New cycle lanes for Ipswich Road – Your views wanted

A mandatory cycle lane with “wands” – Earlham Road

Some welcome news from Transport for Norwich (TfN). They have received funding to install cycle lanes on Ipswich Road between the outer ring road, almost to the Newmarket Road junction, a long overdue idea. The road is quite wide in this section and can easily accommodate cycle lanes.

The proposal is for mandatory cycle lanes protected with “wands”, similar to the lanes on on Earlham Road, St Williams Way and Duke Street. This is the first part of a much bigger scheme which will eventually see cycle lanes all the way out to the Harford Park and Ride site, which would be a dream come true for us, but that’s a long way into the future.

The cycle lanes, which have priority at side junctions, would run on both sides of Ipswich Road from a point between the outer ring road and Lime Tree Road, past City College to a pedestrian crossing between Sandringham Court and Fountain Court where the road narrows for a short stretch before the traffic lights at the Newmarket Road junction.

Being mandatory lanes, motor vehicles will not be allowed to drive in them and double yellow lines will prevent parking. All on-street parking will be removed apart from one layby opposite the Southwell Drive entrance to City College.

Ipswich Road is a very busy radial into and out of the city and City College attracts a lot of bicycle traffic. The proposals should make this route much more attractive to people living in the south of the city who are considering commuting to work by bike and/or making leisure and shopping trips into the centre, so this development is very welcome.

Of course, no proposal like this is going to be perfect and we have raised some issues with TfN:

Outbound, the cycle tracks do not reach the outer ring road and as things stand, riders – most of whom will wish to go straight across the junction – will be dropped into the left turn traffic lane and that’s not very satisfactory. It’s a common criticism with cycle infrastructure that it often gives up just at the point where things get difficult and this would seem to be a good example of that failing.

We have been assured this is temporary and that improvements to the ring road junction will be coming in a few years if funding can be secured.

The cycle tracks will end/start here and a pedestrian crossing will replace the centre island.

Equally at the city end, the cycle tracks stop at the point where the road narrows, again, giving up just as things get difficult. The island there will be removed and a pedestrian crossing installed, which will help slow the traffic without creating a pinch point as now. We accept it isn’t possible to put cycle lanes in along this section, there just isn’t room, so something else will need to be done, perhaps with road markings to emphasise the presence of cycle traffic.

At least the speed limit from City College to the inner ring road is to be reduced to 20 mph, which will help, and the narrowing of the driving lanes will emphasise the lower speed, but no traffic calming such as speed humps is proposed.

Ipswich Road as it passes City College

The layby is another issue. We would suggest the cycle track should go around the inside of the layby with a buffer between cycles and the parked cars. As proposed, cars will be driving across the cycle track (it won’t be mandatory at that point) and cyclists will be sandwiched between cars with the potential of opening doors and traffic passing close by.

But overall this is a good scheme and we support it. So please help us ensure the voice of cycling is heard by having a look at the project’s webpage and giving your views. The consultation is open now and you’ll find the link to the consultation there. The closing date for comments is 12th September.

As always, we would like to hear what you think, leave a comment below, contact us here or follow us on Facebook or Twitter.

2 thoughts on “New cycle lanes for Ipswich Road – Your views wanted

  1. The most unsatisfactory part is where ,going south along Ipswich Road, the cycle path ends before the crossroads making it very dangerous for the majority of cyclists wanting to go straight on.
    It seems , as often with plans for cycle paths, a piecemeal project .
    Is there an overall plan for cycle lanes/paths in Norwich which would give all cyclists, including nervous ones, confidence and security ?

    1. Hi Lesley. The simple and perhaps predictable answer is no, there is no overall plan for cycle infrastructure and, worse, there’s no one department or offer with overall responsibility for the network. And yes, each project has to bid for specific funding.

      That’s the basic problem we’ve got.

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