Category Archives: Belgrave Road

Belgrave Road Consultation June – Aug 2016

Belgrave Road Consultation

belg rd

Space for cycling : none

The Leicester Cycle Forum meeting on 27th July discussed the changes on offer for Belgrave Road, from Belgrave Circle to the Loughborough Road turn. In short, the options on the table are as it is (2 lanes in each direction) with a few trees to prettify it and some changes to crossings, or one lane in each direction with bigger pavements (and changed crossings).

Neither option offers any safe space for cycling or does anything to reduce the pavement cycling seen as a problem in the area.

This is not acceptable and the council needs people to feed into the consultation to make the point that we need separated space to cycle.

We are encouraging all our members to complete the consultation as we know that the number of responses on each side is what they care about most. Your response really will count!

It only takes a few minutes to complete and can be found here: Consultation link

Here are some suggested responses.

belg 2

Space for cycling : none

Question 1
Which option do you prefer?

Option B – two lanes

Question 2 (this is the only space to add comments)
Please let us know if you have any comments on either of the options

Belgrave Road is a major route into the city. At the moment, it is a place where only the fast and the brave will cycle on the road – others choose the pavement, with the usual problems. The Mayor has expressed a desire for cycle tracks on major routes and Leicester has recently been lauded as a forward-thinking city for cycling. Despite this, there is no separate space for cycling included in these plans. The idea that people will cycle amongst the cars and buses (as shown in the artists impressions) is a whimsical fantasy and cycling levels will continue to be as depressed as they are now. This is contrary to the council’s plans re cycling – would you take children to school on Belgrave Road as pictured? If there is room for four traffic lanes and a central reservation, there is room for two traffic lanes and separated cycle tracks on each side.

Questions 3,4,5,6,7 – monitoring questions.

We know that numbers count in this consultation. Thanks for you help.

 

Update 20th Oct

There is a piece in the Mercury on the outcome of the Belgrave Consultation. It’s light on detail – in short, the four lane “keep it as it is” option doesn’t have a massive majority.

screenshot-from-2016-10-20-201811It’s not an ideal situation – we’d have liked a resounding mandate to enable people to cycle safely up and down Belgrave Road. However, not rebuilding four lanes now does leave the door open for something better in the future.

Thanks to all who responded.

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Thoughts on the Golden Mile (Belgrave Road) consultation

LCCG committee member Dave Warnock recently attended a Council consultation event on the Belgrave Road Improvement Scheme. Dave was able to have extensive conversations with a number of staff from the planning consultants Phil Jones Associates, including Phil himself. Dave shared his thoughts with those attending our December meeting and has since produced this detailed comment. You may find it helpful to read this while considering your own response to the consultation (link here), which is open until 15th January 2016.


Belgrave Road/Golden Mile Consultation
Dave Warnock, for LCCG

Three options are being presented:

– Option 1: Four lanes (2 each way) with central reservation (pdf: Option 1)
– Option 2: Two lanes (1 each way) with central reservation (pdf: Option 2)
– Option 3: Two lanes (1 each way) with partial central reservation (pdf: Option 3)

The printed material is available on the consultation website as 3 plans, each with a simple summary of some of the consequences. The Council had also prepared videos showing each of the options in action.

Sadly none of the material showed anything much about cycling, no pictures of cyclists anywhere, no details about provision. However, the conversations were much more useful.

Wider Network

While there was nothing on display, the team were able to demonstrate that they are planning wider connections for cycling, particularly for crossing the Golden Mile.

They plan to introduce infrastructure-free cycling contraflow on all the one-way streets around the Golden Mile. I believe we should offer this a cautious welcome. “Enhanced permeability” (ie. making it easier to get to and from a particular point) is a very good thing. However, on streets with parked cars on both sides, it will take a confident cyclist to ride contraflow with no protection from vehicles.

All the options include better crossings of the Golden Mile for cyclists, making East/West movement much easier and faster. This should be welcomed.

There are a small number of other connections they hope to make in all the options, particularly from Belgrave Circle past the Gandhi statue to the Cossington Recreation Ground. Again this is good news.

Cycle Parking

All the options claim to provide opportunity for new cycle parking. However, there is no detail about location, numbers or style. Good quality, secure, convenient cycle parking right along the Golden Mile would be a significant improvement. A few Sheffield stands dotted at random will not be.

Option 1:  Four lanes (2 each way) with central reservation 

This option is very similar to what is there today. It provides no cycle infrastructure along the Golden Mile and no significant improvements for pedestrians. I do not believe we should consider supporting this option which offers no improvements at all for cycle journeys along the Golden Mile.

The video and presentations ignore the current reality of illegal parking which means that one lane always has multiple blockages in it due to illegally parked vehicles. So the theoretical traffic flows are never achieved.

