Key requirements for Prince of Wales Road and Rose Lane improvements


Changes are due soon in the Prince of Wales Road and Rose Lane area of the city centre. In this post we look at what people cycling want to improve this area.

Norwich Cycling Campaign is in favour of the general approach of reducing motor traffic inside the city walls and in particular curtailing through motor traffic that adds nothing to the city centre. Substantially reducing motor traffic is a key part of the city council’s attempts to improve the poor air quality in the city centre.

We understand the general approach is that Prince of Wales Road could become two way for buses and cycles with Rose Lane changing to two way for all vehicles. We support this general design and these are the key requirements for cyclists in this area.

1. Segregated cycle tracks should be built on Prince of Wales Road. Even though traffic will be substantially reduced many people are uncomfortable cycling with buses and cars, especially as they travel at some speed down the hill. For this reason segregated tracks are needed. There is room to build the street in the style of footway-cycle track-parking-traffic lane however there probably isn’t the money to do so at the moment. We believe light segregation using wands or zebras should be used on both sides of the road.

2. King Street between Prince of Wales Road and Rose Lane: the junction at PoW should be closed to motor vehicles and the footway made continuous across the junction. This will allow this section of King Street to become two way for cycles with motor vehicles travelling one way from Greyfriars Road to service King Street. Currently north-bound (city-bound) have to use the shared use path yet many cyclists report abuse for cycling on it, and shared use is not appropriate for urban locations. Closing this part of King Street to through traffic should improve air quality in an area with new offices and appartments.

3. The junction at Agricultural Hall Plain must be designed to allow cycles to join and leave Bank Plain and Upper King Street as well as Castle Meadow. Bank Plain could become an important route if London Street is opened to cycling. The junction at Upper King Street must consider how PoW will connect to the short Tombland cycle track.

4. King Street/Rose Lane junction to Cattle Market Street: there are a number of commuters who turn right from King Street to Cattle Market Street and the changes must connect with the cycle lanes on Cattle Market Street put in as part of the Golden Ball Street changes. There is a huge amount of space on the highway at the junction by Crown Road and segregated cycle tracks should be built.

5. Rose Lane area. Rose Lane is currently a virtual no-go area for cycles (and most pedestrians) however there are many new developments at the Union Building, Imperial House and various sites on Mountergate that are/will be redeveloped. Consideration must be given to how the people living and working around Rose Lane will walk and cycle across it to connect with safe and convenient routes on King Street and PoW.

Employment development Keswick: our response

2016/0764 | Outline Application for Proposed employment development. Land West of Ipswich Road Keswick Norfolk

Norwich Cycling Campaign notes changes have been made to the cycling provision in the proposed development. For clarity, Norwich Cycling Campaign restates the original objections it wishes to sustain in Appendix A below. Norwich Cycling campaign now adds to these the following comments and objections:

General comments

The recognition of a need for connectivity between the site and the Keswick bridleway, as argued for in the previous submission, is welcomed. Unfortunately, the connectivity proposed uses an on-road cycle lane that is only advisory, and the cycle lane could be a serious safety hazard. (See objection below).

The removal of the traffic lights at the B1113/A140 junction and the closure of the right turn and left hand turn access from the A140 into B1113 is welcomed. This goes part way towards Norwich Cycling Campaign’s recommendation of the closure of this section of the B1113 except for a small access road for servicing the existing properties.

The disappearance from the developer’s proposals of the off-road cycleway from the region of the Harford Park and Ride to the B1113/A140 junction is deplorable. Norwich Cycling Campaign had welcomed this link in the original proposals. It was seen as an important contribution to sustainable transport; and as a means of extending the Yellow Pedalway towards Swardeston and other outlying settlements, linking Norwich with its surrounding countryside, and emulating what is already being achieved on the Blue Pedalway in the direction of Wymondham.

Objections

The developer’s proposals do not meet the requirements of Policy DM 3.10 at (1) in the South Norfolk Local Plan Development Management Policies Document Adoption Version October 2015:
All development should support sustainable transport and development objectives, utilise all opportunities to integrate with local sustainable transport networks, be designed to reduce the need to travel and to maximise the use of sustainable forms of transport appropriate to the location.

The plans lack adequate provision for safe cycling connectivity between the site and Norwich

There is no safe connection for cyclists between the Yellow Pedalway to the north of Harford Bridge, and the advisory cycle lanes to the south on the B1113.
A three lane A140 (two northbound lanes only 3m wide, the other 3.5m) with traffic travelling at the national speed limit will be a serious disincentive to most cyclists wishing to commute between the new employment area, Tesco’s, and the Norwich area. The route will be used on a regular basis only if there is an off-road cycle link between the Yellow Pedalway and the cycling lanes on the B1113.

