Paving over cycle paths

BillWaugh
Posts: 2
Joined: 22 Sep 2009, 12:37pm

Paving over cycle paths

Postby BillWaugh » 22 Sep 2009, 12:50pm

Hi

This is my first post to the forum so apologies if this topic is in the wrong section.

I'm after a bit of advice on how to approach the following matter.

I'm currently working at Newcastle University. Over the summer there has been a great deal of repaving going on around the campus.
For as far back as I can remember*, there has been a dedicated cycle path over a busy bridge here, with an adjacent footpath.
University Estates has decided to combine these paths to make a shared use facility. On questioning the safety of this with the relevant surveyor, I've been told that bollards will be put in place in order to slow cyclists down and reduce the chance of accidents.

Now it seems to me that this cannot be anything other than a retrograde step. For years there has been a perfectly satisfactory arrangement, but now my daily commute is going to be more difficult / hazardous. I've lost a cycle lane, gained an obstacle course.

How might I campaign to have the dedicated cycle lane returned? Or am I being over-sensitive, and shared-use paths are perfectly fine?

Thanks for any tips.
Bill

* The lane has been there for at least 4 years, but actually possibly 20 or more!

AdamB
Posts: 2
Joined: 22 Sep 2009, 2:06pm

Re: Paving over cycle paths

Postby AdamB » 22 Sep 2009, 2:24pm

BillWaugh wrote:there has been a dedicated cycle path over a busy bridge here, with an adjacent footpath.
University Estates has decided to combine these paths to make a shared use facility.


Is this the cycle path which goes right past the front door of the University Library? If so, I think the reason for the paving may have something to do with the number of cyclist/pedestrian accidents and near misses (sorry - I cannot quote you details). What I do know, is that the inappropriately high speed of some cyclists in this area has been a concern for pedestrians and library users (yes - I know not all pedestrians keep to the pedestrian side, but there are a significant number of cyclists who don't keep to the bike side either). I suspect that the paving may be being introduced in an attempt to reduce cycle speeds in this heavy pedestrian traffic area. I suspect it may be an attempt at a type of "open street".

Adam

BillWaugh
Posts: 2
Joined: 22 Sep 2009, 12:37pm

Re: Paving over cycle paths

Postby BillWaugh » 22 Sep 2009, 3:00pm

Adam, you obviously know the area I mean. I'm talking about the lane actually over the bridge, but I guess it all mixes into one at the library doors.

Regarding the bridge in particular, there was no blurring of boundaries at all there - the footpath and lane were on different levels - and the only near misses I ever saw involved pedestrians in the cycle lane, not vice versa. In other words, that lane worked very well. Removing it can only lead to difficulties.

As for outside the library doors I can't say (although I'm surprised that you think a significant number of cyclists don't keep to the bike side). I'd agree though that the lanes were a mess there, plus it is very busy.

So maybe the developments solve one problem whilst creating another.

thirdcrank
Posts: 28688
Joined: 9 Jan 2007, 2:44pm

Re: Paving over cycle paths

Postby thirdcrank » 22 Sep 2009, 4:39pm

BillWaugh

From what you describe, this sounds like the private property of the university and to some extent they can do as they like. Once a right of way has been established they cannot simply extinguish it but it does not sound as though they are doing that. (They are just modifying the arrangements.)

In general, once things reach the point of starting building, it's never going to be easy to turn back the clock. I think one problem in this sort of situation is that the cyclist's voice goes unheard (or the spokesperson is somebody with no real idea.) If you are likely to be there for some time and want to prevent things getting even worse a Bicycle Users Group (BUG) is a good idea. If there isn't one already, consider forming one. Then the University authorities at least have somebody to consult. It's my personal impression that while these places may pay lip-service to promoting cycling, they are very hostile or at least indifferent to cyclists and their bikes. (Nowhere to park them, crop the chains if they are fastened to the railings. So long as the top people have their own protected parking places, with uniformed flunkies to operate the barriers and keep undesirable people away, everybody else can tale a running jump. IMO.

cjchambers
Posts: 848
Joined: 29 Jun 2008, 9:55pm
Location: Hartlepool

Re: Paving over cycle paths

Postby cjchambers » 22 Sep 2009, 7:00pm

Well look at this - I leave the university and in six months it all goes to rack and ruin! :wink:

As I think AdamR has suggested, I suspect the problem was not with the bridge itself - it was the junction opposite the library. Too many people going in too many directions. As a pedestrian, it was impossible to go anywhere without violating the cycle lane, and vice versa if you were on a bike. If everyone was well behaved and paying attention, it would work fine, but in practice they weren't, so it didn't. If you consider all of the roads and include the library entrance, it's actually a 5 way junction. Short of installing the world's first pedestrian/cyclist roundabout, I'm not sure what could have been done!

