Pedestrian Islands

Geoffroid
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Pedestrian Islands

Postby Geoffroid » 1 Jun 2012, 10:57am

I have commuted by bicycle in Gateshead for 20 years now. The Council have progressively made the experience slightly more alarming by installing pedestrian islands, particularly on uphill sections. They have recently installed one by the Thornley Woodlands Centre on the outskirts of Rowlands Gill. This is on a busy and fast road, just as a hill starts to level out. I am shocked at how dangerous it is for cyclists and have asked the Council for their safety audits. They have told me that Level 1 and Level 2 safety audits have been carried out and no problems identified for cyclists. They are shortly to do a Level 3 safety audit.
Also, they told me that the scheme was agreed by consultees, including CTC and Sustrans. I would be interested to learn how CTC were consulted, and what the response was. The scheme is shown below (for clarity, the light grey line at bottom left is the Kerb):

lorry thornley.JPG


I understand that guidance from the DfT highlights the limitation of Pedestrian islands:

"Central reserves, refuges, traffic islands, and buildouts can create pinch points for cyclists which can bring them into conflict with motor vehicles. For example, drivers may attempt to overtake cyclists ahead of the narrowing to avoid being delayed (speed reducing features on the approach can help here). Drivers may also attempt to overtake a cyclist within the narrowed section… refuges and islands in particular can create hazardous pinch points for cyclists. If they are introduced and it is not possible to provide a cycle bypass, the width available should either be sufficient to allow vehicles to overtake cyclists safely, or narrow enough to discourage overtaking altogether.”

I wonder which width the Council has selected here - sufficient to allow overtakes, or narrow enough to discourage? From the picture you can also see a junction on the left immediately after the island. This gives access to the Woodlands Centre and is fairly popular, therefore a cyclist would need to keep away from the nearside to avoid vehicles edging out of the junction.

I would welcome comments to assist with further complaints to the Council and my MP. Particularly on how the CTC have been reported by the Council as agreeing to this scheme.

Thank You

kwackers
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Re: Pedestrian Islands

Postby kwackers » 1 Jun 2012, 10:59am

Looks narrow enough to discourage overtaking - particularly as you'd expect a cyclist to have moved further out just in case a following motorist had other ideas... :wink:

AlanD
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Re: Pedestrian Islands

Postby AlanD » 1 Jun 2012, 11:16am

Definately needs taking in the primary position, and done early to discourage someone racing you to it and left-hooking you.

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gaz
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Re: Pedestrian Islands

Postby gaz » 2 Jun 2012, 1:27pm

Geoffroid, welcome to the forum.

This thread may be of interest to you, particularly the posts by stoobs.
There'll be tarmac over, the white cliffs of Dover ...

Steady rider
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Re: Pedestrian Islands

Postby Steady rider » 2 Jun 2012, 7:39pm

I think there is a legal minimum width for pedestrian refuges, possibly 1.5m. The picture indicates it is wider than 1.5m, meaning more space could have been given to the lane width.

Cyclists could be treated in a similar way to pedestrians, legal minimum lane width (guidelines mean nothing).

Whatever the widths provided, having a legal requirement for a minimum passing clearance is needed. The CTC should be pushing hard for this requirement.

I would suggest for speeds of 40 mph or higher a separate cycle lane is needed as a legal requirement, otherwise a motorist may have to break hard and could increase the risk of tail end collisions or hitting the cyclist or passing too close.

At 30 mph limits or lower I would suggest a legal requirement for 'no overtaking of cyclists within the marked zone', approximately 10m each side of the refuge.

The legal requirements of a minimum passing clearance and no overtaking in the marked zones should set the framework for cyclists to proceed with the law on their side.

Guidelines and advice mean nothing or little in practice.

Road designers would have 2 main options for providing refuges. Perhaps the details need discussing and various examples considered.
Last edited by Steady rider on 8 Jun 2012, 2:47am, edited 1 time in total.

Tonyf33
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Re: Pedestrian Islands

Postby Tonyf33 » 4 Jun 2012, 5:41pm

The pedestrian island in Letchworth that I took objection to with my local highways didn't even have a safety audit done, they just said the engineer deemed it fine & as there had been no accidents the construction was perfectly safe. The fact it was a main road leading to the motorway with vehicles travelling in excess of the (40mph) speed limit and narrowed the carriaway significantly fell completely on deaf ears.
The sick thing is is that the island itelf is rarely if ever used as there is an underpass from one residential area to the other that is far closer (& much safer) and another footway further up the road toward the town centre which also gains acess to the residential area which avoids the speed of the traffic and one does not have to go out your way for it unlike the path that leads to the islands.

pwward
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Re: Pedestrian Islands

Postby pwward » 5 Jun 2012, 7:57pm

I've contacted the local CTC rep and she cannot recall being consulted about this matter.