Options 2 and 3: Two lanes (1 each way) with varying central reservations

These options actually differ very little for cycling. An argument for option 2 (with full length central reservation) is that there is still space for good cycling infrastructure while also making it easier for pedestrians to cross the road.

It does seem to me that one of the key advantages of the central reservation is that it stops people simply parking anywhere along the road as they would completely block all traffic. Of course, unless something is done to stop it they will simply park on the footway (or cycle track).

From a Cycling Campaign viewpoint, the problem is that the plans show so little about cycle infrastructure that essentially we are being asked to simply trust Phil Jones Associates and the Council to actually design and implement something that works.

Sadly the videos were extremely unhelpful in encouraging that trust. They showed only an advisory cycle lane (dashed painted line). They didn’t include a single bike and they showed vehicles driving in the cycle lane. They also failed to show any safe junctions for cycling.

I am assured that Phil Jones Associates believe that in both options there is space for a full separated cycle lane in each direction that would be at least 1.8m wide (and hopefully even over 2m – which is the recommended minimum after all). They appear to be committed to providing this even though they have not shown it on the designs so far (apparently the difference between a painted line and fully separated infrastructure is a “detail”).

I am also assured that the detailed design will include safe junctions for cyclists. These are likely to be slower than simply ‘taking the lane’, as they will include some diversions to use zebra crossings (the new sort with a parallel crossing for cycles).  However, I think this is the right approach for junctions such as these, as it can take away one of the most significant dangers which is left-turning vehicles. One example will be when heading north to get past the Loughborough Road turning. Therefore we should support these as the right way to open up cycling to the full range of potential users.

In my discussions with them I made the following points:

  • A painted line (mandatory or advisory) will not be considered acceptable by the Cycling Campaign Group. We would expect to find it frequently blocked by parked vehicles and it offers no protection at junctions. It would do nothing to encourage people to choose to cycle.
  • A hybrid cycleway (½ step kerb up from the road and another ½ step kerb up to the footway) is attractive, provided vehicles are prevented from parking on it. Without protection from parked vehicles it is no use at all, especially on a street where so many drivers already park illegally.
  • We all agreed that any cycleway needs to be properly separated not just from vehicles but also from pedestrians. That needs to be more than just a painted line in order for it to work for people with visual difficulties and for guide-dogs.
  • Together we wondered about meeting the concerns of shop keepers wanting to be protected from ram-raiding as well as keeping the cycleway clear of vehicles and providing cycle parking by putting barriers between the cycle way and the road that could also be used for bike parking. At its simplest, this would be a line of Sheffield stands between the cycleway and the road (although they were thinking of a more “stylish” alternative). I felt this would be an excellent option as not only would it protect the cycleway and provide lots of bike parking it would also keep the footway clear of bike parking.

Conclusion

I recommend responding to the consultation by rejecting option 1 and by supporting either option 2 or 3 providing that the detailed design includes safe, separated cycleways along the full length of the Golden Mile that are clearly separated from pedestrians (by level, colour and surface) and which are protected from vehicles parking in them through kerbs, wands, posts, Sheffield stands or some such means. The cycleways must provide safe and convenient crossings of all junctions.

I also recommend supporting the increased permeability and wider cycle network connections while pointing out that without separated infrastructure these are likely to be of limited benefit in encouraging people who do not currently cycle to choose to do so.

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Potential ‘Shared Space’ on Golden Mile

Council plansThe Council is in the process of consulting on proposals to improve the stretch of Belgrave Road known as the ‘Golden Mile’. The main public consultation closed towards the end of November 2014 and ongoing consultations are continuing, led by a Consultation Working Group, membership of which and details of the next stages of the process can be found on the Council’s website.

LCCG is engaging closely on the project with the Council through the monthly Cycle City Workshops and quarterly Cycle Forums, particularly given the project’s focus on the concept of Shared Space, which will have an impact on the experience of people cycling through the area.

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Belgrave Flyover Project documents

Visit the Council’s Consultation archives for documents relating to the demolition of Belgrave Flyover and restructuring of the infrastructure around Belgrave Circle. We have been in communication with the Council throughout the reconstruction period and continue to raise our concerns about the design and the consultation process as it relates to the cycling community. See the notes from our Meetings for various updates on the project.

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Belgrave Flyover

The 1974 vintage Belgrave flyover is slated for demolition in the near future. This will release a large area of land between the Belgrave Road / Golden Mile area which will be developed as part of the Connecting Leicester project.
We will be monitoring progress on both projects to ensure that people on bikes and on foot can move between Belgrave Road and the city centre safely and easily.

News stories

Leicester Mercury
BBC

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