I always thought the bridge itself seemed to work quite well, probably due to the width and the raised kerb which discouraged straying. The only problem I ever experienced was poor visibility - even at 5mph, entering at the library end from the Jesmond approach was like diving into a darkened lucky dip of bollards, skateboarders and hapless wandering students on mobile phones. It almost certainly won't conform to any sort of standards for sightlines, and making it shared use probably makes that worse. Poor sightlines are one of the primary reasons cited to explain why some urban cycle tracks are so dangerous and why they should be used with much care. As with the junction problem, I can't really see how it can be helped, though, as it's built into the design of the bridge.

Thirdcrank mentioned BUGs - there is definitely one at Newcastle, although I never had any dealings with them. It might be worth asking them what they think, if they were consulted, and whether they plan to try and push for improvements.

Out of interest, where are the bollards actually placed? Are they at the ends, where the old bollards were, or are they actually inside the bridge? It's a good idea to try and slow people down for hazards, but putting bollards inside a darkened bridge with poor sightlines doesn't seem particularly sensible . . .

A final thought - you might have to go a bit slower through there now, but at least you'll be going faster than the poor sods underneath you sitting in their cars. And now they've uncovered the bridge windows, you can even peer down on them and see their sad faces :)

User avatar
dkmwt
Posts: 464
Joined: 15 Jun 2007, 11:02am
Location: Plymouth

Re: Paving over cycle paths

Postby dkmwt » 22 Sep 2009, 8:15pm

I can't say to much cause I don't know the area.

The way I see it, if you don't like the cycle facility use the road! I've been cycling to work for 25+ years in Plymouth 95% of the time on the road and I'm still living. I've also cycled LEJOG going through Newcastle city centre out to Cramlington, personally I didn't find it any different to Plymouth.
Cheers, Donald
Trice "Qnt 26" 26/39/55 F 10sp 11/36 R, now with Windwrap fairing.
ICE B1 34/50 F Capreo 9/32 R.
http://www.flickr.com/photos/dkmwt/78674512/
http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=1188814973

Pete Owens
Posts: 1734
Joined: 7 Jul 2008, 12:52am

Re: Paving over cycle paths

Postby Pete Owens » 22 Sep 2009, 9:13pm

As a rule - and not knowing the particular location - I would say it is better not to segregate these things.

If I encounter another cyclist coming the the other way I would prefer to give them as much space as possible rather than squeeze past on the cyclist side. Ditto, if a pedestrian is walking on the cyclist side.

Dividing the space encourages some cyclists to behave like the worst motorists and expect everybody to keep out of their way rather than ride witch care and consideration towards other path users.

The bollards are another matter.

cjchambers
Posts: 848
Joined: 29 Jun 2008, 9:55pm
Location: Hartlepool

Re: Paving over cycle paths

Postby cjchambers » 22 Sep 2009, 9:54pm

Aha! It just so happens I have a photo of the old facility - it seems there weren't any bollards at the library end. I'm pretty sure there was one at the other end, though, because I was always careful to go on the left side of it, and had to be careful not to bang my head on the wall as I leaned . . .