Incidentally CTC and other local cycling groups have objected to Gatesheads' policy of 'installing' 1.2m wide cycle lanes (and narrower in places). Recently they have put in 1.2m wide lanes adjacent to parked cars. The head of transport policy, Nick Clennett (in a personal communication) has conformed this is intentional and they plan to continue to ignore DfT advice. On this matter Sustrans have been silent, even when it's been raised in the cycling forum.

There is a local discussion forum (http://www.gatesheadcycling.org.uk/forum ) that a local Council officer , Neil Frier contributes too. You'll see their belief set is deeply entrenched. They seem to genuinely believe they are helping the cause of cycling.

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meic
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Re: Pedestrian Islands

Postby meic » 5 Jun 2012, 8:20pm

pwward wrote:I've contacted the local CTC rep and she cannot recall being consulted about this matter.

Incidentally CTC and other local cycling groups have objected to Gatesheads' policy of 'installing' 1.2m wide cycle lanes (and narrower in places). Recently they have put in 1.2m wide lanes adjacent to parked cars. The head of transport policy, Nick Clennett (in a personal communication) has conformed this is intentional and they plan to continue to ignore DfT advice. On this matter Sustrans have been silent, even when it's been raised in the cycling forum.

There is a local discussion forum (http://www.gatesheadcycling.org.uk/forum ) that a local Council officer , Neil Frier contributes too. You'll see their belief set is deeply entrenched. They seem to genuinely believe they are helping the cause of cycling.


Are these islands on one of the Sustrans NCN routes?

I have recently had two installed on one of my regular routes and it seems all they will do is bring me into conflict with the motorised users as they will expect me to keep out of their way so that they do not have to slow down. Where as my attitude is that they have not been put there to slow me down so I will make sure I am in the middle of the lane in plenty of time.
Yma o Hyd

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Re: Pedestrian Islands

Postby Steady rider » 5 Jun 2012, 9:29pm

pwward » Tue Jun 05, 2012 7:57 pm wrote

Incidentally CTC and other local cycling groups have objected to Gatesheads' policy of 'installing' 1.2m wide cycle lanes (and narrower in places). Recently they have put in 1.2m wide lanes adjacent to parked cars. The head of transport policy, Nick Clennett (in a personal communication) has conformed this is intentional and they plan to continue to ignore DfT advice. On this matter Sustrans have been silent, even when it's been raised in the cycling forum.


It seems there could be 2 issues here,
1 - should a 1.2m cycle bypass lane be provided at pedestrian islands, so that cyclists are not squeezed by traffic at or near to the island.

2- should cycle lanes be provided next to parked vehicles?, if 1 m or 1.2 m or whatever width?

Some cyclists may not want any cycle lanes, some may prefer a bypass lane at traffic islands and other views may exist for cycle lanes and parked vehicles situations.

pwward
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Re: Pedestrian Islands

Postby pwward » 6 Jun 2012, 1:35pm

I was raising the issue of narrow cycle lanes as a way of letting the original poster know there are issues at Gateshead council to do with cycling facilities.. They have , how should one say it, form. Cycle lanes and Sustrans routes are not directrly related in this instance to the new traffic islands. For those of us trying to get them to install decent cycle facilities, Sustrans silence about the policy of installing 1.2m wide lanes is unhelpful.

thirdcrank
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Re: Pedestrian Islands

Postby thirdcrank » 6 Jun 2012, 1:50pm

It seems to me that the real issue here is islands for pedestrians. Now, from the POV of a pedestrian, an island is better than nothing since it enables a road to be crossed in two separate manoeuvres but that is simply to accept that motor traffic must be kept moving at almost any cost. It may be OK for the swift and fit to dash across one half of the road before scuttling across the other but it's not ideal. The most cursory examination of the state of the collapsible bollards used shows that these so-called "refuges" provide little protection to any pedestrians sheltering behind them(and it shows that the people responsible for their installation are more concerned about car bodywork than they are about the safety of people they dismiss as "peds.")

Another point is that although the various guidelines talk about the space alongside traffic islands, pedestrian refuges are an exception (or they were in the days when I could still be bothered to look.) It seems to me that slapping in a bit of textured paving is often use to legitimate unsatisfactory islands by promoting them to pedestrian crossing places.

Pete Owens
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Re: Pedestrian Islands

Postby Pete Owens » 14 Jun 2012, 1:13am

Steady rider wrote:I think there is a legal minimum width for pedestrian refuges, possibly 1.5m. The picture indicates it is wider than 1.5m, meaning more space could have been given to the lane width.

But in this case that would be a very bad idea.

As it is the gap looks to be just about narrow enough (about 3m) to deter anyone from attempting to overtake. If you make the gap a little bit wider then drivers would start to attempt to squeeze past - and to to make it wide enough to overtake safely you need at least 4.5m (more for a high speed road with heavy vehicles), which would mean removing the island completely. If anything, the island should be made wider to make it obvious to the dumbest driver that there really isn't room to get past.

