As part of the Waterside development, proposals have been made for changes to the use of Soar Lane, which currently forms part of National Cycle Network Route 6. We consider the changes will make this section less safe for cyclists and have submitted a comment to the Council in relation to the planning application. You can access the application documents on the Planning Department’s webpages and it would appear that you may still be able to comment, although the ‘publicity period’ has ended. Below you will find the text of a letter put together by LCCG members in response to the proposals, in case you would like to submit your own comments.
“I am writing on behalf of Leicester Cycling Campaign Group about planning application 20151587, the outline application for Phase 1 of the Waterside redevelopment.
“There are many aspects of this plan, and the wider Waterside regeneration proposals, that we welcome. These include new cycle/pedestrian routes along the water’s edge, and the provision of cycle parking throughout the project area. Given its proximity to the city centre, we feel the Waterside represents a great opportunity for a mixed development where a significant number of journeys are made by cycle, on foot, and by public transport.
“However, we are concerned about the proposals regarding Soar Lane. The report and its transport assessment recognise that Soar Lane forms part of National Cycle Route 6. The location of the river and canal mean it is one of the few places where cyclists can make east-west journeys. Soar Lane has relatively little motor traffic at present, partly because the area is economically depressed, and partly because the road is one-way from the A50 Northgates junction. Naturally the success of Waterside would increase traffic flows, as would (we believe) making the road two-way along its entire length. The traffic assessment predicts an increase in traffic at the Soar Lane-Jarvis Street junction of 33-48 per cent – without altering the one-way section.
“We are further concerned that the application proposes to make Soar Lane a “shared surface”. We believe the safest way for all road users is if cyclists, pedestrians and motor vehicles are physically segregated from each other. The “shared space” at Jubilee Square continues to cause us concern, and we note that further signs have been put up in the past few days, presumably due to ongoing safety concerns.”
After discussion at our February meeting and in our email discussion group, LCCG has sent the following to Leicester City Council in response to the Waterside development consultation document. We hope it will give you some ideas when you are making your own response on the Council’s consultation website :
We would like to welcome the council’s plans to regenerate the Waterside area as set out in the SPD.
We believe that in a residential-led mixed development in this location, cycling could be a key means of transport. The location is very close to the amenities and transport links of the city centre. Potentially cycling could be the mode of transport of choice for a) those who choose to live in the Waterside; b) those who work in the Waterside; and c) those who choose to visit it for its environmental and recreational attractions.
Key to this is making suitable provision for cycling. We welcome the strong emphasis on cycling within the SPD. These build upon proposals for the A50 which the council has already consulted on.
We welcome the following specific proposals contained in the SPD, although we would ask to be consulted on the detailed design:
- Opening up parts of the riverside/canalside which are not currently accessible to the public;
- Segregated cycleway(s) on the A50;
- Proposals to improve cycle crossing at the A563 inner ring road.
We are concerned:
- That there is no mention of cycling provision along the section of the A47 contained within the SPD area;
- Because it is unclear whether cycling provision on secondary/tertiary routes would be physically segregated from motor traffic and pedestrians (we believe they should be);
- That Soar Lane is currently a quiet route, at least in part due to the stretch which is one-way to motor vehicles. The SPD proposes making it two-way along its length. We would expect if this happens that the segregated cycle lane is also extended along the entire length of Soar Lane, and that it is properly segregated from pedestrians.
We would like the council to further consider:
- Making the Waterside area a 20mph zone except for the A50, A6, A563 and A47. This would benefit both cyclists and pedestrians;
- Improving lighting along riverside and canalside paths to allow safe and secure use by cyclists and pedestrians at all times of the day and night;
- The provision of cycle parking throughout the development area.
- Dutch style segregated cycle tracks on both sides of major roads through the area, including cycle provision through junctions.
We look forward to further involvement in making the Waterside area a safe, appealing, and pleasant area for people to live, work and travel through.
Leicester City Council has launched a consultation on plans to redevelop 60 acres of Waterside area around Soar Island and a section of the A50. The area “…is a gateway to Leicester City Centre and has significant potential for economic and physical transformation to create a high quality residential-led mixed-use neighbourhood which connects the city centre to the waterfront.” The plans aim to improve infrastructure to make the area a place where (amongst other things) “people feel safe and comfortable to walk and cycle through, and to the city centre.”
Plans include new cycle infrastructure and improvements to existing paths, such as the section of National Cycle Network Route 6 between Abbey Park and St Augustine’s Road. These improvements will focus on “re-establishing a pedestrian friendly character (similar to a high street with wider pavements, on street parking, cycle ways and street trees) on the A50” and “strengthening the east-west link of Repton Street – Soar Lane – Sanvey Gate for walking and cycling”. The design also looks to make Soar Island into “a destination in its own right with a mix of uses and green space which encourage public access to the water front”.
Read the Waterside Supplementary Planning Document and visit the Council’s Consultation webpages for more information and to respond to the plans before 27 February 2015.