Longwater junction “death zone” – Easton College students and staff give their verdict

Before the end of the summer term students at City College carried out a survey of students cycling to college, both to the main site in the city and the campus at Easton

Not surprisingly, many were put off cycling to Easton College by the dangerous route, especially the Longwater junction. “Busy/unsafe roads” was a common reason for not cycling. When asked what would make cycling more viable, after “Distance”, “Cycle lanes/safer roads” was the most frequently given response.

Asked whether they felt safe cycling on the roads, a majority – especially among non-cyclists – said they would feel unsafe.

One student referred to the “death zone at Sainsbury’s Longwater junction”.

Crossing the A47 at Longwater, no place for cyclists or pedestrians – Photo Derek

Another respondent said: “There are some useful cycle routes where cyclists would feel safe, to get to the city centre or for leisurely rides however to cycle from New Costessey, the route is OK as far as the Longwater Interchange but I would not even consider cycling or even walking across the major junction. After the junction the roads to Easton College are relatively quiet.”

Delon Commosioung, a lecturer at the college who regularly cycles to work, referred to “the two very busy roundabouts at Longwater where cyclists, or even pedestrians, have not been given much thought.

“This dangerous situation is putting off students and staff who wish to commute in and will do nothing to help ease congestion if cyclists and pedestrians do not feel safe. The pathways have clearly not been thought through and I fear it is only a matter of time before there is a serious incident, especially if there is an increase in cycling as desired (assuming we are serious about the environment and easing congestion). What is urgently needed is a well thought out cycle route … dare I say meeting the LTN 1/20 standard and with a new academic year coming up quickly I urge the powers that be to consider suitable pedestrianisation and cycle lanes for access to the college and wider facilities.”

Ian Power, another lecturer at the college said: “The main issue I find is at the Longwater roundabout. On the approach to the roundabout, you find many cars go to the outside lane and then veer into the middle lane at the last moment. This has caused a number of near accidents both for me and the other road users.

“For me the biggest problem is where cars are in the left-hand lane but go straight towards Easton. I have had numerous incidences here where cars / vans cut me up from the left.

“It is not a safe junction for cyclists, I am aware that I could go down to Longwater and back up but then crossing the roads there and cycling across the small path on the bridge is just as dangerous.”

David Rye, a SEND* learning coach at the college had this to say: “I can stress personally as a commuter-cyclist that crossing the Longwater junction is the most difficult part of the journey. In conversation with staff and students, many are put off from cycling to Easton College because of this junction and fears that it is unsafe for them to do so.

“Personally, I use the cycle path from Roundwell Road up to the end of the path in front of Next. At this point, I wait for a gap in the traffic to join the road and cross the junction and onward to Easton. It is far from ideal when waiting to join the road and other cyclists wish to exit the road on to the cycle path in the other direction.

“We have had a number of students that live in the Queens Hills area, only a short distance away from the college who have relied on funded transport to attend college that have expressed their willingness to cycle to college if there was a safer route across the A47 to Easton. Furthermore, it would be of real benefit to explore cycle routes from the college as part of developing young people’s independence and travel training in a sustainable manner if there were suitable, safe routes available.”

You can read the background to the proposals for the junction here.

* Special Educational Needs and Disabilities

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