Cyclists could be treated in a similar way to pedestrians, legal minimum lane width (guidelines mean nothing).

Whatever the widths provided, having a legal requirement for a minimum passing clearance is needed. The CTC should be pushing hard for this requirement.

I would suggest for speeds of 40 mph or higher a separate cycle lane is needed as a legal requirement, otherwise a motorist may have to break hard and could increase the risk of tail end collisions or hitting the cyclist or passing too close.

Again this is a dangerous idea unless you are very confident of the competence of the engineer implementing the cycle lane.

Engineers tend to paint cycle lanes in the space left over once they have catered for the widest possible motor vehicle to pass without hinderence. This is rarely wide enough and the effect is to give drivers the impression that they can blast past a cyclist who is expected to move out of the way into the gutter. How many times do you see an already substandard cycle lane narrowed as it passes a refuge.

Of course if engineers were prepared to keep a full 2m cycle lane through the gap and leave the remainder (however narrow) as a general traffic lane it would be a different story, but such examples are incredibly rare and invariably get featured in the national press. If there is enough room to place a full width cycle lane next to a full width traffic lane then the gap is wide enough for it not to be a problem.

At 30 mph limits or lower I would suggest a legal requirement for 'no overtaking of cyclists within the marked zone', approximately 10m each side of the refuge.

The legal requirements of a minimum passing clearance and no overtaking in the marked zones should set the framework for cyclists to proceed with the law on their side.

It is better that the design makes it obvious to drivers that there simply is insufficient space to get past.(ie the gap should be less than 3m)

There is a law that makes it illegal for drivers to overtake cyclists on the zig-zag approaches to pedestrian crossings for example and this is nearly universally flouted.

broadway
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Re: Pedestrian Islands

Postby broadway » 14 Jun 2012, 8:48am

Pete Owens wrote:There is a law that makes it illegal for drivers to overtake cyclists on the zig-zag approaches to pedestrian crossings for example and this is nearly universally flouted.


But the reverse is also true .....

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meic
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Re: Pedestrian Islands

Postby meic » 14 Jun 2012, 9:29am

I am afraid that there ISNT a law to prevent motorists overtaking cyclists on the zigzig lines approaching a pedestrian crossing. So nobody is flouting it, they are just disobeying the Highway Code and its mistaken use of the word vehicle instead of motor vehicle in the actual law.

If there was to be a adequately wide cycle lane and motorvehicle lane between the curb and the refuge, that would mean that the poor pedestrians have lost the benefit of said refuge, they would then need another refuge between the cycle lane and motor lane to get across without being Olympic athletes.

Though it does look as if they are being used as "stealth" traffic calming measures.
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Re: Pedestrian Islands

Postby Steady rider » 14 Jun 2012, 1:55pm

Pete Owens » Thu Jun 14, 2012 1:13 am
wrote

Steady rider wrote:
I think there is a legal minimum width for pedestrian refuges, possibly 1.5m. The picture indicates it is wider than 1.5m, meaning more space could have been given to the lane width.


But in this case that would be a very bad idea.


I don't think the speed limit has been mentioned or the actual lane width, so I am talking in general terms.

I do subscribe to the view that cyclists should be put in a position of holding up traffic, used effectively to slow traffic. At 3.0m lane width cars cannot overtake safely but motorcyclist could.
Pedestrian refuges may occur, say about 100 m from each other. Cyclists should not be subjected to holding up traffic frequently or put in the position of some drivers trying to squeeze past before the refuge. The 3m approach is not enhancing conditions for cycling.

If it comes down to a choice of about a 3m option, it should be rejected and the option of a traffic lights approach could be considered or a cheaper solution to design. A new Standard to consider this problem needs attention.

If anything, the island should be made wider to make it obvious to the dumbest driver that there really isn't room to get past


Making the island wider, not the approach needed.

Cyclists could be treated in a similar way to pedestrians, legal minimum lane width (guidelines mean nothing).

Whatever the widths provided, having a legal requirement for a minimum passing clearance is needed. The CTC should be pushing hard for this requirement.

I would suggest for speeds of 40 mph or higher a separate cycle lane is needed as a legal requirement, otherwise a motorist may have to break hard and could increase the risk of tail end collisions or hitting the cyclist or passing too close.

Again this is a dangerous idea unless you are very confident of the competence of the engineer implementing the cycle lane.


I would suggest for speeds of 40 mph or higher a separate cycle lane is needed as a legal requirement. This was meant to convey a cycle lane and road lane as separate lanes at the refuge not as a joint lane. Details and a new Standards required.

It is better that the design makes it obvious to drivers that there simply is insufficient space to get past.(ie the gap should be less than 3m)


My view is not to put cyclists in the position of holding up traffic by imposing narrow lane widths, using people to slow traffic. Alternative better options are needed.

Trying to sort out details via discissions is quite hard, the CTC needs a working group and provide a consultation document.