Sunday, 20 July 2014

Deansgate Junction Consultation ZZ208237H

Comments in response to ZZ208237H – Cycle City Ambition Grant – The Bridgewater Canal

General Comments


It is very unfortunate that this design is being considered in isolation from the LSTF proposals for the junctions to the north involving Trafford Street, Bridgewater Street, Liverpool Road, Great Bridgewater Street and Deansgate. These two areas need to be considered as one design in order to create a coherent design for the whole area.

Though labelled The Bridgewater Canal the main substance of this document is the junction between Deansgate, both north and south, Whitworth Street West, the Bridgewater Viaduct and Castle Street. This is a very unpleasant and complex junction which has been designed to maximise traffic flows and creates a very unpleasant environment for people walking and cycling.



The proposed design lacks ambition for encouraging of cycling in the city and when judged on the five core principles of design for people walking and cycling, safety, coherence, directness, comfort and attractiveness1 these proposals fail on all these principles. It also fails to take account of people with children in cycle trailers or people with disabilities who ride unconventional machines such as handcycles.



See detailed comments in Appendix 1.

Alternative Design

Rather than focus on the proposed junction layout, the junction should be redesigned to increase safety and improve the environment which would also bring economic benefits to the Castlefield area which has several bars and clubs as well as the tram stop and railway station.

I live in this area, and during rush hour many more people walk through this area than travel by car. The priority for this area needs to be radically changed to improve the environment for walking and cycling.

Walking is the most common way of moving around Castlefield and those who arrive by bus, tram or train also walk to their final destination. In the City Centre around 43% of residents travel to work on foot2. This whole area must prioritise the movement of people and restrict the movement of motor vehicles.

This junction could be radically simplified by taking a completely different approach to the phasing of the traffic lights, namely that each arm of the junction should be given the green phase in turn so that there are no conflicting traffic movements for people turning right. There should also be an all green walking/cycling phase where all motor vehicles are stopped.

The great advantage of having of having green phases for each arm in turn is that there need only be a single vehicle lane leading up to the junction, because there is no need for traffic to give way in any direction. This enables the area taken up by motor vehicles to be dramatically reduced, leaving space for the inclusion of high quality cycle provision through this junction as well as a significantly improved environment for people on foot.

As a result the Bridgewater Viaduct, Deansgate and Whitworth Street West can all be reduced to one traffic lane each way leaving room for good quality cycle tracks on both sides of the road.

There would then be no need for traffic light control ofCastle Street. It should be a give way junction, set back from the cycle track. There should be no right turn onto the Bridgewater Viaduct and no right turn into Castle Street from Bridgewater Viaduct southbound. This would allow people cycling northbound on the Bridgewater Viaduct to bypass the traffic lights straight up onto Deansgate, giving cycles a significant advantage over the motor vehicles.

A similarly radical approach needs to be taken with the Liverpool Road, Great Bridgewater Street and Deansgate junction to the north.

See below for a rough sketch of a possible layout. Note the dramatically different scale of the roads in the area. Red signifies motor vehicles, green pedal cycles.



Appendix 1 Detailed comments on the original proposals

Deansgate / Whitworth Street West / Bridgewater Viaduct/Castle Street Junction
The principle proposals for the junction are:
• Upgrade the existing pelican crossing to a toucan crossing to facilitate signal controlled
cyclist movements across the junction east/west direction to access the Bridgewater
Canal

The current pedestrian crossing layout is inadequate, it does not enable crossing at the southern end of Deansgate, nor the north end of Bridgewater Viaduct, both of which are significant desire lines, particularly with the Railway and Tram stations nearby.

The area to the south, Deansgate below the bridge, is very unpleasant and often used as a car park. Access to this area needs to be closed off to motor vehicles and a properly defined cycle track created across this area.



• Relocate and increase existing pedestrian islands within the junction

These islands are very small, and would not be big enough, for example, for a bicycle with a trailer carrying children.

• Unsegregated shared footways between crossing points

This is an unsatisfactory approach. Simply pushing pedal cycles onto the pavement causes conflict and reduces the amount of space for people on foot.

• New ASL (Advanced Stop Line) on right turn lane from Whitworth Street West on to
Deansgate. ASL cycle reservoir increased on Deansgate southbound

Lack of feeder cycle lane into new reservoir makes it pointless.

