Cycling Has Become a Much Brighter Prospect in Beijing Once Again

ChiCycle members and the Chichester area community, desperately need some positive ideas to cheer us all up. Perhaps the wisdom and vision of the Chinese people might prove a healthy inspiration to us all? This will be a happy contrast to the situation locally.

ChiCycle are disappointed that local provision for walking and cycling is currently either not provided at all or in some locations is actually being downgraded and/or removed. Despite fake green-wash rhetoric from local and national government that promises to act on the climate emergency, in reality provision for sustainable transport is rapidly worsening in West Sussex.

  • Cycle lanes are be removed from the A259 with the expectation that cyclists should ride on the Harbour village pavements
  • The southern end of Centurion way is destined to be removed to provide cheap/free land for developers to use as a motor vehicle access road
  • Cyclists will be forced off the road approaching the mini roundabout at the southern end of Sherbourne Rd onto the pavement. This will leave cyclists turning impossibly tight blind corners directly into the path of pedestrians. A tall brick wall prevents visibility at these sharp corners so frequent accidents will be inevitable. For elderly residents such collisions with bikes could well end independent living and once crippled leave them only a short a future of living in a care home without mobility.
  • Huge developments like Tangmere (1,300 new homes) and White House farm (1,600 new homes) are being built without any realistic walking and cycling opportunities for new residents could use to access shops, schools or employment without depending on using a car.

Despite Chinese culture copying many mistakes made by western nations by moving towards car dependent lifestyles at the end of the 20th and start of the 21st century, the Chinese people have now started to wake up and embrace walking and cycling as the future way to travel through their urban environments!

The following image links from The Beijinger show just how much is being invested in super high standard cycleways in Beijing!

Bike to work in Beijing

 900 km of cycleways being installed

READ: Beijing to Improve Over 900km of Bike Lanes, Expand Urban Rail

According to its 13th Five-Year Plan, Beijing aims to build 3,200 kilometres of bike lanes within the city’s Third Ring Road by 2020. Meanwhile, city officials unveiled a proposal last year to create a massive city-wide waterfront greenway so large that a person riding a bicycle at 25 kilometres an hour would require 7 hours to complete the entire circuit.

The Chinese walking and cycling vision makes LTN1/20 (the current UK standards for cycling that are universally ignored) look pathetically unambitious.

Walking and cycling routes are segregated to avoid conflict. Beijing authorities don’t just paint a cycle symbols on unsuitable pavements and pretend these are cycle-routes like WSCC, they put in bike routes where nothing forces cyclists to stop or give way to other modes of transport.

The image below is from a video of a brand new Beijing Superhighway. Check out how there are signalled tidal directional lanes to reduce cycle congestion!

Smart Super Highway
Beijing’s newest bike path will be elevated, much like the world’s longest elevated bike path over in Xiamen that extends over five miles long

The image below is from another video of the Cycle Super Highway

Beijing Cycle Super Highway at night
Beijing Cycle Super Highway at night

The Chinese aren’t skimping on cycle-racks either! The following images are from yet another video of Beijing cycleways.

 

The Department of Transport Perspective on Chichester to Emsworth Shared Pavement NMU Scheme

West Sussex County Council and Highways England intend to remove the legal footway status of the pavements through the Harbour Villages and along the A259. The intention is to re designate 4km of pavements as two way cycle tracks that pedestrians are permitted to share with all the bicycle traffic using the National South Coast Cycle Route. More details of this scheme are available here.

ChiCycle, the Chichester Area District Cycle Forum and the West Sussex Cycle Forum, believe that this scheme is unsafe and will cause inconvenience to pedestrians and cyclists. Our understanding of National Policy for Cycling and Walking Gear Change and the Department for Transport guidelines for cycling infrastructure LTN1/20, is that both documents strongly advise against the conversion of significant lengths of pavement footways into shared use cycle-tracks.

On the 4th March 2021 We have sent a joint letter to Chris Heaton-Harris MP, who is the Minister of State for Walking and Cycling. (A picture of Chris Heaton-Harris is shown below)
Chris Heaton Headges MP

We have now receive a response from Chris Heaton-Harris which is available here.

Gabriel Adams of Fishbourne has also recently written to Gillian Keegan the MP for Chichester with her concerns about the A259 shared pavement NMU scheme. (An image of Gillian Keegan is shown below)
Gillian Keegan

Gillian Keegan kindly replied to Gabriel Adams, sending her a response from Chris Heaton-Harris. The response from Chris Heaton-Harris is available here.

Remarkably, Chris Heaton-Harris and the Department of Transport believe the NMU Scheme will meet Current Guidelines!!!

It seems likely Chris Heaton-Harris and his aids at the DfT have not been fully briefed on the details of this project. The following paragraph from the most recent correspondence with Chris Heaton-Harris shows there is no awareness long sections of pavement are going to be converted into cycle-tracks:

Following the publication of the new guidelines in July 2020 (Local Transport Note 1/20) (LTN1/20), Highways England sought to establish the impact of the guidelines on it’s feasibility recommendations. As a result, Highways England’s designs have evolved to a solution comprising of a mix of speed management zones, shared use paths and segregated facilities, which are compliant with LTN1/20 and will cater for all users. All of Highways England’s designs will be subjected to independent road safety audit review and an Equality Impact assessment.

