Jump to the Eastern section
The Green Pedalway’s western section runs from a point a short distance north-west of the Bowthorpe centre on Dragonfly Way, around the edge of the shops and along Earlham Green Lane. Then through West Earlham to the outer ring road and along Earlham Road to West Pottergate. It then runs under the inner ring road, along Pottergate, down St John Maddermarket and then right into St Andrews Street to St Andrews Plain.
It contains some very nice off road sections and reasonable shared use pavements, although side road junctions are below standard and may be problematic. The cycle lane on Earlham road has wands to mark the lane, but these are mounted in black holders located within the lane, rather than on the white line and present a very real hazard to riders. They also make the lane very narrow and may make it unsuitable for cargo bikes. We have heard of people hitting these bases and getting knocked off their bikes as a result. Of course, cars regularly park in the cycle lane despite the double yellow lines.
The run down Earlham Road can mean riding in a lot of traffic on a narrow road with on-street parking. Heading into the city is downhill and can mean high speeds, but there are a number of pedestrian crossings which have to be watched out for.
The final section along West Pottergate and Pottergate is on low traffic roads and leads directly to the city centre and includes an underpass of the inner ring road.
On the whole this is a good route, used by a fair number of cyclists although the shared use pavements are just too slow for serious riders who want to make a good headway.
The Bowthorpe shopping centre with its health centre is a major destination, yet is not signed from the Green Pedalway, and it’s not obvious how to get there. Instead of taking riders to what is the major destination in the area, the official route takes riders on a road around the edge of the car park which bypasses the shops. Coming from the dragonfly way direction the original design was obviously intended to take cyclists right into the shopping area, which is what you would expect. Of course, most people using this section of the Green Pedalway are heading to the Bowthorpe Centre.
Cycle ways should surely connect places such as this?
At the top of the car free section of Earlham Green Lane the Pedalway gets diverted through a new car park, with no signs to tell riders where to go. As with all the Pedalways direction signing is in dire need of improvement.
The Green Pedalway’s eastern half runs from what the council’s Pedalway map calls “the Plumsteads”, a little bit of suburbia near to Great Plumstead actually known as “The Willows”, via Dussindale, Harvey Lane, Thorpe Road and Prince of Wales Road to St Andrews Plain in the city.
The route has recently been changed as a part of the LCWIP (Local Cycling and Walking Plans) in three places which have added some frankly dangerous sections.
Originally it went to the Broadland Business Park, a major employment area near to Dussindale. Now the section to “the Plumsteads” has been added along a country lane which carries a fair amount of traffic. This new section is little more than a line on a map and doesn’t really count as a cycle route, following narrow country lanes with no street lighting or even road markings and carrying large amounts of traffic.
The route to the Broadland Business Park is still there of course, but it’s unmarked.
From Dussindale to Harvey Lane it follows the original Green route along Laundry Lane, the reasonably good cycle lanes on St Williams Way then the quiet residential streets of Thor Loke and Gordon Avenue.
The second change is the route has been diverted away from the quiet residential streets of Newbegin and Wolfe Roads, tackling the steep hill via St Leonards and Hill House Roads to now run along Harvey Lane.
Harvey Lane is a busy road carrying a lot of traffic, also with a steep hill which would be very unpleasant to climb up in heavy traffic. Going downhill riders are expected to make a right turn, giving hand signals, halfway down the hill into Stanley Avenue, a dangerous manoeuvre on a narrow section of the road with no central reservation. This would be extremely dangerous in the dark with heavy traffic.
Cyclists then follow the busy Yarmouth and Thorpe Roads into the city. Getting across Yarmouth Road to head into the city is a real nightmare with no crossing infrastructure.
This whole section along Harvey Lane and Yarmouth/Thorpe roads is marked as hazardous on the council’s cycle map and is not a suitable route for a Pedalway to take.
At Thorpe Road, riders have to make a right turn into the new bus lane. Cyclists heading east have to ride in heavy traffic as before.
The new route joins the old at Rosary Road, following Thorpe Road down the hill to the station. The area outside the station is almost complete, having been the site of roadworks for the past few months. It is now bus and cycle only, although riders going up the hill heading east still have to deal with traffic.
The third recent diversion takes the Green Pedalway away from the quiet back streets of St Faiths Lane and Princes Street and instead runs along Prince of Wales Road with a substandard cycle track inbound and cyclists expected to ride in busy traffic outbound. The route then climbs up Queen Street, a place often full of pedestrians, into Redwell Street and St Andrews Street to St Andrews Plain.
Why these changes have been made isn’t at all clear and frankly don’t make sense.
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