It is proposed to amend the existing traffic lane arrangement at the junction:
• Bridgewater Viaduct northbound; from one lane ahead, one lane ahead and right to one
lane ahead, one lane right

There will be nothing to prevent vehicles ignoring these markings, leading to conflict.
• Deansgate southbound; from one lane ahead, one lane ahead and left to one lane
ahead, one lane left

Again there is no physical barrier to prevent drivers cutting right across pedal cycles from the left hand lane.
• Whitworth Street West and Castle ; existing lane arrangement to be retained
Cycle lanes are proposed to be introduced at the junction, see drawing ZZ208237H-000-005 Rev D. All proposed cycle lanes are at least 1.5m wide, with width increased through
junctions.

It is unacceptable to be installing cycle lanes less than 2m wide when narrow cycle lanes make driver behaviour worse3.

Also there should be no right turn from Castle Street onto the Bridgewater Viaduct and there should be no right turn into Castle Street from Bridgewater Viaduct southbound.

Deansgate (to the north of the junction)
The main proposals are:
Northbound
• Direct northbound traffic into the centre of the carriageway and away from cyclists
travelling in the nearside cycle lane by introducing a small splitter island

The island looks very small from the plans and the cycle lane runs straight into the bus stop.

• Existing bus stop to remain

see above

• Tie into the Local Sustainable Transport Fund (LSTF) proposed works along Deansgate
(project number 206292) Southbound

It is quite impossible to comment on this as these plans have not been provided.

• 2m wide cycle lane between the two general traffic lanes

This is a pretty scary looking cycle lane, and it will be difficult to reach in moving traffic
• Cyclists in more prominent and visible position on approach to the junction

This may not make much difference, see above.

• Accessing the unsegregated shared footway through dropped kerbs in the ASL reservoir

Again this is pushing pedal cycles onto the pavement bringing about conflict with people on foot.
Whitworth Street West
The main proposals are:
Eastbound
• Cyclists can access Whitworth Street West eastbound using the proposed toucan
crossing and unsegregated shared footway

This will be slow and inconvenient and will be difficult for cycles with trailers or other larger machines.

• Tie into existing cycle lane via a short length of proposed 1.5m cycle lane
Westbound

It is unacceptable to be installing cycle lanes less than 2m wide when narrow cycle lanes make driver behaviour worse4.
• Nearside cycle lane to access unsegregated shared area under the railway arch or cycle
lane on Bridgewater Viaduct southbound

It is not clear how this will work from the diagram. Suddenly stopping in the lane to try and get onto a busy pavement is a real problem.

• Cyclists can access all arms of junction using proposed toucan crossing

Again this will be slow and inconvenient and will be difficult for cycles with trailers or other larger machines.

• Access to Deansgate and the Bridgewater Canal via unsegregated shared area

Again this will be slow and inconvenient and will be difficult for cycles with trailers or other larger machines.

• Tie into existing cycle lane

The existing cycle lane is too narrow and dangerous because of the on-street parking.
Bridgewater Viaduct
The main proposals are:
Northbound
• Cyclists join carriageway on approach to the junction with Castle Street, as existing

This existing cycle track is dangerous and is largely ignored by people cycling. The entrance to the ASL is particularly dangerous.



• Lighting column proposed to be relocated

See above.
Southbound
• On carriageway 2m cycle lane

As the plans show the reduction from 2 to 1 traffic lane, there will be space to provide a 2m wide segregated cycle track rather than an unprotected lane which will be blocked in rush hour by drivers forming two lanes.


Deansgate (Chester Road to Whitworth Street West)
The main proposals are:
• To access the canal basin, an existing car parking space is to be relocated as shown

This is very dangerous. Firstly there is the danger of ending up trying to emerge between parked vehicles such as vans which block any view of oncoming traffic.



Secondly all the parking spaces are at right angles to the road with most people driving into the parking spaces. This means they reverse out into the road, without sight of oncoming cycles. All this parking needs to be turned parallel to the road to make this route safe.



• Preferred canal basin access option would involve the removal of one existing car
parking space; however, there is space adjacent to the existing car parking bays for a
replacement space

See above

• Ramp access on towpath by canal basin

The surfacing of this ramp needs to be such that it does not become slippery when wet. The current surfacing can become very slippery in the winter.

• Tie in with existing cycling facilities on Chester Road

This will need to be updated to provide a satisfactory access and egress.


