Newsletter

January 2022

January, it's supposed to be cold with snow. Oh well: Happy new year!

 

In this newsletter we have some good news about the Connecting the Lanes project, disappointing news about the Ipswich Road cycle lanes and some potentially worrying news about the Grapes Hill roundabout project. Also mayhem has been unleashed on St Stephens Street and a miniature bus lane proposed for Ketts Hill.

 

The campaign is starting the new year the way we intend to continue with an image revamp. You might notice the masthead has changed and we have a new tag line - "Your voice for a fine cycling city". There's more of this to come.

 

Inspired by the success of the Science Festival stall last year we hope to have a stall ready for the summer to get the message out and hopefully to recruit some more members, stay tuned for more about that.

 

Speaking of new members, we're offering a special discount rate for the rest of the year!

Membership

It's no secret that the past couple of years have been very difficult for everyone including the campaign in terms of recruiting new members. It's really vital for us to increase our membership.

 

So if you're reading this and still haven't joined, here's a special offer. If you join now, you can have the remaining year to October for the special low price of £3.50. Now come on, that's got to be good.

Go to the joining page here, select "join" and write "special" in the comments box. You can pay either by paypal or BACS transfer 

Connecting the Lanes

Charring Cross, an area of Norwich about to be transformed - photo Derek

 

The mostly good news is that the "Connecting the Lanes" scheme is to go ahead, although perhaps predictably, some elements have been watered down.

 

The good news

 

There will be proper, high quality cycle tracks along St Andrews Street, replacing one lane of motor traffic. The road will become one-way for motor traffic heading west to Duke Street but moved to the other side of the road, so what is now the westbound traffic lane between Exchange Street and St Andrews Plain will be converted into the two way cycle track.

 

This will connect with both St Benedicts Street (where the present traffic restrictions will become permanent) and the Westwick Street cycle lane. There will be an improved crossing from and access to St Johns Alley and a second two way cycle track along Duke Street as far as Colegate.

 

The watering down

 

There are three main points of concern:

 

The St Andrews Street cycle track will end at St Andrews Plain and the rest of St Andrews Street up the hill toward London Street is to remain two way in order to allow traffic from St Georges Street to turn left.

 

The problem is traffic coming down the hill on the left hand side of the road has to cross to the right hand side at the junction with St Georges Street. This has created a problem for the end of the cycle track and what seems to be an impossible tangle of traffic which might lead to the removal of the proposed cycle crossing.

 

The cycle lane on Duke Street ends at Colegate. Beyond that is outside of the scheme, but we are pressing for a contraflow cycle lane from the Duke Street roundabout, one of the great missing links for Norwich cyclists.

 

It looks like Exchange Street will not now be fully closed to traffic, although the pavement extensions will remain. We're not sure how this is expected to work and it will probably mean the road remains one way, meaning no contraflow cycle lane toward the market.

 

These are big issues, but the scheme is still good and will improve the city centre greatly.

 

Evening News report

Our report from August 2021

Ipswich Road cycle lanes

Ipswich Road by City College (photo Derek)

 

Very bad news about this project. The plan was to provide two segregated cycle lanes (white lines with wands, as on Earlham Road and St Williams Way known as "light segregation") all the way along Ipswich Road as far as Grove Avenue where the road narrows. This would have provided a safe cycling route to City College and the Hewett Academy secondary school, allowing children and students to cycle to school and college. The long term plan being eventually to link up with a cycle track across the ring road to Harford Bridge.

 

However, objections from the Town Close Preparatory School about the loss of on-street parking resulted in a cut down plan to remove the inbound cycle lane as far as Cecil Road (the route to the Hewett Academy).

 

This was discussed at the recent Transport for Norwich meeting where city councillors supported the full scheme, but Conservative councillors from outside the city backed the retention of the on-street parking on the grounds that parents needed to be able to drive their children to the Town Close school.

 

The vote was tied and Councillor Martin Wilby had the casting vote, so safe cycling lost out to on-street parking.

