Conversion of major cycleway to a road.

Rob Archer
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Joined: 10 Apr 2007, 8:25pm
Location: King's Lynn, Norfolk

Conversion of major cycleway to a road.

Postby Rob Archer » 15 Feb 2013, 11:17am

We've just learnt (unofficially as yet) that Norfolk County Council are planning
to convert a mile-long section of NCN Route 1 through King's Lynn to a general
purpose road in order to give access to a large housing development on
'brownfield' and 'surplus' (actually a semi-official BMX track and playing
fields)land near LynnSport sports centre. When the current cycleway was built
about 15 years ago on a former railway line it was hailed as giving cyclist a
direct route through the town, linking a park, Sports centre and two secondary
schools with housing areas, as well as forming part of the National Cycle
Network. It's actually one of the best bits of the NCN and is extremely well
used. My source has assured me that 'cyclists will be catered for' - I suspect
that means a shared footpath alongside the road.

This is the second part of Route 1 to be lost as a traffic-free route recently
as part of the southern entrance to the town has been converted to a busway,
with a very narrow shared-use path alongside. This happened despite almost
universal opposition from local residents, cycling groups and other users. We
now hear that that, too may become a general road.

The housing scheme does appear on the Borough Council's 10 year local development framework but there is no mention of the road. Part of another excellent off-road route is also rumoured to be being considered for conversion to new access road to the QEII Hospital. It would appear that NCC have cynically supported construction of cycle routes in order to safeguard
the land for future road schemes.

Is there anywhere else in the UK where an otherwise excellent cycle network is
being converted to roads? Any advice on how to proceed from here would be
helpful.

Rob Archer

JJF
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Re: Conversion of major cycleway to a road.

Postby JJF » 15 Feb 2013, 9:03pm

It might be useful to contact your local councillor. He/she should be able to give firm info on what is proposed. You could do a little bit of lobbying for cyclists' rights.

sirmy
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Re: Conversion of major cycleway to a road.

Postby sirmy » 15 Feb 2013, 9:12pm

Have you checked the council's planning portal? If there is an application it should be on there with associated maps etc

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gaz
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Re: Conversion of major cycleway to a road.

Postby gaz » 15 Feb 2013, 9:42pm

Some parallels to the Gosport Rapid Transit Scheme? viewtopic.php?f=6&t=20889
2020 : To redundancy ... and beyond!

thirdcrank
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Re: Conversion of major cycleway to a road.

Postby thirdcrank » 20 Feb 2013, 2:40pm

I can't offer any direct experience of the type you are looking for. I'll suggest that one possible tactic is to see if there's a local residents' group mounting some opposition, and hitch your cart to theirs. If the local residents are general either in favour or even indifferent about the outcome, you are almost certainly wasting your time.

Developing land generally involves long term strategies. There can be big sums of money at stake so the people hoping to benefit can often wait for the right opportunity, preparing the way in the meantime by getting influential people onside, and paying top dollar for the best legal advice. Planning knock backs can be the subject of appeals and amended applications.

Setting aside all that, what's at stake from a cyclist's POV? By the sound of it, the exclusive use (with pedestrians) of a relatively short length of right of way. If the route forming the R.o.W is being "improved," cyclists would normally still be able to use it. It may even be that the developers have already included in their planning submission a cycling farcility along its length ie the pavement will have blue signs.

Rob Archer
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Location: King's Lynn, Norfolk

Re: Conversion of major cycleway to a road - update.

Postby Rob Archer » 24 Mar 2013, 9:02am

This is now no longer just an unpleasant rumour.

http://www.lynnnews.co.uk/news/business ... -1-4925207

As far as we are aware this is the only off-road bit of the National Cycle Network under threat of being converted to a road. It is absolutely imperative that this scheme does not go ahead, as it will set a national precedent. Although Cllr Beales said that 'the cycle path will be retained', I've been and had a look and there is no way that there is room for a road + a high quality cycleway, even if the adjacent drain is filled in. The existing route is too narrow to cope with the volume of walkers and cyclists at peak times as it is.

One of the reasons given for building the route in the late 90s was to improve access to Lynnsport and future developments. To spend £3.5 million on a 1km link road for a relatively modest development of 450 houses is ridiculous when for most destinations (schools, employment, station and the town centre) it will be quicker to walk or cycle even if the new road is built.

It seems ridiculous that they are concerned about 'access' to LynnSport when there has been no attempt to promote the excellent walking and cycling links to the facility.

If you want to help protect our local and national cycle network for the future, please:

Write to your local Borough and County Councillors asking that they vote against the road proposal and reallocate the council's contribution to the scheme (£834 000 !) to improving the local cycling network.
Write to the local press (EDP and Lynn News)
Write to Sustrans, who manage the NCN and part-funded construction of the route.
Write to the Department for Transport who will have to decide whether to grant the bulk of the funding.
Write to the local MP, Henry Bellingham
Let any cycling friends know and get them to write too.

Although funding has already been applied for, there has, as yet, been no formal planning application. The more publicity this recieves before it gets to the formal planning stage the better chance we have of winning. Time is of the essence, as the council's regeneration committee meets on wednesday 27th March to discuss it.

Any queries, let me know.

Rob Archer
CTC local Campaign Rep.

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gaz
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Re: Conversion of major cycleway to a road.

Postby gaz » 24 Mar 2013, 2:59pm

Funding Application here.