The Department of Transport only use the term shared use paths to describe infrastructure away from traffic and roads. Shared use paths are the only form of shared use facility Chris Heaton Harris mentioned in his reply, but it is not these sections of the route where we have safety concerns.

Our specific safety concerns are over the plans to remove the legal status of 4km of urban pavements so that they will no longer classified as footways for pedestrian use only. These sections will be converted to shared use cycle tracks following the procedures of the Cycle Tracks Act 1984. The DfT would not normally describe shared use cycle tracks adjacent to or contiguous with a roadway as a shared use path.

Chris wrote the foreword to the LTN1/20 document which which mirrors the key principles and ideas embodied within the National Gear Change policy for Walking and Cycling. If he is fully aware of of the intended conversion of pavements to shared use, it is impossible to understand his reasoning for stating the scheme complies with LTN1/20. We can only assume he has been incorrectly briefed about these details.

Rupert Emerson also had correspondence discussing the NMU scheme with DfT in Summer 2020

Rupert Emerson wrote to the DfT on 4 August 2020 and received a response on 4 September 2020. The response letter is interesting because it confuses the distinction between paths, which in technical literature refer only to routes away from roads and cycle-tracks which critically have a different legal status and run adjacent or congruent to carriageways. This can be seen in the following paragraph taken from the DfT response dated 04/09/20:

The recent announcement of the Government’s new design guidelines for cycling infrastructure design (Local Transport Note 1/20) has necessitated a re-evaluation of the design process. These guidelines refer to shared use as the ‘last resort’ solution, but do quote some exceptions on where it may be appropriate, such as interurban routes with low pedestrian flow like the A259. Highways England is mindful of this new designation, but also note that shared use paths have been used widely for providing safe journeys for both cyclists and pedestrians across Highways England’s and the West Sussex network for many years. The existing network around Chichester includes popular examples of shared use paths such as Centurion Way and the path alongside the A259 between Chichester & Littlehampton.

Centurion Way is a shared use path as it away from motor-vehicle traffic but DfT guidelines do not classify the cycle-way between Chichester & Littlehampton as a path. It is classed as a cycle-track by DfT literature as it runs adjacent to a road.

Most stretches of the A259 between are Chichester & Littlehampton are intra-urban  which is in stark contrast to the Chichester to Emsworth sections that run through urban streets bordered by shops, churches and houses with frequent driveways.

 

Highways England A259 Chichester-Emsworth NMU Questionnaire and Presentation documents

Highways England have emailed a number of people inviting feedback on their proposals to adapt the pavements on the A259 to carry a two way cycle track that will in many places be shared with pedestrians.

The following links give access to documents used by Highways England when presenting the proposals for the A259 NMU scheme.

1. Story Board-Southbourne
2. Story Board-Sbourne to NBourne
3. Story Board-Nutbourne
4. Story Board-Bosham
5. Story Board-Bosham to Fishbourne
6. Story Board-Fishbourne
Chemroute factsheet v2
C2ENMU – Community Leaflet v3 (AC)

Please note that in the meetings with Highways England held on the 4th and 5th of February 2021, it was made clear that there would be sections of this scheme where pavements and cycle tracks would have widths restricted below those dimensions shown on the story board graphics. I would suggest taking the story board graphics as only an indication of the maximum widths that will be provided for walking and cycling on this scheme.

Shared pavements through urban areas of the route where there are frequent houses and driveways on the road will account for approximately 4km of the route’s length.

It is strongly recommended everyone who wishes their opinion to be heard fills in the following questionnaire provided by Highways England

A27 Chichester-Emsworth NMU Questionnaire

The deadline for completing the questionnaire is 17th March at 12pm.

I recommend giving your own perspective but my own notes on the questions are given in the following list and these may highlight issues where you may have  concerns.

  • (Question No 7) This only asks about the A259 and a significant number of people use Fishbourne Rd East. Highways England falsely claim this road is a very quiet street! You may wish to tick other and include “I use Fishbourne Rd East too” in response to question No 8.
  • (Question No 9) This question asks stakeholders to rate if parking is an issue. However parking can be an issue both because it is desirable to park at the side of the road in the cycle lane or for exactly the opposite reason, that if you are a cyclist or pedestrian it is undesirable to have cars parked on the cycleway or pavement. For this reason it may be best leaving this answer with a mid rating. Sadly, it is not possible to highlight traffic volume as an issue. This is unfortunate as it is the main issues preventing cyclists using the road and why the local authorities wish to convert the pavement into a shared use cycle track.
  • (Question No 11) With 150 driveways and access-ways crossing the pavements intended for conversion to shared use cycle tracks, this scheme is likely to have a negative impact on safety and convenience. Many of the driveways will be blind to approaching cyclists so the situation will be dangerous. This issue may cause cyclists to swerve knocking pedestrians over or even into the road. A score of zero is recommended as an answer to question 11.
  • (Question No 14) There is no reason why contraflow arrangements could not be employed on the A27 as an alternative to maintaining the A259 as a backup route in the event of road closures. This provides the opportunity to downgrade the A259 to a B road. The harbour villages are unsuitable for carrying in excess of 20,000 vehicles per day.
  • (Question No 15) The biggest obstacle preventing safe walking, cycling and community living in the Harbour Villages is the volume of traffic on the A259. The transport network could be modified so that private motor vehicles are not allowed to travel through the village centres. This will improve the quality for all residents but would require additional routes for existing motor-traffic such additional junctions onto the A27. Emergency vehicles and public transport could continue to pass through the centre of the Harbour Villages but other vehicles would need to take alternative routes. This would allow cyclists to use the roadway leaving pavements clear for the exclusive use of pedestrians.