 

This is an appalling decision that puts the school run above the safety of cyclists. 

Evening News report

Grapes Hill roundabout

Ride-through of the new Grapes Hill cycle infrastructure, such as it is. Video by Derek

 

As we reported last month, the pathetically inadequate new cycle infrastructure around Grapes Hill opened (see our critique of the scheme here).

 

We want to know why a scheme for which the consultation closed on 28th March 2021 and was approved by the Transport for Norwich (TfN) Joint Committee on June 10th 2021 wasn't covered by the new design standards issued by the government in July 2020, known as LTN 1/20.

We are still looking into this but early indications appear to show that the scheme was decided upon with the government before the public consultation happened and before the whole thing was given rubber stamp approval by the TfN committee. If that's true the planning process would seem to be "soviet", ie a total sham. This is a huge and seriously important issue if true.

That the new infrastructure is far below the required standard is obvious, it doesn't even try to meet the national design standards. It's interesting to note that a large proportion of cyclists prefer to take the fast, direct route by riding on the road around the roundabout rather the using the new facility which is slow and indirect. Although understandable, this is not good. The roundabout has now been made very much more dangerous by the recent works and we strongly advise riders not to take the chance.

 

The is a blatant example of designing for motor traffic at the expense of walking and cycling, paid for by a grant from the "Transforming Cities Fund" supposedly intended to improve such access. Clearly, something is very wrong.

St Stephens Street massacre begins

Visualisation of the new "sawtooth" bus bays on St Stephens Street. - image TfN

 

Almost a year of disruption has begun in St Stephens Street for a scheme which, again, will make cycling more dangerous.

 

We reported on this just over a year ago in our December 2020 newsletter. Norfolk County Council (with a grant from the Transforming Cities Fund designed to improve access by cycling, walking and public transport) is building "sawtooth" bus bays. This will mean buses will swing out from the bay with very restricted vision behind, making cycling down St Stephens Street a very risky thing.

 

EDP report from December 2020

We strongly opposed this scheme, but our objections were ignored. Our advice to cyclists approaching the city from Newmarket Road, once this mayhem is over, is to either go via the Orange Pedalway and Brazen Gate or by way of St Stephens Square and Chapelfield Gardens. Both of these options are a significant detour, but we have little choice.

 

EDP report Jan 2022

Ketts Hill bus lane

It's difficult to say anything good about this scheme to build a 750m bus lane on Ketts Hill on the approach to the roundabout.

Proposed Ketts Hill bus lane - click for consultation (image TfN)

 

This bus lane, which is only three quarters as long as the infamous Tombland cycle track is being promoted as cycling infrastructure, whereas in fact it will make cycling more dangerous. The problem is that any cyclist using the bus lane and wanting to go straight ahead at the roundabout will have to deal with traffic cutting across their path from the end of the bus lane.

Please give comments to the consultation by clicking the link below the picture above. You have until January 28th.

Cargo bikes

 

The word "bicycle" is one of those words which is evolving. It now means much more than the two wheeled machine with pedals and now includes a whole range of different designs, some pedal powered and some electrically assisted.

 

Cargo bikes are making big inroads into the fabric of urban life - and not just here in the UK. Things are changing even in the car dependent USA.

Cargo bike in New York city - Propel

And finally

Direction signs on the Tombland cycle track direct cyclists to the Green Pedalway - right goes across Tombland to Princes Street (where the safe light controlled crossing used to be before being removed as a part of the Tombland rebuilding) and the straight ahead sign points you to a non-existent cycle route through the new square.

This is actually an old sign from before the Tombland "improvements". The cycle track used to carry on straight ahead, meeting the road that ran across the square giving a low traffic route to St Faiths Lane. This was removed when the Tombland work was carried out.

 

These days you're supposed to turn right and join the traffic.

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Contacting us

The Norwich Cycling Campaign can be contacted here

Or by snailmail to
Norwich Cycling Campaign
21 Pembroke Road
Norwich
NR2 3HD

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