Tuesday, 9 September 2014

Bollocks infra - with still wet paint & tarmac

Durham County Council have been busy for the last few months converting what was a fairly unexciting roundabout at the north end of Chester Le Street shown below on Google Maps

They have changed the layout to accommodate more lanes and signals at the roundabout.
The project page is here along with links to the plan, and the consultation report.

The consultation report does mention access to properties, but nowhere does it mention any consultation with groups or organisations representing the cycling community. This is surprising, not least because it is the route of the Sustrans NCN 725. I am presuming the give way markings are appeasements to locals.

Durham County Council replied to a tweet about the markings to Tim Beasley stating

They have removed grass verges and squeezed footpath space to make the extra room for vehicles and in the process created some fairly tortuous and frankly extremely poor space and routes for both pedestrians and cyclists resulting in plenty of potential for conflict.

The southbound route has been largely completed with the exception of signal installation, and the full horror has been revealed.

A167 north of the junction is now a massive 5 lane beast of a road as you can see from the photo below

Southbound approach from the A167. The have removed a section of the southbound painted label as part of the lane widening before meeting the off-road section which is segregated. Notice the give way markers for each private house driveway 

A closer look at the markings giving driveways priority over people cycling. Why? just why?

Here you can see a traffic light signal smack in the middle of the segregated cycle lane. You can also see just how much space has been given over to motor traffic compared to people walking and cycling
This is the shared path around the corner at what will be a signaled crossing across the A693 Blind lane.
That's a Moulton which is about 1.3m tyre to tyre. I estimate the width of the path at about 1,5M wall to kerb, but of course the signal pole reduces that considerably. It is also quite a tight turn for bicycles,

Looking across Blind lane from the traffic island, you can see that for some reason the path humps up with a high stepped kerb. This is on a corner so not a bus stop. Given the posts and the corner I could foresee this being a conflict point with potential for a serious fall if you come off the kerb.
This is a view of the above kerb from the path. Not very person friendly at all.

This is a view showing the exit to the A167 Park road South and on the right the new slip towards Chester Le Street town centre. The large island on the right has shared paths crossing it which are also shown below, which again will be signalised

There is a smaller island as well with more shared paths crossing it, these are not signalised though. This is the north-south route most cyclists will need to follow, unless the want to mix it on the now 3 lane carriageways . Once over both lanes, the southbound route picks up the existing off road path which continues south for a few hundred metres before changing into a painted lane.
Still some work to do northbound, but it still gives priority to private drives over cyclists. Also the cycleway has give way markings where it joins the road just before a bus stop (increasing risk of conflict). Previously there was a painted lane which has disappeared in favoure for 2 exit lanes, and now starts a few hundred metres further up. Could they not have linked up?