Walking and Cycling Provision for the Tangmere Housing Development

Tangmere Housing Development Application 20/02893/OUT  incorporates welcome design elements within the development but the absence of a functioning wider area walking and cycling network may leave residents stranded in Tangmere if they do not wish to drive. As with any design, there is room for improvement but there is clear evidence walking and cycling needs within the development are being thoughtfully considered by the architects.

ChiCycle Assessment of Walking and Cycling Infrastructure within the Tangmere Development

  1. These plans now appear to include a green corridor carrying a kind of separate spine road for cycling on the eastern side of the development. This looks to be separated from the corridor carrying the road-way spine road. Presumably this will be a car free lane within central the heart of the community. This seems likely to allow families to make local journeys to school or to the shops using a route mainly away from the spine road. ChiCycle feel this is a highly desirable design feature. It is extremely welcome because it will facilitate healthy active travel habits in a safe inclusive environment. Moreover, this feature appears to have been included in plans through community engagement with existing Tangmere residents. Details of this cycle route are shown on page 17 of the document DESIGN_AND_ACCESS_STATEMENT_PART_3 . The image below clipped from the document shows the Principal Segregated Cycleway shown in orange.
  2. The development plan includes a street hierarchy and the document DESIGN_AND_ACCESS_STATEMENT_PART_3 states:

    7.37 The Masterplan sets out a permeable and legible network of connections for pedestrians and cyclists. Strategic connections are provided through the site providing connections to the Village Centre and to wider destinations via the Westhampnett cycle path.

    The development allows motor-vehicle access to properties by means of quiet streets. Motor-vehicle traffic is filtered by green strips preventing through traffic on most streets. However it appears permeability will be provided for walking and cycling between the parcels of development. ChiCycle feel this is excellent design practice that will encourage local journeys by walking and cycling.

  3. The spine road snakes around making many journeys by car slightly less direct than walking and cycling trips. This brings the benefit of inherent traffic calming by avoiding a fast straight spine road. Also by zig zaging through the development, the spine road can get motor vehicles close to their destinations leaving only short distances to be completed on the secondary and tertiary streets. This will minimise motor vehicle traffic on the quiet streets. ChiCycle approve of this design strategy.
  4. Near the southern exit of the spine road the principal cycleway crosses the spine road. It then recrosses it again at the mouth of the spine road exit onto Tangmere Rd. We feel crossing the spine road here twice is undesirable, particularly as it is crossed twice within only a short distance. We feel it would be better to keep the cycle-way on the north east side of the spine road. This might be achieved by relocating the spine road a few metres to the south west so that existing layouts for houses would not need substantial changes made. A sketch of how we recommend the layout is adapted is shown below with the ChiCycle modification shown with a dashed purple-line.
  5. At the northern end of the development the principal cycleway is shown running adjacent to the spine road. ChiCycle normally oppose this type of solution but in this case it seems unlikely many pedestrians will follow this route out of the development as there is nowhere much that can be reached within a reasonable walking distance. This route is also shown without side-road crossings. Under these circumstances, a relatively short stretch at the north of the development where the cycleway follows the spine road may be an acceptable solution.
  6. Where the primary cycleway follows the spine road (or indeed anywhere else the cycleway goes) the diagram showing a wide segregated route for cyclists is enthusiastically supported by ChiCycle. An image depicting this layout is shown below.
  7. We do not approve of the design for primary streets with cyclists sharing pavements. Shared use provision could work in other locations within the development away from the highway, particularly where there is grass or vegetation on either side that pedestrians and/or cyclists can swerve onto if a collision appears imminent. The preliminary designs shows alternative routes  away from the roads. We advise on a focus of routes away from the highway being made accessible to cyclists as an alternative to using shared pavements. Of particular concern are the parked cars adjacent to the cycleway. Passengers opening the nearside car door as a cyclist approaches on the pavement will cause nasty accidents. LTN1/20 gives the following advice:

    6.5.4 In urban areas, the conversion of a footway to
    shared use should be regarded as a last resort. Shared
    use facilities are generally not favoured by either
    pedestrians or cyclists, particularly when flows are high.
    It can create particular difficulties for visually impaired
    people. Actual conflict may be rare, but the interactions
    between people moving at different speeds can be
    perceived to be unsafe and inaccessible, particularly by
    vulnerable pedestrians. This adversely affects the
    comfort of both types of user, as well as directness
    for the cyclist.

    6.2.42 Kerbed island separation or light segregation
    (see Figure 6.15) that provides a buffer zone of at least
    0.5m between cyclists and parked vehicles is
    recommended to minimise risk of collision between
    cyclists and vehicle doors. A clear, level width of 2.0m is
    required alongside disabled parking bays to allow users
    to unload a wheelchair and turn within the space.

    The following image details our concerns.

    The ChiCycle position is that it would be better to make the pavements 2.5 metres wide on both sides for the benefit of pedestrians, not to included shared use pavements and focus on high quality provision for cycling elsewhere.

  8. High levels of inherent traffic calming on secondary and tertiary streets create environments suitable for all members of the community to walk or cycle. ChiCycle support designs for quiet streets that are safe to be shared by all road users. 