• Signed route to Deansgate/Manchester City Centre for cyclists travelling northbound
using existing two way cycle track on Chester Road

See above. Note most of the signage around the city centre for cycling is unsatisfactory and difficult to follow, especially the NCN routes.






Sunday, 13 July 2014

Salford Cycle Forum this Thursday

The next meeting of Salford's Cycle Forum will take place on Thursday 17 July 2014 at 6.00pm in committee room 3, Salford Civic Centre, Swinton.



Agenda below.



This information isn't on the web site but has been posted on the Facebook group


I won't be able to make it, but it would be good if lots of local cycle riders could attend and tell the council what they really think about the poor state of cycle routes in the area.

The Sign of Failure

For most of the past year I have been unable to ride a bicycle, restricted to my four-wheeled recumbent I have been temporarily disabled. Worse than that, much of the local cycle infrastructure is unridable on such a machine.

So, when today I was finally able to ride my touring bike without pain it was a cause for celebration, I made it out to Monton Green via the Bridgewater Canal.



This route would have been totally impossible on a trike or four-wheeler, as to get to the newly resurfaced section of the Bridgewater Canal I had to carry my bicycle down a steep set of steps and lift it over a barrier. This section is unfinished so hopefully access will be easier from further east once it is finished.



On the return journey I decided to try out NCN Route 55, through Salford, which should have been the best option. Yet again, with this barrier at the bridge over the entrance to Ellesmere Park would have been impossible on my four-wheeler.



Then at the south eastern end of Ellesmere Road I meet the first sign of failure.



Salford Council have run this route down a private road and into a narrow footpath



with a bollard at the end, just to ad an extra insult.



The second sign of failure is at the bridge over the motorway. It is wide enough for a shared cycle route, but getting into it involves getting onto the pavement round the barriers.





The final failure was then at the roundabout between the A57 and the A576.




The use of the "Cyclists Dismount" sign on cycle routes clearly demonstrates a lack of political will on the part of the council to provide decent, safe and accessible cycle routes.


Sunday, 6 July 2014

Rail Bikes & Velocipedes

During a brief trip over to York to see the Bishophill Velocipede Festival, more of which in another post, I called in to see a completely different type of Velocipede event at the National Railway Museum. This was a weekend visit of the the UK Velocipede Group who were demonstrating some adapted bicycles, home-brew designs and original machines which were designed to get inspectors and engineers around the railways.

Here is an adapted bike alongside an original design.



Another design based around a bicycle frame.



And this is their, build it yourself, track bike design



which can be pedalled in either direction, so you don't have to lift it up and turn it round.



All the machines just follow the rails, except for the adapted bicycle which has to be steered along the rail. Note how the wheels all sit on top of the rails, where as the other designs have flanged wheels.



The earlier machines are all hand powered with a rowing motion and are designed to carry two people.



These two on show belong to the Railway Museum





Whenever I see a machine like this I have visions of riding round the tram tracks in central Manchester.... ;)

Thursday, 3 July 2014

GMCC News 6 - and my last one...

I have just officially resigned as the GMCC Newsletter editor, now that the person who interfered with my first GMCC newsletter has been confirmed as chair of the organisation.

So this is my last newsletter...



GMCC News6 - Summer14 by Mike Armstrong



It will give me more time to spend campaigning for better conditions for cycling in Manchester...

Sunday, 29 June 2014

Manchester's Cycle Groups

Warning, this is work in progress...



I am trying to map out how many cycle groupings there are in Manchester. Looks like well over 50 so far, though most need checking, and some are probably wrongly classified

Some of the groups like UMBUG are very large with over 1,000 members on their email list and Critical Mass with over 800 followers, whilst others like The Spokes are quite small, but very active, and some may be defunct.

The web links are sometimes the group web site or a Facebook page and sometimes a link to evidence of the group's existence as is the case with several BUGS.


------------------------------
BUGS


UMBUG - University of Manchester Bicycle User Group
The largest in the area with over 1000 members

Get On Your Bike - Manchester University Students Union BUG

Manmetriders – Manchester Metropolitan University BUG
MMU’s Man Met Riders

University of Salford Bicycle User Group

Coop BUG

Manchester Science Park BUG

CMFT (NHS Trust) Bike User Group

Manchester Airport Bike User Group

GMP BUG

NBUG - BBC North Bicycle User Group

MediaCityUK BUG - coming soon...