(The Norwich Yellow Pedalway has only recently been extended as an off-road route with a crossing point of the A140 from east to west immediately north of Harford Bridge. It appears this newly constructed crossing will be swept away by the proposed construction of three lanes on the A140 at this point.)

Failure to provide connectivity with the off-road cycle routes of Norwich, means the development does not “utilise all opportunities to integrate with local sustainable transport networks” as required by DM 3.10

Advisory Cycle Lanes on the B1113 are not safe

Advisory cycle lanes are normally used only on routes that are subject to speed restrictions (e.g. 20 mph) and/or traffic calming measures, and have low levels of traffic. The existing proposals for advisory cycle lanes on the busy B1113 road are inadequate on the following grounds:

  • No measures to limit speed
  • No traffic calming measures
  • Width of advisory lane has not been specified. On-road cycle lanes of inadequate width are seen by many cyclists as very dangerous, particularly as there is evidence to suggest that vehicles overtake cyclists more closely when lanes are present.
  • No measures to limit traffic density
  • Vehicles are permitted to enter and to park on an advisory lane.

Failure by the developer to provide a cycle route to Norwich that is safe, and perceived to be safe, means the development does not “maximise the use of sustainable forms of transport appropriate to the location”, as required by DM 3.10

What would meet the requirements of Policy DM 3.10?
An off-road cycleway (perhaps shared with pedestrians) along the B1113 to connect the development cycle path at the new roundabout, to the Norwich Yellow Pedalway, via a safe crossing point of the A140.

Appendix A

Norwich Cycling Campaign continues to support the following objections from its original submission:

Contrary to local plan

A large part of the Proposed development area is outside the allocated employment area KES2 in the local plan. The allocated area was agreed upon only after extensive consultation. Ad hoc developments outside of the agreed local plan can be expected to further increase the unsustainability of transport (and other service) arrangements in the Greater Norwich area.

Falls within the Southern Bypass Protection Zone

It falls within the southern by-pass protection zone, and is in close proximity to the Yare Valley River Corridor. The Yare Valley River Corridor has been recognised as an important feature of the local green infrastructure for recreation and wildlife conservation. The proposal would degrade the attractiveness of the Yare Valley Corridor, and so inhibit cycling in the Yare Valley Corridor as a means of healthy recreation.

An unnecessary junction

If the proposed link road were built to a sufficient standard to carry all the traffic between the B1113 and the A140 there would be no argument for retaining a junction at the Harford bridge. A small access road from the B1113/link road junction [now a proposed roundabout] could be retained for servicing the existing properties.
The resulting land released by closing the B1113 at the approach to the Harford Bridge junction could be used to:

  1. Provide an attractive cycleway/footpath link between the Keswick Bridleway and Harford Bridge and increase opportunities for healthy recreation in the Yare Valley.
  2. Provide planting and landscaping opportunities to enhance this pinch point of the Yare Valley Corridor for wildlife and recreation to provide some compensation for the development taking place in the immediate vicinity. Such enhancement could link well with the proposed attenuation pond.
  3. Enable land to be released from the vehicular highway on the east side of the A140 so that the present inadequate footpath could be replaced by a good standard pathway/cycleway.

‘Improving the A47’: our response

“Improving the A47” consultation March/April 2017

Norwich Cycling Campaign welcomes the opportunity for cyclists to be involved in the early planning of these schemes.

On all three schemes that we comment on here, our aim is to highlight opportunities to maintain and improve access and connectivity for non- motorised and local traffic as part of this strategic road improvement. If this dimension of accessibility is included at this stage of the plans, we believe that the results will be better for the local community, increase commuting and leisure journeys by alternative means to the car, improve ‘green’ tourism, reduce congestion and represent a very small proportion of the overall cost.

We would like to highlight some recent documents from Highways England: –

Highways England – Cycling Strategy our approach 2016
This document commits Highways England to design and implement an integrated, comprehensive and high quality cycling network; safe and separate from traffic. An investment of £100 million of ring-fenced funding in 200 schemes is promised by 2021. We welcome the opportunity to apply the strategy outlined in these documents on provision for cyclists in this section of the strategic road network.

