New A21 cycle route appears good in parts

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MikeF
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New A21 cycle route appears good in parts

Postby MikeF » 15 May 2018, 9:56pm

Highways England has constructed a new cycle route alongside the new dual A21. It was officially opened on 12th May and this video was made shortly before it opened. In spite of HE's own guidance it doesn't seem to be quite as good as it should be.
Proposed connections to it from Tonbridge Station, however, leave much to be desired - shared routes on pavements is the best Kent CC can do. :evil:

I have yet to try the route myself though.
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gaz
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Re: New A21 cycle route appears good in parts

Postby gaz » 17 May 2018, 10:49pm

Nice video, thanks for sharing.
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Re: New A21 cycle route appears good in parts

Postby Pete Owens » 17 May 2018, 11:21pm

At 1:24 the rider appears to use the footway illegally - then complain about the poor riding surface.

The good part of the route in the middle consists of a road from which motors are banned.

The bits at either end are absolute minimum standard shared use pavements. Basically slightly wider footways with the usual dangerous road crossings at the junctions - they are designed for pedestrian use so really need cyclists dismount signs (however much we dislike them) to operate safely.

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Re: New A21 cycle route appears good in parts

Postby mercalia » 18 May 2018, 4:01am

I wish I could cycle that fast

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mjr
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Re: New A21 cycle route appears good in parts

Postby mjr » 18 May 2018, 8:16am

Pete Owens wrote:At 1:24 the rider appears to use the footway illegally - then complain about the poor riding surface.

To be fair, the caption does complain that the junction leading to it is confusing.

The good part of the route in the middle consists of a road from which motors are banned.

The bits at either end are absolute minimum standard shared use pavements. Basically slightly wider footways with the usual dangerous road crossings at the junctions - they are designed for pedestrian use so really need cyclists dismount signs (however much we dislike them) to operate safely.

I disagree that dismount signs would make them safe because being slower and wider would just put cyclists at risk for longer. They need rebuilding to operate safely. I agree with the other bits. I wonder if this was done by the same group gaz met that only sees the new good guidance IAN195/16 as applying to new cycleways and is still building shoddy shared use to an unamended TA91/05.
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gaz
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Re: New A21 cycle route appears good in parts

Postby gaz » 18 May 2018, 9:26am

A21 widening was developped before IAN195/16 was introduced. https://highwaysengland.co.uk/projects/ ... -dualling/

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TrevA
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Re: New A21 cycle route appears good in parts

Postby TrevA » 18 May 2018, 3:42pm

At least it's Tarmac. When they built the new A46 near me, the cycle paths they put in were loose ash/gravel paths with lots of gates that you have to stop and open. The A21 path looks prone to flooding in several places.

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Re: New A21 cycle route appears good in parts

Postby [XAP]Bob » 19 May 2018, 11:40am

Pete Owens wrote: they are designed for pedestrian use so really need cyclists dismount signs (however much we dislike them) to operate safely.



No they are designed exclusively for motorists and require 'motorists get out and push' signs to make them operate safely.
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Re: New A21 cycle route appears good in parts

Postby MikeF » 20 May 2018, 8:17pm

Pete Owens wrote:At 1:24 the rider appears to use the footway illegally - then complain about the poor riding surface.

The good part of the route in the middle consists of a road from which motors are banned.

The bits at either end are absolute minimum standard shared use pavements. Basically slightly wider footways with the usual dangerous road crossings at the junctions - they are designed for pedestrian use so really need cyclists dismount signs (however much we dislike them) to operate safely.


I'm not quite clear why he's using the path or even why the path is provided at all as the road is blocked off.

Cyclist Dismount signs aren't "command" signs.

I'd be interested to try it myself to see what the finished section is like, so perhaps a trip to the other side (from me) of Tonbridge in the near future.

The part from Tonbridge Station to the road looks as though it's going to be as minimal as you can get judging by Kent CC's proposals!
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Re: New A21 cycle route appears good in parts

Postby MikeF » 16 Jun 2018, 10:44am

I cycled this route yesterday. I approached it from Tonbridge station up Pembury Road which wasn't too a horrendous A road on a Friday morning, although one van driver passenger did lean out of the window to tell me (I think) that I shouldn't be on the road. Perhaps he was right, the r/a junction at the end is horrendous to cross even on foot even though it's a designated crossing point, but without lights.

As for the route itself it's as my heading states - good in parts. It hasn't been designed by someone who cycles and is an after thought. HE need to carrying out an audit so they can learn from their mistakes. The road gradients have been smoothed out for motor traffic, but no attempt has been made to do this for cyclists. From Tonbridge there is a considerable climb that raises the cycle route much higher than the road - 6"03' onwards on the video. Signage is bad and the usual cycle signs are useless if you need to go straight ahead as the arm is hidden by the one at right angles, and requires a stop to read the sign.

I don't think the cyclist in the video returned on exactly the same route eg at 7"12'. I used the path under the road at this point - again poor signage, although I think either path would have taken me to Pembury although the one to the right would have involved a light controlled road crossing. The one to the left leads to a minor road where cyclists "rejoin the carriageway" (a minor road) according to the sign except in the wrong direction! This then leads to the road to Pembury where there is a Cyclists Dismount sign and another very bad uncontrolled crossing. :evil: The path along the road to Pembury hospital is really wide (not shown the video) but the link from there leads to another horrendous crossing (traffic lights but no pedestrian phase) to the A264 path to Tunbridge Wells. This probably wouldn't have been in HE scheme though.

I did travel under the A21 for a short distance because I was confused and experienced some of the very bumpy surface mentioned in the video (I agree it was very unpleasant). Another issue is that in some places trees have been planted and they are quite close to the path. In a few years time the path is likely to be covered in tree débris. :roll:

£70 million pounds has been spent on this road and although cyclists have been considered, which is good, there are lot of design faults that no doubt occurred because a cyclist wasn't involved in the design. If routes like this are being built to enable cycling then someone who actually cycles and understands what is required needs to involved at the design stage. This route appears to be an after thought, even though constructed to a much higher standard than usual.

Edited for corrections/additions
Last edited by MikeF on 17 Jun 2018, 3:08pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Grandad
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Re: New A21 cycle route appears good in parts

Postby Grandad » 16 Jun 2018, 11:06pm

I did this ride a few weeks ago and somehow ended up in the enormous trading estate with no signed escape route :(

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Re: New A21 cycle route appears good in parts

Postby MikeF » 17 Jun 2018, 3:11pm

Grandad wrote:I did this ride a few weeks ago and somehow ended up in the enormous trading estate with no signed escape route :(

It's not just me then!
"It takes a genius to spot the obvious" - my old physics master