Norwich's £10k per meter cycle lane

http://www.norwichcyclingcampaign.org/tombland-cycle-track-completion/

Feeds you into a cycle lane that goes slap-bang into the pedestrian crossing outside a school:

Tombland-cycle-track-7.jpg


That's the cycle lane there, bordered by the shallow gutter on the left.

Tombland-cycle-track-8.jpg


Where the peds are. That's the cycle lane.

And here's where you re-join the road:

Tombland-cycle-track-9.jpg


100 metres. £970,000.

http://www.eveningnews24.co.uk/home/motoring_2_24520/revealed_what_you_think_of_new_look_tombland_in_norwich_1_4310540

View: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=B52-jMK5o2g
 

Milkfloat

Guru
Location
Midlands
Now that is a piece of art, a hidden cycle path with a beach thrown in. How abstract.
 

MichaelW2

Veteran
I cycled on the road and didn't notice the existence or need for that cycle path.

Putting a cycle path across a place where pedestrians make heavy use of a pavement is obviously stupid design, but a big part of the problem, I think, is that planers and designers lack vocabulary. They literally do not have a word for a bit of pavement in heavy use, vs a bit of pavement that is never walked on. Soldiers have a term "dead ground" for areas out of the line-of-site of enemy. Without words, these people don't make the thoughts.

I have seen Sheffield Stands located at pinch points where a pavement narrows and footfall increases. There you have it again, a word to describe a necessary concept, from retail marketing.

Road designers have all kinds of technical words to describe features of roads. What features of pavements and bike facilities need specific names, so they can be given specific attention ?
 

mjr

Comfy armchair to one person & a plank to the next
Feeds you into a cycle lane that goes slap-bang into the pedestrian crossing outside a school:

Tombland-cycle-track-7.jpg
I hope to go ride it soon and I'm sceptical, but the above comment is slightly misleading. That crossing is outside the cathedral gate and yes, there's a school in there but it's scattered throughout the grounds and the thousand pupils exit through all the gates.

The track they've built looks somewhat more subtle than the consultation version http://www.norwich.gov.uk/TransportAndStreets/Transport/Cycling/Pages/Tombland.aspx and I feel probably it is too subtle and easily mistaken for footway. At least the speed bumps and pedal-catchers appear to have gone and it looks better in minor ways than some old rubbish Norwich used to build: it's wider and looks like it has fewer places where debris or standing water will gather.

I broadly agree with Norwich Cycling Campaign and I think my consultation response (KLWNBUG sometimes rides to/from Norwich, I used to live there and still visit often, so I was interested) was similar to theirs. It's really annoying that the budget for this section has ballooned from £360k to £974k, but it's still not as good as what NorCyC were suggesting (cycle lanes each side along what I think is the desire line to/from Magdalen Street along Wensum Street, with some protection) and some really useful cheaper parts of the cycling city ambition project - such as simplifying cycling through the pedestrian zones - have been cut to pay for it.

I suspect part of the problem arises from wanting the Pink route to connect to https://goo.gl/maps/o5z6KDvqRe32 its pathetic eastern crossing of the inner ring road, which looks like a third-class attempt to avoid sending a third route up Magdalen Street and then maybe having to improve part of the A1151 for cycling at last, to give people a decent route out!
 

rdfcyclist

Well-Known Member
Location
Norwich
Didn't even notice the cycle path when I went past earlier, I was focused on drafting the bus in front of me. Seems very expensive for what the council have accomplished here.
 

mjr

Comfy armchair to one person & a plank to the next
I cycled on the road and didn't notice the existence or need for that cycle path.
I think the only route where you notice and feel the need for it is if you're riding in along Palace Street and turning left up Tombland, when you naturally get guided onto it and it allows you to pass any queuing motorists and use a demand-activated crossing into Princes Street. That is the westbound signposted Pink route, and Pink route is the project grant paying for this, but I don't think it's the main desire line - if they've got the route naming correct, then the main desire line should be National Route 1 between Princes Street and King Street, which is only part-served in one direction by this cycle track!

And worse, heading east on Pink, it looks like it may misdirect you onto the wrong side of Palace Street, or suggest you cross at a rather iffy point. I'll know more when I've tried it.
 

mjr

Comfy armchair to one person & a plank to the next
OK, I went and took a look last night. I didn't have time to cycle it before Norwich Cycling Campaign's AGM and it was raining afterwards so I went straight home instead.

