Suffolk County Council have opened the Ipswich Waterfront to allow more people to get their daily exercise whilst maintaining the 2 metre social distancing to minimise the spread of the COVID-19 virus. This is a fantastic opportunity to trial having no motor vehicles along here in the longer term, as it can get particularly busy in the warmer weather, when the social distancing isn’t required, making it difficult to pass other people.
Ipswich Borough Council are currently consulting on the proposal for changes to Ipswich Air Quality monitoring areas.
Cycle Ipswich would like as many people as possible to respond to this consultation which closes on 12 July. Please do not wait for the UK government’s next court hearing
In the past Cycle Ipswich decided that Stoke Bridge, and the junction of London Road and Yarmouth Road should be monitored. Last year both Friends of the Earth test kits showed illegally high levels of pollution. Now is the time for you to say if the areas should be monitored or maybe you think the area around schools should be monitored, or both, or other areas.
Cycle Ipswich are objecting to planning application IP/17/00150/VC to remove the requirements in 2 previous planning applications(IP/16/00956/FUL and IP/08/00929/FUL) to provide a walking and cycling link from the development site to the river path.
Prior to occupation of the hereby approved development; a scheme for the provision of a foot/cycle path linking Hadleigh Road to the River Gipping within the site shall be submitted to and approved in writing by the Local Planning Authority. The approved scheme shall be completed and made available for use in perpetuity in accordance with the agreed scheme within 12 months of first occupation of the building.
IP/08/00929/FUL – Condition 14:
14. Prior to occupation of the hereby approved building; a scheme for the provision of a foot/cycle path linking Hadleigh Road to the River Gipping within the site shall be submitted to and approved in writing by the Local Planning Authority. The approved scheme shall be completed and made available for use in perpetuity in accordance with the agreed scheme within 12 months of first occupation of the building.
Creation of a cycle link over the river to the north of Elton Park, connecting south west Ipswich with north west Ipswich (as identified through the emerging Site Allocations and Policies (Incorporating IP-One Area Action Plan) development plan document).
Both conditions relate to the same cycling and walking link. Cycle Ipswich believe that the walking and cycling link must be implemented to improve walking and cycling links between the site and the river path providing a safe route to Ipswich Railway Station, and the town centre. It also helps to provide walking and cycling links in North West Ipswich, and improve employment opportunities particularly for people who don’t want or need to drive via the longer route to the development.
High quality infrastructure will entice people out of the car and on to sustainable modes of transport such as walking and cycling when the quality is good enough.
Suffolk County Council are currently consulting on the proposal for 3 new crossings in Ipswich on the River Orwell. Cycle Ipswich would like as many people as possible to respond to this consultation, particularly noting the importance of cycle crossings, and protected cycle tracks, without cyclists and pedestrians having to share space, on any crossing which has motor vehicles.
The number of cycle-rail users is growing each year and so it’s important that the Association of Train Operating Companies, understand how best to provide you with helpful information when you’re planning a rail journey with a cycle.
They want to make your cycle-rail journey as simple as possible with the view to clarify information around station cycle facilities, hire schemes nearby and cycle restrictions on board trains.
Take their short survey which will take between 10-15 minutes to complete. As a thank you for your time all completed surveys will be entered into a free prize draw where four lucky winners will win £25 worth of Amazon gift vouchers each.
The survey and prize draw will close on 31st January. Details of how to enter can be found at the end of the survey.
Ipswich Borough Council are currently consulting on what should go into the Supplementary Planning Document (SPD). It is primarily about planning applications, and roads or footpaths as part of new housing schemes such as the Northern Fringe/Ipswich Garden Suburb.
This blog post is a collection of the main items we (Cycle Ipswich) would like to see included within the SPD.
There are 2 handbooks which were released around April 2014, which contain very good direction that should be referenced and used as inspiration.
First is the “Making Space for Cycling” document published by Cyclenation, and written by Cambridge Cycling Campaign. This document is better, it gives a higher level view, which is better for policy makers.
Second is the more detailed “Sustrans Handbook for cycle-friendly design”, which includes many dimensions and specifics, being more aimed at engineers. Of particular note is the diagram on page 6 highlighting which type of infrastructure to use depending on the speed and volume of traffic.