ChiCycle Assessment of Wider area Cycle Routes with the Tangmere Development

  1. It is commendable that the developers have discussed these matter with local community groups such as the Chichester District Cycle Forum. Assessment details can be found on pages 14 and 15 of the document  20_02893_OUT-TRANSPORT_ASSESSMENT_-_PART_2-3067405
  2. ChiCycle do not favour the Westhampnett Route because the shared pavement scheme there is not safe, convenient or appealing to cyclists and the route from Westhampnett to the centre of Chichester is only suitable for brave/foolhardy cyclists.
  3. ChiCycle strongly recommend perusing opportunities for a cycle route running just south of the A27 that has been referred to as the Shopwhyke Lakes Route shown in blue in the diagram below.

    Unfortunately the Shopwhyke housing development is going forwards with few realistic provisions for walking and cycling. However this route still appears to remain by far the most inclusive opportunity for people to access Chichester from Tangmere by bicycle while avoiding hostile heavy traffic on the alternative  Tangmere or Westhampnett routes

Missed Opportunities

What this scheme particularly highlights is the failure of the Section 106 of the Town and Country Planning Act 1990 to cater for community transport needs. Local authorities have produced a local plan but this contains no specific schemes for new rail, public transport, walking, or cycling solutions. However, it is acknowledges that these are solutions that could provide desirable alternatives to motor car dependency. Without a coherent plan available in advance for how wider networks supporting sustainable travel could be routed, S106 is wasted on inappropriate shared use pavement schemes that are unappealing to both pedestrians or cyclists alike.

The Chichester Local Plan Review 2016-2035 Preferred Approach states:

5.27 In addition, the County Council is expected to continue to support new development through a package of transport improvements which will continue to aim to reduce congestion and encourage people to use sustainable modes of travel such as walking, cycling and public transport. The District Council will shortly commence work on updating its local Cycling, Walking and Infrastructure Plan to help prioritise projects for delivery, particularly in Chichester City Centre. A key objective is to achieve a significant shift in travel behaviour aimed particularly at reducing car use for short distance journeys. Proposed measures are likely to include continuing to target investment in local transport infrastructure, focusing on delivery of improved and better integrated bus and train services, and improved pedestrian and cycling networks

To the East of Chichester there a great many new housing developments including, Grailingwell, Maudlin-Westhampnett, Madwick-Park and Shopwhye. While these projects were in their planning stages DfT guidelines LTN1/12 strongly advised against running two way cycle traffic on urban pavements, particularly where there are frequent side roads and driveways. However these guidelines were sadly ignored and the S106 contributions were squandered on inappropriate solutions will do little to encourage walking and cycling.

Worse still, these new developments are isolated from walking and cycling opportunities reaching into the City centre. Although it is possible for pedestrians to walk to the city, the heavy traffic of the A285 makes the environment extremely unpleasant. The A285 route into the city could no way be considered a convenient inclusive environment for family cycling. 

As Chichester is becoming a broadening East West string of communities, forward thinking opportunities for tram, light-rail and trolleybus have been ignored. Consequently, opportunities for moving to efficient low carbon forms of public transport will be severely hindered in the future.

ChiCycle feel local authorities urgently need to refocus resources away from road improvements that will cement a culture of car dependency and instead implement high quality infrastructure dedicated to sustainable modes of transport. Significant investment is required to realistically tackle the dual challenges we face with local gridlock and global climate-change. 

We have communicated our position to CDC planning sending this PDF copy of the details included in this post.

A27 NMU Link Improvements Package Response from Michael Neville Bosham Parish Councillor

Michael Neville is a Bosham Parish Councillor and a lecturer at Chichester College.

He is a committed environmentalist and has always commuted between his home and collage on his bicycle apart from a few extremely rare occasions when he used to bring in a vintage car on dry summer days. Mike has a young family and often brings his kids to work with them riding in a bike trailer so they can attend the College crèche. He has been living without a car for some time but finds local infrastructure is hostile to anyone trying to move away from car dependency.

On the 4th of February Mike attended the Highways England Workshop that introduced the revised NMU scheme planned to run between Fishbourne to Emsworth. Mike’s assessment of the proposals is similar to the ChiCycle view that the scheme may increase danger for pedestrians and cyclists and represents a reduction in provision for pedestrian.

Michael Neville has produced the following video explaining his response to this proposal. The video is almost an hour long because there are so many issues that Mike is justifiably concerned about.


If the embedded video above fails to appear in your browser, please follow this alternative link to Mike’s video https://youtu.be/xVDML70bl8A

Fishbourne Road East is NOT a Quiet Road Suitable for Cyclists to Share the Road-space with Motor-vehicles

ChiCycle will shortly be writing to Highways England in the hope of correcting misrepresentations they have made in recent presentations.

On Friday the 5th of February 2021, ChiCycle members attended a virtual meeting hosted by Highways England about their proposed for an NMU scheme that intends to move cyclists onto shared pavements on the majority of the route between Chichester and Emsworth.

While presenting the NMU proposal Helen Littler of wsp.com claimed that traffic data indicates that Fishbourne Road East is a very quiet road where it is suitable for cyclists to share the road space with motor-vehicles. This is certainly not a justifiable assessment if current guidelines for cycle infrastructure are considered. Why have facts recorded by WSCC traffic count data been misrepresented in this way to local councillors and other stakeholders?

