Peaks Lane/Peaks Parkway link

These pictures show the new link between the top of Peaks Lane (by the YMCA) and Peaks Parkway. It’s a big improvement on the shambles that was there before and will make access from the Weelsby Rd / Hainton Ave area towards New Waltham much better.

The new link, with the YMCA to the right.

The new link, with the YMCA to the right.

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Shame the new wide surface couldn’t have been continued all the way to Peaks Parkway though. Nevertheless, it’s still a welcome improvement.

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NE Lincs Cycle Superhighways proposal

CS LondonLondon mayor Boris Johnson and the DfT have made the term cycling superhighways one that we are familiar with. This is a proposal to have a network of genuine cycle superhighways in NE Lincs, and to ensure they actually do fit the description by being designed and built to top quality standards.

CS2These should not be shared pavements the like of which we see on the Humberston/Healing Pedalways & along part of Scartho Rd, where the limited space is shared with pedestrians and the paths always give way to side streets. On many of the routes proposed below there’s plenty of space to create physically separated, high quality cycle lanes/paths on each side of the road in addition to the pavements. Where there is less space the cycleway should still be separated from motor traffic but be a bi-directional path on just one side of the road.

At present there is clearly no grand plan for cycling although things are improving incrementally. There are a few good quality cycle paths (I’ve featured these here in a previous post), but mainly all we have in NE Lincs is just a hotch-potch of isolated stretches of poor quality painted-on lanes. These do nothing to encourage cycling because they are not safe or pleasant to use.

cs33These proposed five cycle superhighways provide an essential skeleton of major routes around which further minor link routes could be developed as time goes by. If these five routes were established in the way described, they would provide an interconnected, safe and pleasant way to cycle between the main residential areas, the town centres, the main train stations, the main shopping areas/stores and the main areas of employment and education.

This would enable and encourage many more people to use cycling as a means of everyday transport. This not only helps those cycling become healthier by getting daily moderate exercise, but also benefits everyone else by reducing traffic congestion, air pollution and noise pollution, and so makes the whole area a better place to live.

So here are my suggestions for the NE Lincs Cycling Superhighways:

  • CS1 Pleasure Island to the oil refineries (CS1W) and HST (CS1N)
  • CS2 Morrisons to Isaacs Hill
  • CS3 Waltham roundabout to the A180 (CS3W) and Cleethorpes Rd (CS3E)
  • CS4 Grimsby train station to Immingham
  • CS5 Waltham roundabout to Cleethorpes promenade

Of course, the present cycling budget comes nowhere near covering such a proposal. The funding for these five Cycle Superhighways should be provided from the wider transport budget and central government. If £6m can be found for the recent ”green” development in Grimsby town centre, which I’m not alone in thinking provides very little benefit (many would say it has been a complete waste of money), then the funding for such a network of top quality cycle infrastructure, with all its attendant benefits, can and surely should be provided.

The routes in detail:

CS1: From Pleasure Island in Cleethorpes all along Kings Rd to Cleethorpes Leisure Centre, then along the prom to Cleethorpes train station, through the station onto Station Rd then turning left onto Princes Rd to the bottom of Isaacs Hill in Cleethorpes. Turn right all along Grimsby Rd & Cleethorpes Rd to Riby Sq. Take the road between the flyover and the Telegraph offices (the other direction would be routed under the flyover). Along this road a cycle bridge gently rises to cross the railway line and comes down before the turning for King Edward St. Continuing along Cleethorpe Rd by The Landings, crossing Victoria St and continuing alongside the A180 on the Westward (out of town) side. Once level with Charlton St another cycle bridge gently rises to cross the A180 and comes down at the top of Moody Lane. Continuing along the full length of Moody Lane, a new connecting stretch of cyclepath apx 200m long, with a bridge over the beck, connects with Hobson Way. (I’ve previously written about this here). Along Hobson Way, Laporte Rd (passing Immingham Docks eastgate), then left along Queens Rd, Kings Rd, to the very end of Manby Rd. The route then spurs in two directions:

  • CS1 West: west along Humber Rd (A160) to the lights at the Jet garage opposite the refinery
  • CS1 North: north along Rosper Rd as far as HST on Clough Rd. (This last section from Immingham to Killingholme would require agreement between both NE Linc Council and North Linconshire Council.)

CS2: All the way from alongside Morrisons, the full length of Laceby Rd, across Nunns Corner, then along Weelsby Rd, Clee Rd right through to Isaacs Hill roundabout, where it connects with CS1.