Good Luck.
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Pete Owens
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Re: Conversion of major cycleway to a road.

Postby Pete Owens » 24 Mar 2013, 5:32pm

Rather than opposing it outright you would be better trying to influence the design so that the new road will continue to form a seamless part of the cycle route.

ie that cyclists travelling on the NCN will not have to give way, get off, ride on the pavement or any of the other inconveniences or delays that traffic engineers are likely to introduce. Motor traffic intending to use that stretch should give way to the main cycle traffic when they join the route and turn off when they leave and be subject to a 20mph limit while they are using the route.

Mark1978
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Re: Conversion of major cycleway to a road.

Postby Mark1978 » 24 Mar 2013, 5:37pm

Considering the cycle way was there first such demands would be reasonable. But probably be dismissed as unworkable.

Rob Archer
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Re: Conversion of major cycleway to a road.

Postby Rob Archer » 24 Mar 2013, 8:53pm

Pete Owens wrote:Rather than opposing it outright you would be better trying to influence the design so that the new road will continue to form a seamless part of the cycle route.

ie that cyclists travelling on the NCN will not have to give way, get off, ride on the pavement or any of the other inconveniences or delays that traffic engineers are likely to introduce. Motor traffic intending to use that stretch should give way to the main cycle traffic when they join the route and turn off when they leave and be subject to a 20mph limit while they are using the route.


There are wider issues at stake here.

Due to space constraints the best we can hope for is a narrow (3m max) shared use path. we've been calling for some time for the pedestrian and cycle route to be separated as the route is almost impassable by bike at peak times because of the number of pedestrians.

We've already lost a chunk of the southern end of the route to a busway (although you can cycle on it it's a bit hairy for less confident riders.) At the moment it's an attractive route that provides loads of links that are difficult by car. That advantage will be lost of the road goes ahead.

It sets a precedent for other sections of the NCN where councils see a cycling corridor as a route for potential road schemes. If this meets high-profile opposition it may deter future land-grabs.

The council have failed to even consider any non-motorised transport option espite the proximity of the housing and sports centre to other facilities.

PRL
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Re: Conversion of major cycleway to a road.

Postby PRL » 24 Mar 2013, 9:51pm

gaz wrote:Funding Application here.

Good Luck.



In which they claim that the scheme is not controversial and has no opposition. Perhaps get your local MP to write to DfT pointing out that this is not true.

Pete Owens
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Re: Conversion of major cycleway to a road.

Postby Pete Owens » 25 Mar 2013, 12:57am

Rob Archer wrote:
Pete Owens wrote:Rather than opposing it outright you would be better trying to influence the design so that the new road will continue to form a seamless part of the cycle route.

ie that cyclists travelling on the NCN will not have to give way, get off, ride on the pavement or any of the other inconveniences or delays that traffic engineers are likely to introduce. Motor traffic intending to use that stretch should give way to the main cycle traffic when they join the route and turn off when they leave and be subject to a 20mph limit while they are using the route.


There are wider issues at stake here.

Due to space constraints the best we can hope for is a narrow (3m max) shared use path. we've been calling for some time for the pedestrian and cycle route to be separated as the route is almost impassable by bike at peak times because of the number of pedestrians.

You should certainly oppose any attempts to forced you to ride on the pavement (as I pointed out above).
The point I was making was assuming that the cycle route should follow the carriageway (hence my comments above).
Riding on the carriageway addresses all your problems - it will wider than your existing route, free of pedestrians and almost certainly constructed to much higher standards - so long as the road is constructed and laid out as an integral part of the cycle route which motor vehicles will join for a short section. And that road is designed to cycle friendly principles (which does not mean tagging on cycle facilities).

You have to approach the highwayman with the view that the NCN is a serious piece of infrastructure used by utility cyclists to get from A to B - thus delays, inconvenience to cyclists are as important as delays to any other vehicles - and continuity, priority and directness of the route is critical.

I am sure that their view of the NCN is as a leisure facility - somewhere nice to go for a ride away from traffic. From this perspective it is bound to take second place to serious transport infrastructure. They will do their utmost to avoid it going on the road at all, however indirect, dangerous or inconvenient a route they this involves.

Mark1978
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Re: Conversion of major cycleway to a road.

Postby Mark1978 » 25 Mar 2013, 8:57am

Your proposal is an excellent one, i.e. basically making the cycle path take priority. But I wonder about that getting lost in translation, cars having to give way to bikes? You might as well be talking in Swahili for all the sense that would make to some on councils.

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hubgearfreak
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Re: Conversion of major cycleway to a road.

Postby hubgearfreak » 25 Mar 2013, 5:09pm

Rob Archer wrote:Is there anywhere else in the UK where an otherwise excellent cycle network is
being converted to roads? Any advice on how to proceed from here would be
helpful.


yes, the bristol-bath path. whilst none of it's been converted to roads (yet) one bit has had to divert around a new motorist's bypass. whether this has been done well, i don't know. there's also been an attempt to make it into a bus track. a google search will show up the bristol cycle groups and maybe they'll tell you what they've done.
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bristol_an ... ilway_Path

crowriver
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Re: Conversion of major cycleway to a road.

Postby crowriver » 26 Mar 2013, 6:29pm

I cycled on this path two years ago when we were touring in East Anglia. It's a great path. What a shame the council is so short-sighted. 'Access' to them only means access for cars: traffic-free access that is already there apparently does not count!