The most recent traffic data (publicly) available for this road was recorded in August 2009. Since this date there has been significant housing development along Clay lane that feeds onto Fishbourne Road East. Therefore, it is unlikely that typical traffic volume on this road will have declined since August/September 2009.

West Sussex County Council provide the following traffic count data:
FISHBOURNE, FISHBOURNE ROAD EAST BY NO.29
Site Number: 00004581 Site Reference: C0123005L02
Vehicle Count Report August/September 2009.
Traffic volume ranged between 5129 & 2452 Vehicles Per Day

DfT Guidelines LTN1/20 (Page 74) state that:

7.1.1 Where motor traffic flows are light and
speeds are low, cyclists are likely to be able to cycle
on-carriageway in mixed traffic, as shown in Figure 4.1.
Most people, especially with younger children, will not
feel comfortable on-carriageways with more than 2,500
vehicles per day and speeds of more than 20 mph.
These values should be regarded as desirable upper
limits for inclusive cycling within the carriageway.

Of the 33 days when full daily traffic data was recorded at Site Reference: C0123005L02 during 2009, only two dates reported vehicle traffic counts below 2,500 vehicles per day! Sunday the 9th Aug and Sunday the 16th Aug. This shows that during the period of this survey the traffic volume on Fishbourne Road East was only appropriate for cycling in mixed traffic on 6% of these days.

It should also be noted that on two days the traffic volume on this road exceeded 5,000 vehicles per day! DfT guidelines LTN1/20 make the following comment on traffic volumes above 5,000 vehicles per day:

7.1.4….. At flows of above 5000 vehicles per day few
people will be prepared to cycle on-street…..

ChiCycle recommend that the project scope is significantly expanded to allow compliance with DfT guidelines and the current inadequate proposals are discarded. It seems reasonable to expect intervention on this route of a national cycle way so that minimum DfT recommendations are met. It is not credible to dismiss intervention on this cycle route where traffic volumes can exceed 5000 vehicles per day using the pretext that this is a quiet street.

Thank you in advance for accepting our guidance in how best to provide safe cycle infrastructure between Chichester and Emsworth.

Mark Record (Secretory of ChiCycle)


Example charts below show typical hourly traffic volumes on Fishbourne Road East during Aug/Sep 2009

 

Areas on the chart indicating over 300 vehicles passing the counter each hour will have had on average more than one vehicle passing every 12 seconds. With cyclists competing for narrowed road space where cars are parked at the street edge, this is not a quiet environment allowing relaxed inclusive cycling.

 

Safety Concerns over Highways England Proposal to Convert Pavements into Cycle Tracks between Chichester and Emsworth

ChiCycle will be contacting Chris Heaton-Harris (the minister for cycling and walking) and Baroness Vere of Norbiton (the Parliamentary Under Secretary of State at the Department for Transport) to get national governments official response to the following concerns.

Highways England proposals to convert West Sussex pavements into shared use cycle tracks between Chichester and Emsworth contravene Department for Transport standards for road safety!

The A27DesignatedFunds@highwaysengland.co.uk Chichester to Emsworth Route for Non-Motorised Users is a scheme 8.85 km in length that will remove cycle lanes from the A259 carriageway with the intention of relocating cyclists onto urban pavements/footways. Approximately 4 km in of urban pavement will be converted into shared use cycle tracks.

It is proposed that two way cycle traffic will be carried on single pavements on  only one side of the road. These pavements are intersected by over 150 side roads and driveways. The proposal will give cyclists priority over traffic at many of these intersections but the cycle track is designed with “no setback” at these crossings against recommendations in LTN1/20. The DfT guidelines clearly indicate (on page 108) that this design is unsuitable for two way cycle traffic.

Design priority, no setback
10.5.24 This approach is suitable for one way tracks
travelling in the same direction as the adjacent traffic
lane, as shown in figure 10.17. Drivers must give way to
cyclists when leaving the side road, but there is no
priority for cyclists over traffic turning in

For cyclists to be granted priority where motor vehicle intersections cross the pavements, the position where motorists must give way will have to be moved back by approximately 3 meters from the existing carriageway kerb-line. Unfortunately this will leave many of the exists blind so that motorists will have virtually zero visibility along the main axis of the A259. When drivers commit to pull out onto this road they will therefore be unable to adequately see traffic approaching in either direction. This contravenes guidelines for junction geometry given in both the DfT Manual for Streets 2 and in LTN1/20. The following advice is given within LTN1/20.

LTN1/20 5.8 Visibility splay
5.8.2
Any crossing of a highway or junction
between cycle routes should be located such that all
users have full visibility as shown in with Figure 5.4.
The x distance is in Table 5-6 and y distances are as
shown in Table 5-5 (SSD)…

Figure 5.4: Visibility x and y distance for a cycle track as the minor arm
Figure 5.4: Visibility x and y distance for a cycle track as the minor arm

In the diagram of splay visibility shown above the absolute minimum distance for dimension X1 is 2.4 metres and the Y1 dimension for the recommended cycle design speed of 30 kph, is 31 metres. Dozens of the cycle-track crossings will fail to come anywhere close to meeting absolute minimum DfT road safety standards.

The justification for the Highways England proposal to convert pavements into shared use cycle tracks is that the existing provision for cycling is considered unsafe. However, DfT guidelines indicate this proposal will be counter productive and increase risks for people using all modes of transport on this route.