CS3: From Waltham roundabout all along Waltham Rd, Scartho Rd (removing a lane of traffic where necessary to create space for a bi-directional cycleway), around Nunns Corner (crossing CS2) onto Bargate (I’ve written about Bargate in an earlier post here). At the junction with Brighowgate CS3 forks into two:

  • CS3 East: along Brighowgate to Grimsby town station, out onto Osborne St, East St past the Town Hall, right onto Pasture St, left onto East Robinson St, left onto Holles St, right onto Ellis Way, over Hainton Sq onto Eleanor St, left onto Convamore Rd then Victor St connecting with CS1 at Cleethorpes Rd.
  • CS3 West: continuing along Bargate, Cartergate, left onto Lord St, right onto Anderson St, left along the river, right onto Earl St, along Freshney Drve, Yarborough Drive, Freshney Drive, left onto Corporation Rd, right onto Charlton St, connecting with CS1 at the cycle bridge over the A180.

CS4: From Grimsby train station through St James Square, Chantry Lane, Littlefield Lane, Cromwell Rd, Yarborough Rd, then along the route of the Healing Pedalway through to Healing on Great Coates Rd, then extending beyond Healing on Stallingborough Rd through to Stallingborough and on to Immingham. Along Pelham Rd to connect to CS1 at Manby Rd.

CS5: From Waltham roundabout along Station Rd past Toll Bar school, left along Louth Rd, along Peaks Parkway, Hewitt’s Ave, Taylors Ave and Queens Parade to connect with CS1.

Eleanor Street needs more than 20mph signs

The new 20mph signs on Eleanor St, as seen from Hainton Square.

The new 20mph signs on Eleanor St, as seen from Hainton Square.

Making Eleanor St a 20mph limit is a small step in the right direction, but without cameras & other improvements it’s something of a waste of time. Virtually no-one is respecting the new speed limit. I doubt many drivers have even seen the signs.

However, the speed of traffic there is not the only problem. Firstly, there’s no room for cyclists heading away from the town centre. Traffic squeezes past you dangerously close. And secondly, heading into the town centre is dangerous becausealthough there is a painted-on lane it’s not physically separated from the oncoming traffic. Additionally, the road surface is rough and uncomfortable for cycling on.

So, to make it a cycling-friendly route make it one lane of traffic with two physically segregated cycle lanes either side, surfaced with smooth asphalt. Traffic approaching Hainton Square on Ellis Way (arriving from Asda/town centre) does so in two lanes. Make the left hand lane a left turn for Freeman St or straight on into Eleanor St. Make the right hand lane a right turn only into Hainton Ave. This leaves just the one lane for motor traffic on Eleanor St.

By then adding a speed camera on Eleanor St the new 20mph limit would be enforced, making it a safe route for cyclists. This is a major route to & from the town centre for cyclists so please make it safe to cycle on. Just sticking 20mph signs up is not a solution!

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The National Funeral protest in London

Yesterday was the National Funeral protest march for walkers & cyclists in Central London, organised by Stop Killing Cyclists. The video above is the ITN news report. You can find more information and the various speeches in the link below.

http://stopthekilling.org.uk/the-national-funeral-for-the-unknown-victim-of-traffic-violence/speeches-at-national-funeral-rally/

2nd class citizens on 3rd world cycling infrastructure

Why is it cyclists are still 2nd class citizens on 3rd world cycling infrastructure? It’s simply not good enough that there’s no space for cycling on virtually all the roads in NE Lincolnshire. Today I was cycling in the (very thin) painted-on lane at Fryston Corner, approaching the college on Weelsby Rd, when a guy in a silver Mondeo, registration H7 G – –  (I don’t recall the full regn) almost knocked me off my bike. This was in full daylight, around lunchtime, & I was in the cycle lane. It was such a close shave I knocked on his window at the traffic lights to tell him he nearly knocked me off and to leave space for cyclists. All I got in return was a V-sign, a tirade of expletives and  “you don’t pay road tax”!

Actually Mr foul-mouthed Mondeo, I do pay road tax but that’s not the point. There’s space for people walking – it’s called a pavement. They don’t pay road tax but they have a space to be in. People riding a bike do not have a space to be in. We have to share the road with vehicles that, driven by ignorant or careless drivers, pose a genuine threat to our safety and even our lives.