It is worth noting that there are several items which are not good practice in the Sustrans document, which David Hembrow clearly describes. These are particularly where the design of the infrastructure puts cyclists and motor vehicle drivers into conflict.
Low level traffic lights for cyclists which are at eye level rather than high up.
Red cycle symbol on cycle signals, which would make cycle specific signals clearer.
“Except cycles” plates can be added to existing restrictions without a Traffic Order.
Zig-zags can be offset up to 2m from the kerb so that cyclists don’t need to ride over them and cycle lanes can continue through the junction.
Cycle Streets where cars are guests.
Flexible traffic wands or armadillos to separate cyclists from traffic.
Cambridge Cycling Campaign have an excellent cycle parking guide, as do Cambridge City Council. Particular note should be given to the design of the stands, including the spacing, positioning, and access dimensions. Swept paths are also included to highlight the ideal widths and layouts required.
Cycle parking should be signposted so that you can find it in a similar way that you get directions to car parks. Car parks that include cycle parking should also note that cycle parking is available in the signage and publicity. Where you cannot park a cycle, there should be a more obvious sign highlighting where you can park in a positive manner and minimising the negative you cannot park here.
Conflict between cyclists, pedestrians and motor vehicles should be avoided at all times. The current significant use of legalised pavement cycling in Ipswich does not encourage large amounts of cycling. In some places there are 2 types of infrastructure, one for confident cyclists on the road, and another on the pavement for less confident cyclists. This should be changed so that there is one bit of infrastructure which ALL cyclists are happy to use. This will often mean that mobility scooters and similar vehicle users will use the cycle infrastructure too as it’s so good, and reduces conflict with other vehicle types.
Many of the key main routes into Ipswich don’t provide a lot of space for protected cycle infrastructure, so as an alternative some corridors should become key cycle routes with no through motor traffic, and only access to properties, whilst other corridors would be primarily for motor traffic. There would then be quiet links between the corridors too to encourage people to cycle round to those cycle route corridors.
Cyclists dismount signs should only be used in extreme circumstances. It is really rare that there is a valid use for them, or the cycle infrastructure is not good enough.
Ipswich Borough Council are currently consulting on the Cycling Supplementary Planning Document (SPD) looking for ideas of what should be included. They are also doing so for some other SPDs, such are parking standards in the IP-One area, and the low emissions strategy, which may also be of interest.
The next Cycle Ipswich meeting will be on Thursday 12th January 2014 at 7:30pm at the ITO World offices, 2nd Floor, 25 Lower Brook Street, Ipswich, IP4 1AQ. You can store bikes inside at the bottom of the stairs, keeping the fire exit clear.
This month Andrea McMillan, Senior Planner at Ipswich Borough Council will be presenting about the upcoming Cycle Strategy Supplementary Planning Document (SPD) for Ipswich, including the process and how we can help shape the document. There will be a further meeting with the council in the future discussing this item specifically.
The following email was sent to Suffolk County Council/Travel Ipswich highlighting our concerns about proposed changes to the Majors and Mulberry Corner Junctions, which we believe makes the junctions more dangerous for cycling:
We understand that the Rev A drawings (April 2014) as published on the Travel Ipswich website represent the latest version.
Whilst these plans are not at consultation stage, we feel that we have a duty to communicate our concerns that elements of the proposed scheme will worsen the provision for cyclists in this area.
We are particularly concerned about the removal of the existing “give way” system where the link road from St Helen’s Street rejoins Woodbridge Road.
At present, the nearside cycle lane and give way markings enable cyclists to stop and wait for an appropriate gap in eastbound traffic approaching from their left.
This is critical for cyclists who intend to proceed in the nearside (left) lane on Woodbridge Road to access Christchurch Street and other roads on the North side of Woodbridge Road. This is a key access route for parents taking children to St Margaret’s Primary school by bike as well as residents of the various residential streets on the North side of Woodbridge Road.
The new scheme will require cyclists to continue in a moving stream of traffic onto Woodbridge Road (emerging in the right hand lane) and then filter into the left hand lane in order to make a left turn.
This will be a difficult and risky manoeuvre, particularly when traffic flows are complicated by the bus stop which is proposed to be retained. It will deter cyclists from using this route due to perceived risk and will create a serious risk of injury or death to cyclists.
