After several site visits and incorporating comments from the discussion on Facebook, we sent this feedback to Norwich City Council on the completed Tombland and Palace Street scheme. See also: more pictures and our pre-consultation response.
1. Good parts
- The removal of the roundabout benefits everyone
- The feed in from Palace Street to the cycle track is well designed. It has a gentle ramp, a flush join with the carriageway and is protected by bollards.
- The cycle track allows cyclist to bypass the Palace Street/Tombland junction when heading south on Palace Street.
- Cycle parking has been added, however there are questions over the detailed design.
- The cycle track is of a good width, generally 3m.
- A flush kerb has been provided to allow cyclists on Wensum Street heading south to join the cycle track. The entry point is conveniently on the desire line.
2. What could be improved
- The exit from the cycle track in Tombland heading south is hazardous as it as at the point where vehicles are turning left and where buses are pulling in to the stops. We noticed some cyclist re-joining the carriageway at the Princes Street crossing, where the carriageway is narrow.
- On a short observation there were several delivery vans parking in the cyclepath near Palace Street and two on the final section southbound, completely blocking it. There were also two incidents of cars pulling up on the corner of Tombland and the ‘triangle’ to pick people up, completely blocking the exit of the cycle path.
- Suggest adding ‘elephants’ feet’ or advisory cycle lane extending from the cycle track exit along Tombland uphill. This could alert drivers to cycles emerging and position motor vehicles towards the centre of the road so there is space for cycles to merge.
- The scheme originally had low bollards along the edge of the road. These are needed, to deter parking here, especially at the southern end.
- The surface under the cycle stands is too loose and gets on to cycles and clothes when it is wet. The surface should be a bound surface under the cycle stands.
- There seems to be a problem with vehicles turning left out of Princes Street on a green light not realising they will be going across a toucan crossing.
3. Lessons for future schemes
- The desire line for pedestrians on the south end of the east side of Tombland is along the cycle track, and this is exactly where people walk. The footpath deviates too far from the desire line. This, and the parking across and on this end of the cycle track will encourage more cycles to exit at the crossing. The design has failed to encourage any segregation through layout or paving style.
- There is too little visual difference between the cycle track and the footway meaning that people walking aren’t clear where they should walk. Similarly the informal zebra crossings are hard to see in good light with good eyesight. At night they are invisible.
- The advisory cycle lanes on Palace Street are persistently invaded by motor vehicles at peak times when there is queuing traffic. I suspect that the width between the cycle lanes of 4.7m is insufficient and drivers believe there is not enough space to pass and hence invade the cycle lane. There is little point in a cycle lane if it is full of vehicles.
- There are at least four different paving style along a length of about 20m of the cycle track outside the Erpingham Gate. This is confusing, why are so many styles needed? There should be clear visual priority for pedestrians and cyclist over traffic accessing the gate whereas the current design suggests otherwise.
4. Value for money
Tombland has therefore cost around £10,000 per metre of cycle track whereas The Avenues would have cost around £625 per metre and it was cancelled because it was judged poor value for money. We would like to know why the Tombland scheme was considered value for money given its very high cost.