Saturday, February 13, 2016

Mile End Road update

At long last we have a bit of movement from Essex County Council.

You may remember that Colchester Cycling Campaign criticised them extensively for their secrecy, lack of transparency and lip-service consultation.

We also gave them a roasting over a scheme for a cycle path in Mile End Road.

Now the county have agreed to send their latest proposals to CCC, though it is unclear whether we will be able to have a say on the content.

While we wait for the drawings to pop into our email inbox, I have written to Alan Lindsay, senior highways officer, to draw his attention to the debate in the House of Lords on February 10 in which lords of every party called for Dutch-style separate cycle facilities, high quality design standards and increased investment.

Not everywhere in Holland has a separate cycle route; quiet roads are made usable with 20mph limits or less with traffic calming including staggered car parking and other devices. Where cycle provision is provided, this is separated from pedestrians.

I said to Mr Lindsay that it is important we understand how the Dutch have been so successful with creating an efficient and high-value network.

The English-speaking world in general is fast catching on. London is showing the way with the east-west cycle route, which is under construction, pictured below.

I also drew Mr Lindsay's attention to this link from Toronto, which shows how use of a cycle route increased threefold once cheap painted bike lanes were replaced with lanes separated from traffic and pedestrians.

Essex needs similarly high quality provision if they are to persuade people out of their cars as Colchester grows.

The alternative is congestion affecting the economy, continuing poor air quality and an increasing number of people with chronic health conditions.

With regard to Mile End Road, CCC believe the best solution is a 20mph area* with staggered parking, and then a segregated path from Bruff Close to the entrance to Colchester railway station. This would also be the cheapest solution -- important at a time when ECC are having to increase council tax -- and would also mean no loss of roadside car parking spaces.

The only other option acceptable to CCC would be a separate path, with cyclists and pedestrians segregated from each other, to run on one side of the road for its entire length. This solution was advanced by the Colchester Medics group. The cost of this scheme is likely to be considerably higher.

We have told Mr Lindsay that we would oppose any path that:

:: “crosses the road” as originally proposed
:: is shared with pedestrians
:: does not have priority over side roads
:: puts cyclists in danger from car doors being opened or from traffic emerging from driveways

A project featuring any of the “rule out” points above would not attract the full number of users (existing or potential) and would be a waste of taxpayers’ money.

* This should also cover Nayland Road and Mill Road west.

Will Bramhill, The Bike Committee,

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