The painted on lanes that the council have provided for people riding bikes are simply NOT GOOD ENOUGH! It’s not good enough to expect drivers to respect cyclists because as anyone who has cycled on our roads will tell you, they don’t! When you’re driving your car you’re insulated from the outside world and oblivious to the danger cyclists face. Putting up signs asking drivers to respect cycle lanes, as NE Lincs council has done recently, is frankly laughable. I understand it’s an attempt to improve things for cyclists by a transport department of the council with no budget to do a proper job, but it is completely futile. I doubt if most drivers have even seen these signs along Clee Rd and Weelsby Rd.

A sign asking drivers to respect the cycle lanes.

A sign asking drivers to respect the cycle lanes. Obviously, it’s not having the desired effect!

I doubt many if any drivers have even seen these signs. Signage is not the answer - good design is.

I doubt many if any drivers have even seen these wholly ineffectual signs. Signage is not the answer – good design is. There’s plenty of space here to create a segregated cycle lane that provides a safe cycle space.

The answer is proper action by the council to allocate funds to create separated cycle lanes, so that there is a safe space for cycling. Nothing else will do. It doesn’t have to cost a fortune or take decades to do. Look at what has been achieved in New York over the last 5 years with good design and a proactive approach. Why is NE Lincs council so blind to the safety of cyclists on it’s roads? That’s a question I’d really like an answer to!

Take a look at this solution from New York….

Not bad.

Not bad. Photo from Business Insider

or this from Bogota….

Photo from citiesforpeople.net

Not bad at all! Photo from citiesforpeople.net

and this example of cycling infrastructure in The Netherlands: (the best!)

The serious need for separated cycle space

Photos from Grimsby Telegraph

Photos from Grimsby Telegraph

There have been two tragic fatalities in Grimsby in the space of a few of days, both related to cycling. A 72 year old pensioner was knocked down by an 18 year old man cycling in a pedestrianised area of top town on May 20th and, although she was believed to have only suffered minor injuries, she died just 17 days later after spending 11 days in hospital.

The second incident happened this morning at around 4:30am near or at the junction of Freeman St and Wellington Rd. A cyclist in his 20’s was hit by a truck and died shortly afterwards. You can read the Grimsby Telegraph reports here and here. Our condolences and sympathy go to both families.

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Now, I do not condone people cycling where they shouldn’t, on pavements or in pedestrianised areas. However, whatever the rights and wrongs of either of these situations, there are serious points that need to be made and that need to be heeded and learned from.

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There’s no accounting for someone flaunting the law, whether that be a pedestrian, a cyclist or a driver. However, our town suffers from very poor provision of space for cycling which often results in people cycling technically illegally. In pedestrianised areas why can’t there be separate cycling lanes, so that people walking and cycling are both provided for? There’s plenty of room, and most cyclists would respect the different spaces and stay on the cycling lanes.

Cycling on pavements: someone I know, a middle-aged lady who was riding her bike back from the hospital two weeks ago, was verbally abused by a man walking along Scartho Rd because she was cycling on the pavement. Now, bear in mind there were 4 lanes of busy traffic and absolutely no provision of space for someone to cycle. It was a very busy road and this person chose to ride on the pavement in order to not be knocked off her bike by a car. As I say, this man took great offence at this, verbally abused her and physically blocked the way. Although she tried to explain she was only on the pavement because it was not safe on the road due to the heavy traffic, he continued being abusive. Unsurprisingly the lady was very upset by this, and the situation was only resolved by the mans’ embarrassed wife pulling him out of the way.

This question of cycling on pavements is compounded by the fact that the Council permit cycling and walking on some pavements but not on others. In my opinion, this is a fudge, good for neither walkers nor cyclists, and should not be presented as a solution. There needs to be separate space for people walking AND for people cycling.

Only by separating the spaces on our roads, and providing a space for cycling, can these issues be resolved. Just look at most roads – there’s space for cars and trucks, there’s a pavement for pedestrians, but cyclists might get a painted line at the side if they’re lucky! Even then, many motorists ignore it and drive without due care and attention of cyclists. These are facts that I witness almost everyday.

People say cyclists ignore traffic lights on red and cause their own danger. Maybe some do. But again, almost everyday I see cars going through lights on red. Virtually everyday I see drivers ignoring cyclists and creating dangerous and hazardous conditions for cycling. So please don’t blame it all on cyclists.

The responsibility for accidents and injuries clearly needs to be judged on each and every situation, but danger and hazard can be designed off our roads with proper provision of space for cycling and good design. It’s NOT rocket science! To find out how to do it just copy the solutions the Dutch have developed over many years. I’ve written about many of them on this site, but follow the links to other websites which provide a very detailed and comprehensive study of Dutch design and examples.

