Newsletter

February 2022

Spring is about to be sprung

Spring is getting close - Photo Derek

 

If you like short months. February is for you, just four short weeks of it and it'll be March. Spring will soon be here.

 

Some good news this month if you're a regular user of the Marriott's Way which has had a surprise make-over. If jumble sales are your thing we've got something really special for you and to top it all off there's a Glow Ride in Chapelfield Gardens.

 

Changes are happening to the Pedalway network and even bigger developments are in the pipeline, all a part of the 'LCWIP', we offer a preview.

 

Last month saw the introduction of a new Highway Code and it caused a lot of feathers to fly in the tabloid press, most of which was just bad reporting, in fact it's really just good sense.

 

Although there are some good parts, it's no secret that cycling infrastructure in Norwich leaves a lot to be desired. We take a critical look at some bad examples and ask whether cycling is really being properly designed for? When they get built, are the cycle facilities we do have being properly maintained?

 

And last but not least, a really daft missing link that would be so easy to fix on one of the city's Pedalways.

Marriott's Way improvement shock!

Marriott's way

An example of the new crushed stone running surface - Photo Derek

 

Regular riders of the Marriott's way will know it's been closed for an upgrade between Gunton Lane in Hellesdon and the Fakenham Road crossing just beyond Drayton. The track, which was very muddy in places, has been rebuilt with a crushed stone running surface. Even the previously terrible gravel covered Station Lane in Drayton has been swept and is now much nicer to ride.

 

Most impressively, also in Drayton, the steep slope to the previously badly overgrown section after Taverham Road has been nicely graded into a gentle slope down to the old track bed and given a hard running surface. The brambles have been cleared and the section to Fakenham Road also rebuilt with the crushed stone running surface.

Marriott's Way improvement

The approach to Taverham Road form the north on Marriott's Way - photo Derek

 

The surface will bed in after a bit of use. Just now though the top layer of small stones does make for a bit of drag as you cycle along, but that will improve. It's certainly a decent upgrade, especially through the previously muddy sections. The path is now a good width as well.

The "unsuitable for cycling" bridge at Drayton - Photo Derek

 

Sadly there is a short gap as you approach Drayton, the new surface finishes when you get to the A frame bridge with it's "Bridge surface unsuitable for cycling" sign (why?). From there the short distance to Costessy Lane, including the muddy spiral down to road level, is just as it was. Perhaps something will be done there in due course.

 

Also worth noting is the section of Gunton Lane in Hellesdon between Marriott's Way and the properly surfaced route through Costessey is still a rutted, muddy mess. Quite why seemingly nothing can be done about this short section isn't clear.

 

But all in all it's a big and very welcome improvement.

Jumble sale

Cycle Jumble Sale

The Redwell Brewery Taproom
The Arches
Bracondale
Trowse
NR1 2EF.

Saturday 5 March 12 - 5pm.

Coffee - Beer - Music - Swap - Barter - Chat

Free entry

If you're thinking of clearing out your shed, we're looking for donations to sell on the stall - small cycle items such as peddles, brake units, bags, tools would be great but not large items like frames or bikes.

If you have anything to donate, please contact Tony on 07811747890 or drop them off at 

1 Robert Gybson Way
Norwich
NR3 3PH

Pedalways 2031

LCWP pedawlway overview

Overview map of the Pedalway network in 2031 - image Norfolk CC

Observant riders of the Purple Pedalway (the outer circle) might have noticed to signed route has changed in the south of the city.

Going anti clockwise at the end of Bessemer road it crosses Sandy Lane as before but now follows the Lakenham way under the ring road and then right down Cavell road to pick up the old route at the bottom of Long John Hill. This avoids the dangerous crossing of the ring road that was part of the original route, so it is an improvement of sorts, although the brick/cobble surface of Cavell road is dreadful. It also means Old Lakenham is no longer served by a Pedalway route

There may be other changes already made but there's certainly more in the pipeline. This is all a part of the LCWIP - the Local Cycling and Walking Infrastructure Plans  - looking forward to 2031.

As a part of the developing LCWIP plans several speculative changes to the Pedalway network are being proposed and it has to be said not all of them look good.

Proposed changes also include re-routing the Purple Pedalway along Thorpe Road and up Harvey Lane instead of the present really nice (if it had a rideable surface) route up through Lion Wood. This seems not only pointless but unwise, given the high levels of traffic on the proposed route. It would also divert the Purple Pedalway from the Pilling Park estate onto major routes where few people live.

Ten Bell Lane - Photo Derek

The Green Pedalway is proposed to be re-routed along Ten Bell Lane. This is a narrow road open to one-way traffic but two-way cycling running down a hill from Pottergate to St Bennedicts Street. It's surfaced with badly maintained uneven cobbles and being narrow makes getting past cars difficult. Although St Benedicts is a destination some people will want to cycle to, most cycle traffic would seem to be along Pottergate to the city Centre, the present Green Pedalway route.

The Red Pedalway (NCN 1) is planned to follow an entirely new route leaving the city to the east, crossing the river from King Street to run along the Riverside walk, somehow going under the vey low Trowse railway bridge and crossing the river on a new bridge to Whitlingham Lane.

