Bike lane as far as the junction with Westward Ho. What happens when a bus wants to pass a cyclist or group of cyclists? At least it’s meant to be a car-free space. From Westward Ho junction onwards there is no Bus & Bike lane, so create a separated cycle lane by taking space from the two lanes of traffic up to Welholme Road junction, and extend it from there on up to the junction with Dudley St.

At present there is no provision along this stretch for cyclists. The road space does squeeze up as it passes Westlands Ave and onwards, but that is no reason not to provide a space for cycling. The present arrangement of squeezed lanes on Bargate between Welholme Rod and Nuns Corner sets the precedent for ‘thin’ lanes, so there’s no excuse for not having a ‘thin’ lane in each direction between the Westlands Ave junction and the junction with Dudley St/Cartergate/Deansgate/Grosvenor St, so that space for cycling can be accommodated. This stretch of thin-laned road could also incorporate a 20mph maximum speed limit to increase safety.

These changes would make cycling along Bargate safer and would therefore encourage people to use their bikes more to come into town and to commute through it. The changes would not cost a vast amount and could be implemented quickly. They would also show the council are serious about prioritising cycling in North east Lincolnshire.

 

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