3945057005_0ca2ccfd17.jpg


Or for a better look Link

User avatar
squeaker
Posts: 3612
Joined: 12 Jan 2007, 11:43pm
Location: Sussex

Re: Paving over cycle paths

Postby squeaker » 23 Sep 2009, 11:44am

IME leading a segregated path straight onto shared use with peds crossing is not good, especially with poor sight lines! (Have a similar situation here on NCN2, but with a 'Cyclists Dismount' sign :roll: )
As others have implied, if work's started it's probably too late. Shared use works if you are not in a hurry when its busy, or there's loads of space.... The bridge as pictured looks a good segregated path: but the library end is terrible.
"42"

thirdcrank
Posts: 28688
Joined: 9 Jan 2007, 2:44pm

Re: Paving over cycle paths

Postby thirdcrank » 23 Sep 2009, 3:23pm

Without knowing what sort of road infrastucture serves that tunnel, my crystal ball has been letting off steam. If that area is all paved over, I'll predict that in very short order there will be CYCLISTS DISMOUNT signs at either end and even bumpy stretches which will shake a bike to bits if you don't comply. (You read it first here.)

AdamB
Posts: 2
Joined: 22 Sep 2009, 2:06pm

Re: Paving over cycle paths

Postby AdamB » 23 Sep 2009, 8:34pm

Lets be clear on this - this is a pedestrian/cyclist facility - there are no roads anywhere near. The problem is at the far end of the tunnel where you have a multiway junction for both pedestrians and cyclists with restricted sight lines. Everyone walking out of the library entrance (directly in front of you in the photo), for example, has to walk across the cyclepath immediately in front of the doors to reach the footpath. This is also a bike path T junction where a cyclist can go either left or right.

I've personally witnessed one incident at this point where 3 cyclists and a pedestrian all met. One cyclist coming from the left met one coming from the right at the end of the bridge - both were cycling considerately and negotiating past each other. A pedestrian was waiting on the footpath for the bikes to pass so she could cross the cycle path and enter the library. A 3rd cyclist then appeared from the left travelling at excessive speed, made an emergency swerve onto the footpath to avoid colliding with the bikes restricting the path in front of him and slammed into the pedestrian, knocking her into the other 2 cyclists... Amazingly no one was injured on this occasion - the 3rd cyclist didn't even stop. It's idiots like him that give us all a bad name. I understand that this was not an isolated collision - I've heard anecdotal evidence of other similar incidents.

I haven't seen how extensive the paving is, but it sounds to me that this is a case of traffic calming where the cyclist is not the vulnerable party for once. If this were a case of calming motorised traffic to make cyclists less vulnerable, we would all be applauding. In this particular case though, I think that the aim is to reduce cycle speeds to reduce the conflict with pedestrians. There is no motorised traffic anywhere near. The vast majority of cyclists approach the junction at sensible speeds and are prepared to give way or stop if necessary. However, it only takes the occasional selfish idiot to ride through at 20mph plus, to ruin things for all.

It can be argued that the University is taking a procycling stance by trying to minimise the hazard at this junction by reducing cycle speeds - it would have been far easier just to ban cycling.

User avatar
squeaker
Posts: 3612
Joined: 12 Jan 2007, 11:43pm
Location: Sussex

Re: Paving over cycle paths

Postby squeaker » 24 Sep 2009, 9:04am

AdamB wrote:it only takes the occasional selfish idiot to ride through at 20mph plus, to ruin things for all.
'Amen' to that statement - is this where chicanes come in?
"42"

pwward
Posts: 193
Joined: 12 Jan 2007, 10:48am
Location: Newcastle u Tyne

Re: Paving over cycle paths

Postby pwward » 25 Sep 2009, 6:59am

Newcastle council has a cycling committee that meets once a quarter on a Thursday, around 18.00. It welcomes all comers and is chaired by a sympathetic councillor.

It tends to concern itself with cycle 'facilities', cycle parking and that sort of thing.

A matter like this is completely appropriate for it to consider. You can find out the next meeting time by calling the Civic Centre switchboard.

User avatar
Cunobelin
Posts: 10579
Joined: 6 Feb 2007, 7:22pm

Re: Paving over cycle paths

Postby Cunobelin » 25 Sep 2009, 2:25pm

[url=dft.gov.uk/pgr/roads/tpm/ltnotes/ltn208.pdf]Your guide to the design of cyclepaths....[/url]

Also lots on Cycling England

From experience the best way is to peruse documents such as this and then be methodical... set out why they are undesirable referencing these guidelines and ask formally how their use in this case will meet the national design criteria.

The answer will be interesting as they will have to justify their stance.