Newsletter

April 2022

Easter. Eggs and Rabbits. Is it too much to hope also the end of icy cold northerly winds? - Watch this space.

 

We've got several events coming up over the next few weeks, so make a note of the dates and come along to say hi.

 

We're also going to try again with the ride around the Orange Pedalway on 15th May.

 

If you want to get around by bike in Norwich, you will find the CycleStreets online maps useful. Speaking of getting around there are two big consultations happening which need your feedback, the Norfolk Local Transport Plan-4 and the Norfolk LCWIP plans.

 

Did you know Bowthorpe has a network of cycle tracks? A difficult situation is developing at Grove Road but there is hope for Grapes Hill. Changes are in the pipeline for the Longwater area and to celebrate Derek has a ride-through video. Did you know Longwater is somewhere you might actually like to cycle to, or at least through?

 

Finally, King Street is nearly finished, but there's a problem.

 

 

Upcoming events

The cycling campaign will have a stall at the following events. Make a note in your diary and pop along and say hello!

Rights of the River
Wensum Park, Sat 30th April, 12-4pm

An alliance of environmental and community group will be joining in a celebration of the Rights of the River with talks, music, art and poetry. Speakers to include: Hugh Lupton, Nick Acheson, Tor Falcon, Dr Charlie Gardner, Lucy Galvin, Jonah Tosney and Patrick Barkham. There will be catering on site.

https://www.stopthewensumlink.co.uk/

Eaton Eco Fair
St Andrews Church, Eaton, Sat 7th May, 10am-12noon

Weather permitting we’ll be in the churchyard, otherwise in the church hall. There’ll be an eco/nature trail in the churchyard for the little ones.

https://eatonvillage.co.uk/event/eaton-village-eco-day/

Norwich 100
Norwich Lower School, Sun 29th May, 11am-5pm

Popular sportive around the Norfolk countryside that attracts large numbers of entrants. We’ll have a stall at the finish line in the Norwich Lower school grounds. The riders enter the grounds via the entrance on Bishopgate.

https://www.bike-events.co.uk/Ride.aspx?id=2711

Bike Week
The Forum Library, Sat 11th June, 10:00am-4pm

To celebrate Bike Week we’ll have a stand in the foyer of the library with a Dutch bike on display. The library will put on a bike/transport themed book display and we’re told we’ll be sharing the space with a giant dinosaur!

https://www.cyclinguk.org/bikeweek

Cycling the Orange Pedalway take 2

Riding the Orange Pedalway - click for videos - Photo Derek

 

In the last newsletter we bravely announced an informal ride around the Orange Pedalway, the inner circle, but we had to cancel it due to the weather - polar cold winds and the threat of sleet wouldn't have made for an enjoyable ride!

 

So we'll try again, hopefully May will be a bit warmer.

 

Ride the Orange Pedalway

Sunday

15th May

11.00am 

Meet on All Saints Green (next to John Lewis)

 

We'll remind you closer to the time.

Cycle Streets online mapping

Cycle Streets mapping on a phone - photo Derek

 

We get a steady stream of people asking where to get a copy of the Pedalways map issued a few years ago, but sadly it's been out of print for a while now, although there are rumours of a new version in the pipeline. A somewhat clunky PDF version is available for download here, but it's not that good for using on a mobile device.

 

A better option is cyclestreets.net, a UK-wide cycle journey planner system which lets you plan routes from A to B by bike. It is designed by cyclists (Camcycle, the Cambridge Cycling Campaign) for cyclists, and caters for the needs of both confident and less confident cyclists. It's still in the testing phase known as "beta" and so there are a few bugs to iron out.

 

It's designed to work best on a phone although it can be used on any computer.

 

Peter Silburn has been updating the maps and your input will make it better, so if you know of a route that isn't shown, or you find a mistake or a problem with the site, please let Peter know

Norfolk Local Transport Plan consultation

Norfolk County Council is consulting on the Implementation Plan for its Local Transport Plan Strategy. The Strategy was adopted last year and the Implementation Plan sets out how the council will implement the policies outlined in the Strategy.

