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Councils get to work delivering temporary active travel routes


01 June 2020

Local authorities across Britain are installing temporary roadspace reallocation measures to give pedestrians and cyclists more space as Covid-19 restrictions are eased. Many councils see measures as possible forerunners to installing permanent schemes to support active travel.

The programme of measures has the backing of the DfT and the devolved administrations. The DfT published statutory guidance for local authorities in England last month (LTT 15 May). 

Leicester City Council mayor Peter Soulsby is promising to install a mile of new temporary cycling and walking lanes every week for the next ten weeks. 

Temporary cycle lanes were recently installed on Saffron Lane and Aylestone Road (LTT 15 May). They will now be installed on some of the major arterial routes into the city, beginning with a 1.2-mile stretch of London Road inbound between Shanklin Drive and Victoria Park Road. It will be marked out using cones and signs. Similar arrangements on a 1.6-mile inbound stretch of Hinckley Road will follow.

Permanent cycleway schemes that are already underway as part of the council’s Transforming Cities programme will be accelerated for early completion.

Pavements will be widened to help support local shops when they reopen.

In Leeds the city council is to install a cycle lane on the A65 using orcas and wands. A number of footways have been widened and further measures are being implemented  “subject to procuring significant quantities of relevant equipment, funding being made available and feedback from local ward members”. 

Officers are also looking to fast-track where possible schemes under development including the city centre 20mph scheme and the third phase of the City Connect cycleways project. This includes segregated cycle lanes on Dewsbury Road, Elland Road, and Clay Pit Lane. 

Sheffield City Council has introduced temporary footpath widening including on Chesterfield Road and Fulwood Road. A temporary cycle lane will be installed between Shalesmoor Roundabout and Corporation Street, and Devonshire Street will be part-pedestrianised from Eldon Street to Carver Street. 

Reading Borough Council has outlined a big programme of measures. “The current low levels of traffic provide potentially unique opportunities to make a step change in the adoption of healthier and more sustainable travel choices,” Giorgio Framalicco, Reading’s deputy director of planning, transport and regulatory services, told councillors. 

Temporary Traffic Regulation Orders will make sections of Gosbrook Road  and Westfield Road one-way, enabling more space for walking and cycling. Water-filled traffic management barriers will be used to enforce the changes.  

Sidmouth Street will be made one-way (northbound) for all traffic with a contra-flow cycle lane in the current southbound lane.  

North and southbound cycle lanes are to be marked on Reading Bridge over the River Thames by removing one inbound traffic lane. 

A permanent contraflow cycle lane between the footway and parked vehicles could be installed on Blagrave Street between Reading Town Hall and the railway station.

Brighton and Hove City Council was one of the first to act by closing Madeira Drive on the seafront to vehicles (LTT 15 May). It has also created temporary cycle lanes along the A270 Old Shoreham Road to the west of the city.

Further proposals include:

  • adjusting signal timings at ClockTower, the junction of Queens Road/North Street, to give pedestrians more crossing time and reduce crowding
  • reducing the number of bus stops along Western Road, a shopping street, to give pedestrians more space
  • removing some parking from Boundary Road, St James Street, and London Road 

Councillors have asked officers to look again at active travel interventions on the A259 seafront road between the Aquarium roundabout and just beyond the British Airways i360 visitor attraction, a road with generally two lanes in each direction. 

“The existing cycle lane is constrained and with the increased numbers of pedestrians social distancing has become more difficult,” officers reported. They considered two options for improving conditions but said neither were satisfactory.

One option would have removed the southern inside general traffic lane, allowing cyclists to contraflow. Officers said this was costly (£60,000), would require water-filled barriers that were hard to source, and would pose safety concerns because contra-flow cyclists would not receive red signals at pedestrian crossings. Other safety concerns included access/egress issues for cyclists to the new cycle lane. 

The other option involved taking out the inside lane on both the north and south sides of the road. This would allow the adjacent promenade to be used wholly by pedestrians and no longer shared with cyclists. This option would cost an estimated £58,000 but officers said: “An initial review by road safety has highlighted concerns related to the conflict between cyclists and left-turning traffic.

“Using cones will make it feel that the lane is being worked on and drivers might not expect cyclists to emerge at junction.

“Coning will require constant monitoring to ensure the safety of cyclists.”

Technical Officer
Oxfordshire County Council
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Technical Officer
Oxfordshire County Council
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Technical Officer
Oxfordshire County Council
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