Moreover, national policy on cycling and walking Gear Change states that:

Appendix (page41) Summary principles for cycle infrastructure design
2. Cycles must be treated as vehicles and not as pedestrians.
On urban streets, cyclists must be physically separated
from pedestrians and should not share space with
pedestrians

A significant concern with conversion of  pavements into shared use cycle-tracks is the threat of bikes colliding with pedestrians. This is a particular issue for our many elderly residents who often have mobility issues and/or visual impairment. These people will be terrified by sharing a pavement with a design speed for 30 kph two way cycle traffic.

LTN1/20 6.5.4… Shared use facilities are generally not favoured by either pedestrians or cyclists, particularly when flows are high.
It can create particular difficulties for visually impaired
people

Safety issues caused by putting a cycle track onto these urban pavements will be worsened by the projects failure to adhere to either recommended or absolute minimum DfT cycle track widths. Indeed, it is hard to identify any elements of the Highways England proposals that meet current standards for walking and cycling or any preceding standard for walking and cycling introduced within the last 25 years.

Recent National policy on cycling and walking Gear Change has promised that:

Funding only schemes which meet the new standards (page31)

We will not fund or part-fund any scheme that does not meet the new
standards and principles described in theme 1 and in the Appendix. We
will not allow any other agency or body to fund such schemes using any of our money…

ChiCycle members and other stakeholders joined a virtual meeting with the WSP project manager for this scheme (email Paul Goodenough) on the 5th Feb 2021. Remarkably, Paul stated that there is no mandate for this project to abide by the standards and principals included in current Gear Change national policy on cycling and walking!

Please provide your insight into why this scheme in West Sussex is permitted exemption from UK DfT road safety standards and why the scheme is not required to abide by national policy minimum standards for cycling and walking.

Many thanks in advance for addressing our concerns over this matter,

Mark Record (Secretary for ChiCycle)

 Southbourne Highstreet

The image above shows Southbourne’s northern side high street pavement which is planned to be inappropriately converted into a  two way shared use cycle track.

Chichester Observer reports A259 Conversion of Pavements to Shared Use Cycle Tracks

On the 17th February 2021 the Chichester Post published a story explaining scepticism from residents after proposals were revealed to narrow a road in Emsworth, to make way for a ‘shared use pavement’, and to relocate a Southbourne bus stop, to allow a narrow pavement to be used as a two-way cycle-track. Full details of the story can be read here: Latest proposals for ‘two-way cycle track’ between Emsworth and Chichester divide opinion.

Andrew Gould, Gabby Adams and Mark Record were shown simulating what pedestrians will face when the narrow Pavement at Nutbourne is converted into a shared use cycle-track.

On Thursday 11th Feb when the Observer’s photographer Steve took the photos, there was horrendous levels of traffic on the A259. Indeed the WSCC traffic counter on the A259 (A259 SOUTHBOURNE, W. OF THORNEY RD, O/S NO.44) recorded 21,429 motor vehicles passing over only 16 Hours! Total recorded traffic flow for 11th Feb 2021 at this location was 22919 motor vehicles!

Gabby rides cargo trailer on soon to be shared pavement

 Mark and Andrew looking moody

Pavement with two way traffic

Controversial Plans to Convert A259 pavements into Cycle-Tracks

On Friday the 5th of February 2021,  ChiCycle members Gabby Adams, Sarah-Sharp and Mark Record attended a virtual meeting hosted by Highways England. This meeting was held to discuss revised proposals described as improvements to the Chichester to Emsworth Route for non-motorised users. The meeting was attended by approximately 30 people representing the Borne communities, and advocates for pedestrians, cyclists and people with sensory impairment.

There was wide concern over the proposal to convert pavements along the A259 into shared use cycle tracks. Jeremy Board who was representing the group Gina’s Cycle Path, was the only person I could identify from the local community who voiced support for converting town/village pavements to shared use.

ChiCycle are strongly opposed to the proposals primarily because placing cyclists on the pavement will be a huge reduction in the level of provision for pedestrians. Conversion of pavements is likely to have a particularly severe impact on elderly residents and people with sensory impairment. Other concerns include the failure for the scheme to meet essential visibility criteria so cyclists can be seen at junctions and that cyclists will loose right of way at many junctions making use of the route impractical.

Details of matters discussed in the Chichester to Emsworth Route for Non-Motorised Users Cycling/Road Users Workshop

After introductions and a preamble about health and safety when working from home, a series of slides were shown to explain the revised proposals for the route.

Slides Showing Highways England’s Revised proposal for the route between Chichester and Emsworth

It is nessesary to click on the 1 to 3 numbers buttons at the bottom of the gallery to access the full three sets of slides!

Key points revealed about the new proposals by the workshop meeting.

At Emsworth just east of Queens st narrowing of the road to 6 metres is being considered to allow a shared use pavement to the North side of the road of 3 metres width. ChiCycle note that since the cycle track is bounded by vertical features, the shared use cycle track would need to be 3.7 metres width to comply with current guidelines LTN1/20 sections Table 5-3 and Table 6-3.

Between Emsworth and Southbourne pinch points were described along the route likely to limit the width of the path below the recommendations in LTN1/20. Visibility issues of the scheme were also acknowledged at driveways and shops.

At Southbourne Highways England suggested a re location of the bus stop to allow the narrow pavement past St John’s Church to be used as a two way cycle-track.

