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?