------------------------------
All Ability

Wythenshawe Wheelers/Simply Cycling – all ability cycling group

Cycle Works - Cycle Training, Guided Rides and All-Ability Wheelers groups

Bury Tandem Club for Visually Impaired People

------------------------------
BMX

Bradford BMX Bandits Racing Club

Manchester BMX Club – supporting the BMX Track in Platt Fields, Fallowfield

North Region BMX


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Mountain Bikes

Bury Mountain Bike Club

Manchester Cycling – a.k.a. The Blazing Brakes Mountain Bikers

Manchester Mountain Bikers

Tribe Mountain Bike Club - Bolton

Blazing Saddles MTB Club - Pendle

Industrial Fell Biking – offroad in the fells North of Manchester

Twisted Wheels - A Manchester mountain bike collective


------------------------------
Campaign Groups

Colne Cycling Campaign

Congleton Cycling Campaign

Cycle Stockport

Cycle Wilmslow

Greater Manchester Cycling Campaign (GMCC)

I Bike Manchester - dead page

Love Your Bike - FoE

Macclesfield Bicycle User Group - currently a dead page


------------------------------
Clubs

ABC Centreville – Rochdale Cycle Club

Abbotsford Park Road Club – Heaton Mersey

All Terrain Racing Club

Altrincham Ravens Cycle Club

Chorlton Velo - cycle club

Duckinfield Cycle Club

Eastlands Velo Cycle Club – based at the Manchester Velodrome

Glossop Kinder Velo Cycle Club

Janus Road Club – Stockport

Leigh Premier Road Club

Northern Quarter Cycle Club - dead

Manchester Modernists Society Cycle Club - Facebook group

Pendle Forest Cycle Club

Rochdale Cycling Club

Stockport Community Cycle Club

Ribble Valley Cycling & Racing Club – Preston

Team Torelli Cycling Club

Warrington Roads Club

Weaver valley Cycle Club

Westmead Team 88 - Stockport Time Trials Club

West Pennine Roads Club – Rochdale

Withington Wheelers Cycling Club

------------------------------
Clarion

Bolton Clarion

Bury Clarion Cycling Club

North Cheshire Clarion

Stockport Clarion Cycle Club


------------------------------
CTC groups

Bury Cyclists Touring Club (CTC)

Cycling Manchester (CTC)

Oldham and Tameside CTC/Oldham Century Road Club

Seamons/Altrincham & Sale Cyclists Touring Club

South Manchester Cyclists’ Touring Club (CTC)

------------------------------
Wanderers & Wheelers


Chorlton Wanderers – South Manchester Sunday cycling group

Macclesfield Wheelers

Manchester Wheelers

Nelson Wheelers

Stretford Wheelers

Wigan Wheelers


------------------------------
Female Specific Groups


Bloomers Bike Project MCR


Manchester and District Ladies Cycling Association

Team Glow - Manchester Women’s Cycling Network


------------------------------
Others

Critical Mass Manchester

Unicycle North West

01FIX1 - Manchester fixed gear

Manchester Hardcourt Bike Polo

Stockport Cycle Speedway

The Spokes - The only all female bicycle dance troupe in the UK

Pedal Power – Bike generated power events

Great Northern Rollers - Roller racing

North West Cyclo Cross Association

Peak Audax

Bike Cr̬che РCycle Jumbles

Bury Cycle Speedway

------------------------------
Routes, Infrastructure and More

Cycling Development North West

Cycle Greater Manchester

Cycling Projects – in the North West

University of Manchester Cycle Lab

Friends of the Fallowfield Loop

Trans Pennine Trail


Friday, 27 June 2014

Gentle June Critical Mass

The afternoon rain kept this a small ride, along with many regulars having gone to Glastonbury or away on holiday.



However, a reasonable sized crowd formed



with one special guest...



We rode down the hill from Albert Square onto Deansgate



then back up market street and onto Cross Street and back through Albert Square.



Then onto Fountain Street



where the narrow cycle lanes were superfluous



and into the Northern Quarter.





The penny farthing was back this month.



We then dropped down London Road





and onto Grosvenor Street.



and finally into Manchester Science Park



finishing at the Old Abbey Pub which had been warned of our arrival and had put on food for the riders. The ride kept the pace fairly slow and I kept the music quite slow and gentle to fit the mood.