The resulting document will “drive the county’s transport strategy until 2036” so it’s important that you let them know your views.

The consultation is open to the public until Monday 2nd May. To respond, please go to https://norfolk.citizenspace.com/consultation/local-transport-implementation-plan-4/

There’s an “easy read” summary to bring you quickly up to speed on the key points.

It’s best to respond in your own words but here are a few of our observations.

The Implementation Plan is extremely weak on cycling, and sustainable transport generally.

Several individual road schemes are mentioned by name such as the Norwich Western Link but there is no mention of building a corresponding high quality cycle network.

There is no mention of reducing the numbers of cars on the road, or of stopping building new roads. On the contrary more roads are part of the solution: “We need new roads to better connect us.”

The only “cycle infrastructure” mentioned is some enhancements to the Weavers Way and the “Green Loop” (an off-road circular trail encompassing the Marriott’s Way, the Bure Valley Path and the Three Rivers Way).

There are some fine words such as “we will reprioritise space, especially within urban areas, and give priority to walking, cycling and public transport” but there are no details given of how this will be achieved.

There is no mention of building the cycle infrastructure required to achieve this, and no mention of “Gear Change”, the government’s policy document on active travel, or LTN 1/20, the design guidance that should be followed for all transport schemes.

It is widely acknowledged that deliveries by e-cargo bike will play a key role in keeping goods moving in our towns and cities whilst meeting our carbon reduction targets yet there is only a brief mention of “investigating funding opportunities” for e-cargo bikes.

There’s a bold claim that “half of all journeys in towns and cities are to be cycled or walked by 2030” but again there are no details of how this will be achieved.

Norfolk LCWIP consultation

The LCWIP is an interesting sounding acronym for something that could be really good. It's the Local Cycling and Walking Infrastructure Plan. 

 

The purpose of the plan is to create a proposed cycling and walking network across the county, and to identify and prioritise improvement schemes which can be delivered over the short, medium and long term. This will enable more people to consider cycling and walking as safe, direct and attractive forms of transport.

 

It all sounds great and Norfolk County Council is asking for your comments. The closing date is very soon though, Friday 30th April, so please take a look at it now.

 

They don't seem to be interested in walking or cycling in Norwich - an area already covered by a previous LCWIP, but please make the point that we need better conditions for cycling and emphasise the need for proper segregated cycle tracks around the city.

 

But also we need to make the point that we need safe cycling routes from the city to surrounding towns along the major roads. Let them know that cycling isn't just a leisure activity and should be treated as a means of transport in the same way as motor transport is.

The lost cycleways of Bowthorpe

A Bowthorpe cycle track - Photo Peter

 

Bowthorpe was built in the early 70s, very much in the style of many of the "new towns" built at that time. As with those towns it was given a comprehensive network of cycle tracks, mostly built to a pretty good standard, but which have never been developed and worse, have been degraded somewhat by more recent projects. They also suffer from a lack of signage and badly designed barriers which make it impossible for cargo bikes, or even bikes with paniers, to use them.

 

Read more on our website here.

Grove Road update

The Grove Road crossing of Ipswich Road (Orange Pedalway) - photo Derek

 

We reported some time back on plans to re-design the Ipswich Road/Grove Road junction. This is the point where the Orange Pedalway crosses the route to City College along Ipswich Road, a very busy cycling and walking route.

 

Like all road works the job will involve "traffic management" - or "TM" to use the jargon - closing roads, diversions and so on. This is planned to last for around three months, a significant time.

 

A few months ago we agreed a cycle diversion via Grove Avenue but now it looks like the TM will be much wider and more extensive than we were initially told.

 

The problem is there is no alternative route, the section of Ipswich Road leading to the proposed works is narrow and there's a lot of pedestrian and cycle traffic with hundreds of students heading to and from the college throughout the day.

 

We were contacted again with a proposal for a very long cycle detour - over a mile - which was obviously a non-starter.