Real bicycle culture

Amsterdam: It’s billed as the cycling city of the best cycling nation in the world and it’s not hard to see why. There is simply a culture of cycling which is quite wonderful. It’s just a natural thing there for people to use a bike to get around.

A major part of this is the provision made for cycling – there are cycle streets, cycle paths – people are catered for on bikes. It’s part of the culture because it has been accommodated – there is space for cycling, so it becomes a pleasant way to get around. More people get moderate daily exercise just from cycling to and from places resulting in a healthier population and better air quality as there’s less pollution from cars.

Why can’t we aim to develop a similar culture by building and incorporating such infrastructure here in NE Lincs?

Click to enlarge the photos:

The bike parking near the central rail station.

The bike parking near the central rail station.

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A cycle road, separate to the walkway and the road for vehicles.

A cycle road, separate to the walkway and the road for vehicles.

 

In the queue of cyclists waiting for the change of lights on the cycleway in the busy centre of the city.

In the queue of cyclists waiting for the change of lights on the cycleway in the busy centre of the city.

A father with his children in their cargo bike. It's perfectly safe to travel this way because there is safe cycling infrastructure all over the city.

A father with his children in their cargo bike. It’s perfectly safe to travel this way because there is safe cycling infrastructure all over the city.

Another cargo bike.

Another cargo bike.

This is a minor quiet one-way road where cars are guests and are expected to give priority to cyclists.

This is a minor quiet one-way road where cars are guests and are expected to give priority to cyclists.

Steps in and out of a rail station with provision for wheeling a bike at the side. It's little things like these that add to the bicycling culture. Nice to see the bike being wheeled here is a Brompton! :)

Steps in and out of a rail station with provision for wheeling a bike at the side. It’s little things like these that add to the bicycling culture. Nice to see the bike being wheeled here is a Brompton! 🙂

Bikes everywhere!

Bikes everywhere!

You can ride right through the Rijksmuseum (State Museum), recently reopened with a cycleway through the middle of it!

You can ride right through the Rijksmuseum (State Museum), recently reopened with a cycleway through the middle of it!

And to finish with a nod to Cycle Chic, the ubiquitous 'girl on a bike'!

And to finish with a nod to Cycle Chic, the ubiquitous ‘girl on a bike’!

 

Poor infrastructure leads to accidents

It’s simple: poor infrastructure leads to accidents. The pathway along Ploggers, between Love Lane Corner and Humberstone Rd in Grimsby is simply not wide enough. It’s supposedly a shared path between cyclists and pedestrians, but when it’s full of parents walking their children to school in the morning, there’s nothing else a cyclist can do but to ride on the grass.

Of course, council vehicles also drive along here to empty the waste bins and they leave ruts in the soft ground. As the weather warms, the grass grows and the ground hardens and these ruts become concealed and become a serious hazard to cyclists, as proved the case this morning:

The bike where it was brought down causing the fall onto the pathway along the Ploggers near Old Clee School and King Georges sports stadium.

The bike where it was brought down causing the fall onto the pathway along the Ploggers near Old Clee School and the King George sports facility.

In passing a group of people walking along this path this morning, my wife had to ride on the grass, but her wheel got caught in one of these ruts and this brought her crashing down, hitting the concrete pathway. She could easily have broken her arm in the fall. As it was, she suffered painful cuts and bruises.

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There's ample room for the necessary improvements to be made here.

There’s ample room for the necessary improvements to be made here.

I’ve written before about this pathway. There is ample space to put a separate cycle lane alongside the path, so that cyclists can actually have their own space. Having just been to the Netherlands and seen how much cyclists are cared for there, it’s disgusting to see how little provision there is made here. There’s simply no excuse for not giving space for cycling. It’s time the local authorities woke up to their appallingly neglectful attitude in this regard!

This is an example of what is needed along the Ploggers - it's not rocket science! (This stretch of pathway links Beverley Crescent with Weelsby Rd.)

This is an example of what is needed along the Ploggers – it’s not rocket science! (This stretch of pathway links Beverley Crescent with Weelsby Rd.)

Home Zone

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This is a quietened street in Grimsby, near the junction of Victor St and Oxford St, and it represents a step forward! It’s signed as a ‘Home Zone’ street, where children can play, where car access is restricted and slowed and where residents generally enjoy a more community-based environment.

It would be even better if there was no through access for vehicles. For instance, a row of bollards placed mid-way would enable cycling and walking through but would  prevent cars and vans from making it a short-cut.

It’s a creditable initiative and one that should be replicated on more residential streets.

Painted lines are not infrastructure

Excerpts from Jon Snows comments to the Transport Select Committee in 2012.

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