A section of two way segregated cycle track is proposed parallel to the pavement just after the Eastern exit from the Southbourne roundabout. This would stretch slightly beyond Inlands Road before reverting to being a shared use cycle track as Nutbourne is approached. It was acknowledged that there were issues with Chichester Caravans crossing the proposed cycle track.

It is being proposed to reduce the speed limit through Nutbourne to 20 MPH incorporating the use of traffic calming features such as build outs.

From just East of Inlands Road to Broad Road the pavement on the North Side of the road is proposed to be converted to a two way shared use cycle-track.

East of Broad road to Cutmill Creak a two way segregated cycle track is proposed that will be predominantly 3 metres wide but narrowing at some pinch points.

From Cutmill creak to Bosham, the proposal suggested allowing two routes for walking and cycling. A new route on the North side of the A259 was suggested following existing quiet roads. However Ian Sumnall of the Chichester District forum later voiced doubts that these were public roads that WSCC highways has jurisdiction over.  To the South of the A259 the existing shared use path would be retained but users would still be required to cross over the road to the north side before reaching Bosham to use existing residential quiet streets to reach the village.

The northern arm of the Bosham roundabout is proposed to be modified by the inclusion of a crossing island for pedestrians and cyclists.

The route through Bosham is proposed to remain as is  apart fom the posibility of it being widened in places. The provision will remain leaving the Bisham village on a two way shared use pavement. It was claimed by Highways England that they were constrained from acquiring additional land to improve facilities but Ian Sumnall later pointed out this land was part of a development proposal and was available for carrying walking and cycling provision.

Using highway land between Bosham and Fishbourne currently occupied by existing hedges was ruled out from use on the grounds it might disturb ecological habitats.

It was proposed to improve the path to the North of the A259 between Hilliers Garden centre and Fishbourne as a two way shared use facility.

It is proposed to introduce a 20 MPH zone through Fishbourne incorporating the use of traffic calming features such as build outs. They gave an example of the proposed type or build outs and road narrowing shown below.

ChiCycle have doubts a road intervention as shown above is realistic without other revisions to the road network to reduce traffic volume to below 16,000 vehicles a day.

From the entrance to the West of Fishbourne Village to the start of Legionnaires Way, it is proposed to use the Northern pavement as a two way shared use path,

It was acknowledged that although Legionnaires Way and Roman Way would remain a route for cyclists, many cyclists would find these routes inconvenient and would cycle in the carriageway through Fishbourne.

Fishbourne Road East was deemed from traffic data and Highways England site visits to be very quiet street and therefore it was claimed additional provision for cycling is not necessary at this location. However, ChiCycle have searched WSCC database of traffic data and can only find implausibly low traffic volume figures recorded in August 2009!

It was explained that once the route crossed the cycle/pedestrian bridge between Tesco and Bishop Luffa, the route would join where other proposals are happening. It was not made clear what these other proposals were or who was responsible for them. It was explained that they were outside of the Highways England scheme.

Key discussion issues

Andrew Gould (secretary of Chichester District Cycle Forum) raised the point that LTN1/20 states that…

LTN1/20 page 9 – 1.6 Summary Principles: (The following summary principles form an integral part of this guidance) …
(2) 1.6 Summary Principles
Cycles must be treated as vehicles and not as
pedestrians. On urban streets, cyclists must be
physically separated from pedestrians and
should not share space with pedestrians.
Where cycle routes cross pavements, a
physically segregated track should always
be provided. At crossings and junctions,
cyclists should not share the space used by
pedestrians but should be provided with a
separate parallel route.

Paul Goodenough of WSP relied to this by saying that “so I take on board what you are saying Andrew in terms of that summary principal, however it is a principal within the guidance and not a mandate,  and I would draw your attention to paragraph 6.5.6 paragraph 3 (shown below)

LTN1/20 page 67- 6.5.6
Shared use may be appropriate in some situations, if well-designed and implemented. Some are
listed below:….
>In situations where a length of shared use may be acceptable to achieve continuity of a cycle route

ChiCycle do not accept Paul Goodenough’s position in regard to this critical element of LTN1/20 section 1.6 summary principals not being mandatory. The specification states that “On urban streets, cyclists must be physically separated from pedestrians”. It is also states that “The following summary principles form an integral part of this guidance”.

Paragraph 3 in section employs the use of the word “may” which suggests there could be situations where achieving continuity of a cycle path might not be appropriate (such as on an urban high street with shops a church and a bus stop)

ChiCycle will be contacting Paul Goodenough to ask him why he feels summary principles preceded by the instruction “must” might be considered optional guidance rather than mandatory directives.

Andrew Gould (secretary of Chichester District Cycle Forum) raised the point that LTN1/20 states that…

LTN1/20 page 9 – 1.6 Summary Principles: (The following summary principles form an integral part of this guidance) …
(2) 1.6 Summary Principles
Cycles must be treated as vehicles and not as
pedestrians. On urban streets, cyclists must be
physically separated from pedestrians and
should not share space with pedestrians.
Where cycle routes cross pavements, a
physically segregated track should always
be provided. At crossings and junctions,
cyclists should not share the space used by
pedestrians but should be provided with a
separate parallel route.