 

We've had another meeting with the engineers and made the point that pedestrian and cycle access must be maintained in both directions. As well as standard cycles, there are regular e-cargo bike deliveries to the college and "get off and push" is not an option for such a long period.

 

We are still waiting to hear new proposals, watch this space.

Grapes Hill roundabout

The small sign pointing to Chapelfield North - Photo Derek

 

The new arrangement at Grapes Hill roundabout has been in operation for a few months and it's clear a lot of bike riders aren't using the shared use pavements and are instead choosing to ride on the road.

 

This might be because people just don't know the cycle path option is there, so we had a site meeting with Norfolk County Council to discuss improvements.

 

We've proposed better signage - clear signs for cyclists pointing to "City centre" instead of the small signs pointing toward "Chapelfield North" are the most obvious, but also warning signs for drivers to make it clear riders are crossing the traffic flow. This needs to happen at both the Unthank Road and Earlham Road entrances.

The entrance to the cycle track on Earlham Road - Photo Derek

 

The route to Earlham Road has several difficult bends with poor sight lines. Cutting some of the vegetation back would improve things, along with perhaps some small re-alignment of the bends.

We also asked for the metal railings to be removed from the Convent Road crossing. The present arrangement makes it difficult for cargo bikes etc to cross and does not comply with government regulations.

We also discussed the possibility of a short cycle track to the pedestrian crossing on Earlham Road, rather than expecting riders to cross on the bend where Earlham Road becomes Unthank Road. Also reducing the speed limit on Unthank Road to 20mph, adding a zebra crossing on Unthank Road at the point where most people cross just before the roundabout, moving the "Give Way" sign at the Chapelfield Road junction and perhaps widening the path there.

 

All these suggestions were positively received, so we await developments. 

Longwater Carmageddon

Bowthorpe to Ringland Lane via Longwater ridethrough - video Derek

If you've ever tried to cycle to the Longwater shops, or worse across the A47 to get to the Norfolk Showground or beyond, you'll be familiar with the nightmare of traffic and badly designed or missing cycle routes.

The story of how this mess came about is a sorry tale of bad planning, but to cut a long story short, too many roads with too much traffic converge onto an interchange that was never designed for it. It's one of the worse examples of traffic hell in Norwich.

Into all this mess comes an almost surprisingly good but partial network of cycle tracks. Access from the city along Dereham Road from Bowthorpe is on a very good quality (shared use) path with a lovely surface. There is one really stupid but short missing link but otherwise it's a good route until you get to Longwater.

At Longwater you have to take your life in your hands to get across William Frost Way. Heading toward Queens Hills and the Ringland valley is again on good quality off road cycle tracks albeit with another missing link.

Derek took a ride through this often chaotic mess, following the route from Bowthorpe to the Wensum valley, Ringland Lane.

The Longwater A47 junction nightmare

Google Street view - Longwater interchange (click to see original)

The pedestrian and cycle route across the Longwater interchange - Photo Derek

Onwards toward Easton and over the A47 however has to be seen to be believed. The well-worn muddy track points to the fact that a lot of people walk and cycle this way, yet there is no provision at all for non-motorised traffic. It is unbelievably bad and no thought was given to pedestrians or cyclists through the junction, despite the Longwater shops being a major destination for people living in Easton, or the Norfolk Showground and Easton College being one for people from Norwich.

But some kind of change in in he wind. Watch this space (but don't expect too much).

And Finally

Bad kerbs to cycle track - King Street - Photo Peter

 

The long running roadworks on King Street (Red Pedalway/National Cycle Route 1) are coming to an end at last. However the entrance to the cycle track toward the Novi Sad bridge have been left with a badly laid kerb - which is finished - that should be flush with the road but isn't. Cycles will cross this at a shallow angle and this raised kerb could cause a crash.

 

Beyond that another raised kerb (which isn't finished) has been left with a very high step.

 

These have been reported to Norfolk County Council via the reporting form on their website.

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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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