There is also a new route planned - the Brown Pedalway - entering the city from the north along the Reepham Road, through Mile Cross and Marriott's Way into the city and out to Poringland by way of Bracondale, White Horse Lane and Arminghall Lane. Most of this route is along very busy roads, so presumably will involve lots of nice now off road segregated cycle tracks. We await details with interest!

There are many other changes proposed which we will try to summarise on the website in due course, but for now take a look a the map, you can see the proposals here (PDF download)

New Highway Code

You’d have had to be living under a rock on Mars not to have noticed that a new Highway Code came into force last month, if only because of the froth-inducing misinformation on certain media outlets.

The changes are in fact incremental and measured, and were introduced after a lengthy gestation period and nation-wide consultation involving representatives from right across the spectrum of road users.

The Hierarchy of Road Users is a simple concept which states that those road users who are most at risk are at the top of the hierarchy (that’s pedestrians and cyclists) whereas those road users who are causing the most risk (that’s lorries, cars and vans) are at the bottom. It follows from this that those in charge of vehicles that can cause the most harm must bear the greatest responsibility to take care and reduce the danger they pose to others.

Another key change is that when traveling on a main road and turning left into a side road you must give priority to anyone crossing the side road or going straight on at the junction. So, that’s anyone crossing the side road or cyclists traveling along the road or riding on a cycle track.

The passing distance motorists must give when overtaking cyclists has finally been codified: you must give at least 1.5m, and more if your speed is higher.

You can read about the changes in more depth here.

Building for cycling?

 

There is no doubt that cycling infrastructure in Norwich has improved greatly in recent times. but there are some bad sections and some of those are just downright dangerous.

 

On the website we take a look at the most important schemes we've seen constructed in the city over the past couple of years: Prince of Wales Road, Tombland and Grapes Hill roundabout.

 

This is an important period because it's the time Norfolk County Council has been responsible, having taken over from Norwich City Council in April 2020. It's difficult to conclude cycling has been seriously considered in any of them, especially Tombland. Read "Two years of not building for cycling" here.

dangerous traffic light on PoW road

Dangerous traffic light on Prince of Wales Road cycle track - Photo Derek

 

As an example, Prince of Wales Road cycle track was designed to be a one-way contraflow cycle track toward the city, but that was legally impossible because it was built as a shared use pavement and pavements cannot be one way. So beware of the badly positioned traffic light if you ride downhill. That green light is for the cars which are about to turn right across your path into St Vedast Street.

 

Cycling Lowlights

youtube video

Norwich cycling lowlights - click to watch video

 

We also take a ride through three examples of bad city infrastructure.

The first example is Tombland, where the recent "improvement" works included the removal of the light controlled crossing at Princes Street, the crossing lights having been replaced with the words "Keep Clear" on the road.

 

The second is the entrance to the Prince of Wales Road cycle track, a right hand exit from Rose Lane which comes just after a turn-back loop for traffic coming down Prince of Wales Road. The cycle track is often used by pedestrians following the desire line direct route, avoiding the detour needed to use the puffin crossing.

 

As far as road space is concerned both of these schemes were designed primarily to handle traffic flow. In the case of prince of Wales Road cyclists were fitted into what was left and in Tombland they were ignored totally.

 

Finally, the third example is one we see all too often, a shared use pavement. These are hated by cyclists and pedestrians alike, and you can see why. This one is just north of Anglia Square and with luck will be greatly improved when (or if) the redevelopment plans take place.

Keeping the Cycle lane and tracks clear

Stones in the upswept Earlham Road cycle lane - Photo Paul

 

Toward the end of January we heard from Paul W about unswept stones left in the cycle lane on Earlham Road. It looks as if the road had been swept leaving the cycle lane littered with stones from the road surface laid a year or so ago.

The Earlham Road cycle lane in the other direction - photo Derek

 

A few weeks later on 9th February, the stones were still there, although they'd been scattered somewhat. But the cycle lane on the other side of the road shows the lack of sweeping clearly with leaf litter from the trees still there.

 

Cycle lanes should be kept clean, it's one of the duties of the local authority. When you see anything like this, please report it to Norfolk County Council by clicking this link

Norwich Love Light Festival

Glow ride 18th February

18th February 5.00 - 7.00pm

Become part of the Love Light Norwich festival with this shimmering event run by Cycling UK, where you’re invited to embellish your bike and helmet with illuminated decorations.

• No need to book a place
• Prize for the best decorated bike
• Enjoy a glow-in-the-dark ride
• Fun for all the family

We can't wait to see you there!

This event is made possible by the European Regional Development Fund EXPERIENCE Project.

And finally

The Adelaide Street missing link - Photo Derek

Norwich has quite a few "missing links", but why this one is still here has to be the most difficult to understand.

The Orange Pedalway - the inner circle - runs down Adelaide Street just north of Dereham Road, but there's no proper way to cycle past the health centre. The way is blocked by a car park and, for the past 30 years or more, there has been no official way through for cycles. There is a footpath, but apparently taking one of the car park bays away to allow cycles through just isn't possible.

Of course there is a cycle track sized way through, although it involves bumping over a couple of curbs

The Adelaide Street missing link - the way through - Photo derek

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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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