In addition, the present layout gives the benefit of at least a non-mandatory cycle lane on the lower stretch of Woodbridge Road, which can be a busy and intimidating environment for cyclists. Whilst we would prefer to see properly segregated infrastructure, the cycle lane markings do at least give an indication to drivers that cycle traffic is to be expected and tend to increase the space given to cyclists by overtaking traffic.
We cannot understand the assertion that removing this lane is for the benefit of “all road users” and would ask Suffolk County Council / Travel Ipswich to confirm the evidence on which this is based.
For cyclists who do not wish to use the link road, the proposed alternative set out in the scheme involves leaving the carriageway and negotiating two Toucan crossings, which will make this option considerably less convenient and slower.
The initial Toucan Crossing (on the East side of the link road by the old Odeon) is also difficult and dangerous for cyclists as the acute angle at which it crosses the link road makes it difficult to monitor the traffic approaching from behind the cyclist as they approach the crossing. The scheme design does not appear to address this.
Given that cyclists would only use this route to proceed East the double road crossing is unnecessary. It would be much more convenient to continue the existing segregated route along the side of the Regent onto Woodbridge Road and then provide a single Toucan crossing at this point to allow cyclists and pedestrians to cross Woodbridge Road and access the existing cycle lane towards Christchurch Street.
In addition, we are concerned that the existing segregated cycle routes in this section are proposed to be replaced with “shared use” which will inevitably increase the risk of conflict between pedestrians and cyclists and uncertainty for both groups.
There is ample space in the area of this scheme to provide (or to maintain where it already exists) separate infrastructure for pedestrians and cyclists in accordance with recognised best practice. In addition there is a large area of planting in the triangular island in the centre of the Mulberry Corner junction which is effectively wasted space and could be utilised to allow a higher quality treatment.
We would urge Suffolk County Council and Travel Ipswich to reconsider this scheme and to consider other options which would be safe and convenient for cyclists as well as motorised vehicles. We would be happy to attend a meeting at the site to illustrate the issues, but we believe the key points are as follows:-
Reducing, rather than increasing, the number of lanes and reallocating carriageway space to cycling.
Removing the “shared use” elements and replacing these with segregated cycle lanes (or retaining these where already provided).
Ensuring that approach lines to Toucan and other crossings are suitable for cyclists and allow them to continue across without delay when there is no oncoming traffic.
Minimising the number of road crossings required by cyclists using segregated off-road routes.
Appropriate signalised junctions (with cycle priority phases where appropriate) to avoid cyclists having to join Woodbridge Road by merging into fast moving traffic and filtering across lanes.
At present we believe the scheme is in direct conflict with Suffolk County Council’s newly issued Cycling Strategy.
In particular we believe it fails to “adopt best practices as described in the Manual for Streets 2” and also to “review new junction treatments for the benefit of cycling”. These are both stated objectives in the strategy.
In addition, the Strategy sets out a commitment to reallocate carriageway space to cycling where segregated infrastructure cannot be provided. Woodbridge Road is prime example of this, but this scheme actually envisages the reverse by removing cycle lanes without provision of any alternative infrastructure.
We note that the stated aim of these improvements is to reduce congestion in St Helen’s Street; however, we would suggest that this can only be achieved in the long term by reducing unnecessary car journeys and encouraging and enabling a shift to cycling and walking. Our view is that the scheme as proposed will have the opposite effect.
When this scheme was discussed with Travel Ipswich at the initial consultation stage we were informed that there was support for a move to a single lane from Mulberry Corner to the Argyll Street area (consistent with the road layout at the St Margaret’s Green area) with provision for segregated cycle infrastructure. This makes it doubly disappointing that the proposed scheme provides for an increase in lanes at the expense of even the minimal existing cycle lane provision.
Having considered the proposed design, we feel we need to put on record our view that the new treatment of the link road onto Woodbridge Road is unfit for cycling to the point that it constitutes a breach of Suffolk County Council’s duties under section 39.3(c) of the Road Traffic Act 1998 to take appropriate measures to reduce the risk to vulnerable road users when constructing new roads. We would also request sight of the Road Safety Audit and the CDM Designers Risk Assessment which have been carried out in relation to the scheme.
We would welcome an urgent response from Suffolk County Council and Travel Ipswich on these issues and an assurance that this scheme will not be implemented without appropriate alterations to make it fit for purpose for all road users.