Here it is. It was very quiet on the road by 7pm, much quieter than I remember it - probably because you cannot enter the city centre from St Stephens or St Giles any more, and by the time you've driven around to St Benedicts, you might as well keep on using the inner ring road rather than drive along it, Charing Cross, St Andrews and up to Anglia House and back, with all its traffic lights.

As it was quiet, most cyclists I saw preferred to use the smooth new tarmac instead. I got bored waiting for a cyclist to use the track!
IMG_20151116_191526.jpg

Now that is a piece of art, a hidden cycle path with a beach thrown in. How abstract.
The sand is only around the cycle parking stands and the bottoms of the stands are visible, so I'm wondering if it's going to be paved at a level between cycle track and footway. Given the vociferous abuse in the local media, I'm not surprised if they've chosen to open it when there's still some work to finish in less-used areas.

I can't think of a worse surface to cycle on, block paviers must be the worst surface for grip in the wet short of cobblestones. :cursing:
They're not block paviers as I understand them (like we have on some streets in King's Lynn) but more a sort of smoothly-abutting mini paving slabs - except for where it joins the road or the footway crosses it, where they do feel like paviers. I'm not sure about grip either, but they're probably going to be better than the cobbled slope of Princes Street.

I think it is too subtle. Most people were walking on it, apparently unaware it's a cycle track. Norwich has form for this, with this camouflaged cycle track on the north end of St Peters Street:
IMG_20151116_182638.jpg
because, you know, colouring the surface red would look ugly when you're taking a photo of the 1930s City Hall uphill and can't see it. :rolleyes: The main failure of that one is that many people seem to fail to spot the right turn into Upper Goat Lane and continue cycling contraflow out of St Giles, which is prohibited on that stretch.

My suspicions about the Palace Street end are correct. There's this far-too-subtle paving slab sign for eastbound traffic, telling you to ride out into traffic. At a glance, I think you could easily mistake the non-regulation arrow for a "straight ahead" one and find yourself salmoning along the cycle lane:
IMG_20151116_191732.jpg

I spotted two changes from the consultation design: firstly, the south end of the track is a bit of a sweeping bend and should cause less conflict that merging back into the carriageway blind; secondly, there's this little filter/escape lane if you're coming from Wensum Street and want to use the cycle-only traffic light to continue uphill into Princes Street:
IMG_20151116_191703.jpg

As far as I could tell without riding it, the surface seems flat/smooth (as much as paving slabs ever are) and the kerbs feel flush, which Norfolk usually fails to do. It's early days but hopefully at this price, they won't settle unevenly!

There are some videos coming from Norwich Cycling Campaign about the Pink Pedalway - one was previewed at the AGM and I'll post it once it's finished and uploaded somewhere. While Tombland is a lot of money for not much, there's worse elsewhere IMO and it has to be seen to be believed.
 
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mjr

Comfy armchair to one person & a plank to the next
That makes the £1 million per km that the Leeds / Bradford Cycle Super Highway is costing seem positively frugal, doesn't it?
Not really. The overall cost for the Pink Pedalway is £5.7m for 8 miles, or £0.45k per km - but this small centre section budget trebling to nearly £1m is why some of the more needed but less bling bits have been cut.

I looked up why they ignored consultation responses calling for new-Cambridge-style cycle tracks and their reply is buried in a report to their highways committee (they didn't bother to reply to consultees AFAICR): "This has not been proposed because it would be very difficult to stop motorists blocking the cycle lanes by parking in them. Furthermore, painted lanes on the carriageway do not make less confident cyclists feel safe or offer the additional protection from buses and lorries that cyclists will value when passing through Tombland on the pink pedalway. Priority has been given to the provision for a high quality connection to Palace Street rather than Wensum Street because Palace Street has a more important status on the cycle network and the width of Wensum Street, Fye Bridge Street and Magdalen Street mean that an cycle track on Tombland would abruptly end as it entered Wensum Street."

I leave you to spot the many serious errors in that, some of which I've already mentioned. Why is a council that considers it too difficult to enforce parking restrictions allowed to be responsible for parking enforcement?

For added irony in hindsight, the report also dismisses some suggestions because "this is not currently affordable within existing budgets" :cry:
 
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mjr

Comfy armchair to one person & a plank to the next
Why dont local authorities consult cycle clubs, if they have no idea?
They did, but it doesn't really matter who they consult if they're going to dismiss their consultation responses. The cycle group responses aren't identified in the consultation report, which seems a bit sus to me - NorCyC published their response on the link in the first post http://www.norwichcyclingcampaign.org/tombland-cycle-track-completion/ - Norwich City Council seems to have weighted group responses the same as individual responses. :rolleyes:
 
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