Highways England – Interim Advice note 195/16 Cycle Traffic and the Strategic Road Network Oct 1916

This advice note sets out guidance for planners and designers which is relevant to the proposals for the A47, in particular:

  • 1.1 “… ensure SRN infrastructures facilitates the convenient and safe movement of cycle traffic crossing or travelling along the SRN …”
  • 2.1.1 “out of corridor cycle routes may be created … through the adoption of or conversion of rights of way …”
  • 2.1.1 “… designers shall plan to acquire land to create the space to accommodate cycle traffic …”
  • 2.1.1 “Cycle networks shall also allow for trips crossing the SRN corridor.”
  • 2.5.1 “Underbridges” This whole section is relevant to the proposal for an underpass beneath the A47 at the Thickthorn roundabout.
  • 2.10.1 Pavement Construction for Cycle Routes. “Unbound surfaces shall not be provided on cycle routes.”

North Tuddenham to Easton Dualling

There are two omissions from the maps in the consultation document:

  1. The existing pedestrian crossing which was supposed to replace Dog Lane when the Easton Bypass was constructed. This crossing is so dangerous that nobody would try to use it. The signs on the A47 warning of pedestrians crossing are misleading.
  2. The minor roads which branch off from the roundabout at the end of the dual carriageway at the western end of the Easton by pass are not shown. These roads include Church Lane, Dog Lane, Low Road, Lodge Road, and Ringland Road, which at present, are not safely accessible to cyclists due to the dangerous roundabout.

At present, there are no safe crossing points on the A47 between North Tuddenham and the New Road underpass near Bowthorpe. The double roundabouts at the Longwater commercial site are intimidating for cyclists and will get more so as traffic increases.

A number of new safe crossing points for cyclists are required including:

  1. The new proposed junction at North Tuddenham.
  2. Low Road at Hockering
  3. B1535
  4. Taverham Road/Blind Lane
  5. The new proposed junction at Easton
  6. An alternative to the double roundabouts at Longwater to give safe access to the commercial site to the north of the A47 and Easton to the south.

Proposals 1, 3 and 4 offer the opportunity to for a cycle way from North Tuddenham, through Hockering and Honingham to Easton. This would give access to the Easton College, the Royal Norfolk Showground and the Longwater commercial estate. This overall scheme would need crossings as above.

In the event that Option 2 is selected, an alternative would be to hard surface Hall Lane (TG 06657 12631), Grange Lane (TG 103411 110110) and Broom Lane (TG 12440 10356) and incorporate them with minor roads to produce a cycleway from North Tuddenham to Easton. This scheme would still need the crossings as above for north south trips.

The Easton Parish Local Development plan, Policy 5, addresses concern about the problems of local connectivity which are relevant to this scheme.

A47/A11 Thickthorn Junction

Outside of these proposals, but of vital importance is the future development of the Hethersett to Norwich cycleway. The Old Newmarket Road between the Thickthorn junction and the Round House roundabout was the scene of a collision in 2015, which resulted in the death of a cyclist some months later. As the inquest has not yet been resumed the exact facts are unknown; however, this tragedy should be kept in mind. There are problems with the Round House roundabout due to the poor sight lines and the speed at which motor vehicles leave the roundabout to enter Round House Way.

The underpass to link Cantley Lane and Cantley Lane South could present a hazard to cyclists – there should be separate cycle paths on each side and the underpass should be well lit. A possible danger is the line and angle of the setting sun in winter – will it dazzle drivers?

Blofield to Burlingham dualling

At present, there are no safe crossing points on the A47 between Blofield and Acle. The dualling proposals 3 and 4 offer the opportunity to create safe crossing points at Lingwood Road/Dell Corner Lane, and as part of the proposed junctions at Blofield and North Burlingham. A crossing at Lingwood Lane would allow cyclists to avoid the B1140 which is used by HGVs heading for Cantley factory during the sugar beet campaign.

It would be possible to incorporate the existing road into a cycle route from Blofield to Great Yarmouth. This would involve creating a short length of cycle way (about 2 km) from the proposed junction at North Burlingham to The Windle incorporating the existing layby. The route would then turn North for about 400 metres then right onto an existing bridleway (Mill Lane) to come out in the centre of Acle. Mill Lane should be surfaced for all weather use. The route could then link with the recently announced cycle way from Acle to Great Yarmouth via Stokesby and West Caister.

Of relevance here is Acle Town Council -Neighbourhood Plan 2014-2016 which states:

Policy 5- encourage new and improved footpaths, footways, cycleways and bridleways connecting Acle with surrounding villages and the countryside, including the improvement of the footway between Norwich Road and Mill Lane/Acle Academy and improved footpath and cycleway adjacent to A1064 between Acle Bridge and the village.