Magdalen Road/Sprowston Road junction

Magdalen Road looking north at it’s junction with Sprowston Road. Photo: Google Streetview

If you have cycled up Magdalen Road to the junction with Sprowston Road you will know how dangerous the junction feels: there is a wide, fast slip road continuing north on Magdalen Road that you have to cross if you are going up Sprowston Road.

There are plans to change this junction that we don’t think go far enough. A huge amount of space is available at this junction.

A cycling campaign working group looked at the junction and came up with two options, with the first strongly preferred. We seek to eliminate the conflicting movements (one vehicle crossing the path of another) that increase collisions.

Option 1: Cycle phase at the traffic signals

The purple areas are the new traffic islands at this junction

The traffic islands (in purple) are rearranged to:

  • make the slip road from Magdalen Road to Magdalen Road northbound a cycle-only route.
  • provide a waiting area for people cycling from Magdalen Road to Sprowston Road northbound that is segregated from motor traffic by an island.
  • provide a waiting area for cycles turning from Magdalen Road to Magdalen Road southbound that is segregated from motor traffic by an island.

The geometry of the junction becomes more like a standard T-junction with the benefit of reduced vehicle speeds.

There are separate signals (traffic lights) for cyclists in each of the protected waiting areas. To see how this works, let’s look at the three phases of the signals. (For simplicity we have omitted the phase for traffic emerging from Churchill Road.)

Phase 1: Magdalen Road to Sprowston Road

Phase 1: traffic flows between Magdalen Road and Sprowston Road

Traffic has a green light to travel from Magdalen Road to Sprowston Road (and vice versa) and to turn left in to Magdalen Road to go north. However the turn is at a sharper angle which will slow traffic speeds and increase safety at the junction.

Cycles can travel north on Magdalen Road but are held at the signals on the junction.

Phase 2: Magdalen Road southbound

Phase 2: Magdalen Road southbound

This is similar to the current phase when turning out of Magdalen Road and heading south: traffic can turn in either direction (or do straight on.

Cycles can travel north on Magdalen Road but are held at the signals on the junction.

Phase 3: Cycles go

Phase 3: Cycles are go.

The traffic signals turn green for cycles while all other traffic is held. Cycles travelling north on to Sprowston Road will cross those emerging from Magdalen Road heading south though this won’t be a problem in practice: Firstly due to the timing those emerging from Magdalen Road will have crossed the junction before those heading north reach the same spot. Secondly experience from Denmark and The Netherlands is that cyclists can negotiate and cross each other safely without signals. (If needed a give way line could be added.

The bicycle phase could also provide a time for pedestrians to cross – a so-called ‘green scramble’.

Option 2: Raised priority crossing

Cycle track crossing a side road with priority. Note the markings on the road to make the priority clear. Photo: Making Space for Cycling contributor

Priority crossing on junction

Option 2 uses a standard design for a T-junction, which has the cycle track set back one car’s length from the junction on a raised level with priority for cycles (this is the dotted area in the diagram). It’s critical that the left turn is sharp when heading north on Madgalen Road to slow motor traffic so it can give way when crossing the cycle track.

This option isn’t as good as Option 1 because there are still conflicting movement however it does allow cycles to go north without stopping.

Phase 1: Magdalen Road to Sprowston Road

Phase 1: Turning vehicles give way to cycles

Vehicles on Magdalen Road can continue on to Sprowston Road and turn left on to Magdalen Road. Cycles can continue from Magdalen Road to Sprowston Road. Turning vehicles must give way to cycles on the crossing.

Phase 2: Madgalen Road southbound

Phase 2: Turning vehicles give way to cycles

Vehicles emerge from Magdalen Road heading south and again have to give way to cycles on the crossing. As an option cycles could be held at a red signal during this phase.

Phase 3: Cycles go

Phase 3: Cycles go

Cycles emerge from Magdalen Road heading southbound and have to give way to cycles on the crossing.