Paul Goodenough of WSP relied to this by saying that “so I take on board what you are saying Andrew in terms of that summary principal, however it is a principal within the guidance and not a mandate,  and I would draw your attention to paragraph 6.5.6 paragraph 3 (shown below)

LTN1/20 page 67- 6.5.6
Shared use may be appropriate in some situations, if well-designed and implemented. Some are
listed below:….
>In situations where a length of shared use may be acceptable to achieve continuity of a cycle route

ChiCycle do not accept Paul Goodenough’s position in regard to this critical element of LTN1/20 section 1.6 summary principals not being mandatory. The specification states that “On urban streets, cyclists must be physically separated from pedestrians”. It is also states that “The following summary principles form an integral part of this guidance”.

Paragraph 3 in section 6.5.6 employs the word “may” which suggests there could be situations where achieving continuity of a cycle path might not be appropriate (such as on an urban high street with shops a church and a bus stop)

ChiCycle will be contacting Paul Goodenough to ask him why he feels summary principles preceded by the instruction “must” might be considered optional guidance rather than mandatory directives.

 

 

 

 

Infrastructure specifications in place for 13 Years have been ignored by our Local Planning Authorities and Councillors

ChiCycle members hope that the local authorities will take the new LTN/1/20 standards for cycle infrastructure seriously but we are already dismayed that brand new cycle infrastructure is being permitted that fails to meet standards that have been in place for 13 years. Unfortunately local provision of cycle infrastructure is of such poor quality, it amounts to displaying bike symbols on standard pedestrian pavements.

This is too narrow
This path is at least a metre narrower than current or preceding DfT cycle infrastructure standards required!

Standards for cycle infrastructure LTN 2/08 were introduced by the Department for Transport in February 2008 (13 years ago this month!). Although this standard recommended against the use of shared use pavements in locations with frequent side junctions, LTN 2/08 specified minimum standards if shared use pavements were implemented. This standard stated that:

8.5.3 Where there is no segregation between
pedestrians and cyclists, a route width of 3 metres
should generally be regarded as the minimum
acceptable, although in areas with few cyclists or
pedestrians a narrower route might suffice. In all
cases where a cycle track or footway is bounded by a
vertical feature such as a wall, railings or kerb, an
additional allowance should be made, as the very
edge of the path cannot be used.

In January 2012 the DfT published LTN1/12 specifically covering construction of shared use paths. Once again these standards highlighted the inadequacy of citing a cycleway on a pavement in a busy residential developments and particularly warned of the dangers of placing two way cycle traffic on a pavement running adjacent to a roadway. However LTN1/12 includes refined specifications for the minimum requirements for shared use cycle tracks stating:

7.34 A width of 3 metres should generally be regarded as the preferred minimum on an unsegregated route, although in areas with few cyclists or pedestrians a narrower route might suffice. Where a significant amount of two-way cycling is expected, additional width could be required. However, the need here for additional width is not clear cut, because the absence of segregation gives cyclists greater freedom to pass other cyclists. It might therefore depend on user flows.
7.35 Note here that 3 metres is the preferred minimum effective width, and this will be the actual width where the route is not bounded by vertical features (see Figure 7.6).

7.36 Figure 7.7 shows an example of unsegregated shared use alongside a typical urban carriageway. In this case, the vertical edge features create the need for additional width – see Table 7.4.

Where sign posts or lamp columns are present, they should be located outside the effective width zone where possible.

Putting this into the local context of the White House Farm shared cycle-track, to maintain a “effective route width” minimum of three metres, an actual width of 3.7 metres would be required with the designs chosen by the developers (and permitted by the local authorities). The diagram below illustrates the DfT requirements for a shared use cycle track at the time the planning application was granted.

Below is an image taken of a tape measurement taken perpendicular to the kerb on the pavement now labelled as a cycleway entering the White House Farm development.

Over a metre too narrow!
Effective width according to DfT calculations is only 1.93 metres after 0.5 metres subtracted for lamp post vertical feature and 0.2 metres subtracted to compensate for kerb edge! Minimum effective width should be at least 3 metres.

There is no conceivable reason why the lamppost needed to be set into the cycleway and DfT guidance is that it should be located away from the cycle-track.

There is other street furniture installed on the new spine road restricting the effective width of the cycle track to below 2 metres wide! Further images shown below.

Cycle track width restricted by controle box
There is no clear reason why this control box could not have been sited on the grassed area adjacent
Effective cycle track width of 1.93 m at control box
Effective cycle track width is only 1.93 m at control box because kerb and control box require combined 0.7 meters to be subtracted from measurement to calculate the effective width according to DfT standard for shared use paths.

With the cycle track width already below the DfT minimum due to additional width required at vertical kerbs it is difficult to understand the necessity to further limit the width by placing the lamp-post in the cycle track.

2nd lampost restricts path width below DfT minimum
A second lamp-post restricts path width below DfT minimum

ChiCycle are concerned because previous demands that bus stops and traffic crossing should be planned in have been rejected. We have been told that they do not require any advanced planning! Now that this cycle-track infrastructure has been constructed it is hard to understand how street furniture for signs and bus-stops could be installed without further restricting the width.

ChiCycle will be contacting the local authorities to see if they have any explanation for ignoring transport design principals laid out by the Department of Transport for walking and cycling. With a climate emergency demanding we encourage walking and cycling as an alternative to car dependency, it is essential that our infrastructure at least meets minimum standards that have been in place for 13 years.

We will post details as soon as we receive a response on these matter.

Mark Record