Cancellation of The Avenues cycle tracks

Norwich Cycling Campaign is extremely disappointed to learn that the proposed changes to The Avenues, as part of the Pink Pedalway improvements, have been dropped by Norwich City Council. In place of wide hybrid (Danish style) cycle tracks on both sides of The Avenues that were planned after public consultations there will only be some general traffic calming measures focused on the junctions.

We appreciate that the detailed engineering work for The Avenues has thrown up severe technical difficulties related to the current and future health of the trees; that Department for Transport funding rules mean that construction must be completed by September 2015; and that the increased cost of the works has caused the council to consider if this project is value for money.

Yet this is an extremely busy route for people cycling from the hospital, research park and university to the city and it has needed urgent improvements for years. The proposed hybrid cycle tracks would have offered a safe, convenient and attractive route for current commuters as well as encouraging more people to use an active and sustainable means of transport today and in the future. It would also have helped to ensure the reliability of bus services by smoothing traffic flow. The project gave benefits to people living on The Avenues by removing the shared use cycle path that is adjacent to their front gardens and so removing conflict between people walking and cycling. We expected these hybrid cycle tracks to be a model for other parts of Norwich.

The traffic calming measures currently being built are not specific to cycling and provide none of these benefits. The new plans also keep the shared use path that is entirely inadequate for the current number of cyclists let alone encouraging or providing space for future ones.

As a result of phase one of the Cycle City Ambition projects the council now has greater engineering and design expertise and experience. We hope and expect that the phase two projects (Blue and Yellow Pedalways) can be successfully constructed as high quality cycle routes that will be an example to other cities in the UK.

See also: Are the changes to The Avenues working?

7 thoughts on “Cancellation of The Avenues cycle tracks

  1. As a resident living on The Avenues , we were excited the council were finally going to regenerate the road , but were not surprised they have started making issues and watering it down to save money . This stretch of road was going to be its flagship scheme but will probably be there white elephant and the biggest losers will be the cyclist !!
    Residents and pedestrians reccent cyclist on the existing cycle path and the cyclist (50%) who chose to use the road
    often get verbal abuse from car owners who tell them to use the cycle path , can’t understand why they can’t keep to the existing plans but may be reduce the width of each cycle path , the verges that run parallel with the road are lower than the kerbs !!! they say the tree roots will damage the cycle paths but the existing cycle path is the same distance to the trees as the planned new ones .
    Can you also tell us why this cycle scheme was not extended to the other side of The Avenues to at least level with Heigham park ( 90% of cyclist cross Colman rd . back to a normal rd)

    1. Apparently the existing shared use path was constructed to old standards and doesn’t have the proper foundations that the new one would have required.

      The scheme would probably have been extended across Colman Road in future years but now we’re back to square one 🙁

  2. The Avenues is a seriously dangerous and unsatisfactory mess. The old path does need upgrading but it basically OK. The surface isn’t too bad for a path that’s almost a quater of a century old and has never had any maintenance.

    For very little cost the present path could have been slightly widened to allow for a kerb to clearly deliniate it from the footpath. It also needed – and still needs – priority across the side junctions, which was the who point of the raised tables at the junctions.

    With only one on-road cycle track there would have been room to eat intot he road space a little and also to provide a roadside cycle route gonig the other way.

    What we have is a mess and really needs to be the focus of a campaign for a serious cycle route. It’s a gift inthat respect, I doubt anyoen will really like the present arrangement.

  3. The Avenues is a seriously dangerous and unsatisfactory mess. The old path does need upgrading but it basically OK. The surface isn’t too bad for a path that’s almost a quarter of a century old and has never had any maintenance.

    For very little cost the present path could have been slightly widened to allow for a kerb to clearly delineate it from the footpath. It also needed – and still needs – priority across the side junctions, which was the whole point of the raised tables at the junctions.

    With only one on-road cycle track there would have been room to eat into the road space a little and also to provide a roadside cycle route going the other way.

    What we have is a mess and really needs to be the focus of a campaign for a serious cycle route. It’s a gift in that respect, I doubt anyone will really like the present arrangement.

    1. The existing off-road path has a number of problems such as being too narrow for the number of people cycling on the route and being too close to entrances.

      If we want world-class cycling infrastructure on this busy route then it’s better we concentrate on campaigning for that rather than accepting piecemeal updates to a path that is largely ignored by most people cycling on The Avenues.

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