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Open letter to Suffolk CC highlighting Major’s and Mulberry Corner junction changes making cycling environment more hostile

January 22, 2015

Mulberry-Corner.Dec-2013

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:

Dear Sirs
At the January meeting of Cycle Ipswich we reviewed in detail the proposed plans for the alterations to the Major’s and Mulberry Corner junctions (http://www.travelipswich.co.uk/assets/PDF/Mulberry-Corner.Dec-2013.pdf)

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.

Cycle Ipswich – 21 January 2015

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Cycle Ipswich Meeting 8th January 2015

January 2, 2015

The next Cycle Ipswich meeting will be on Thursday 8th January 2014 at 6:30pm at the ITO World offices, 2nd Floor, 25 Lower Brook Street, Ipswich, IP4 1AQ. The meeting is an hour earlier than normal, as a couple have a train to catch.

If there is anything that you would like to add to or change on the agenda, please get in touch on our mailing list.

January 2015 agenda

Notes from December 2014 meeting

Cycle Ipswich meeting 11th December 2014

December 6, 2014

The next Cycle Ipswich meeting will be on 11th December 2014 at 7:30pm in the ITO World office at 25 Lower Brook Street, Ipswich IP4 1AQ.

Agenda is available

Cycle Ipswich Meeting Thursday 13th November 2014

November 4, 2014

Our next meeting in November 2014 will be back to our normal venue of Board Room, ITO World office, 2nd Floor, 25 Lower Brook Street, Ipswich, IP4 1AQ. The meeting will start at 7:30pm prompt, with the aim to be finished about 9pm.

Ben Gummer MP will be attending. We will have a draft of the Cycle Ipswich manifesto, which has come out of the items written down at the previous meeting.

The full agenda is available.

If there are further items to be added please drop a note on to the mailing list, or otherwise let Shaun know so that it can be added.

There will be a short bike ride from Ipswich Station led by Ian Seeley starting at 6:30pm. More info on the mailing list post.

Summary from public meeting on 9th October 2014

October 12, 2014

First of all Cycle Ipswich would like to thank all 20 people who came along to our open meeting on the 9th October 2014. It was wonderful to see so many new people, who we will hopefully meet or hear from again in the future. The ideas that you wrote on the post-its and the maps were fantastic, and will help to prioritise our campaigning and the creation of some documents to present to the council.

Second, we would like to thank both Ipswich Community Radio, and BBC Radio Suffolk for having us on their breakfast shows. We had several people come along due to the features on the shows.

I’ll give a quick summary of what happened at the meeting for those who couldn’t attend:

First Shaun gave a quick introduction to the Cycle Ipswich organisation, and the meeting.

Post-its from the public meeting

Post-its from the public meeting

Second, attendees split into groups to discuss and write on post-its about the problems with cycling in Ipswich, and write down possible solutions or things they would like to see. This evening (Sunday), a few of the key organisers of the group have sat down to summarise the the information written down. The main general topics that were written down and will be taken forward in campaigning were in no particular order:

  • Width of cycle paths & shared use problems
  • Cycle lanes just ending
  • Physical segregation
  • Longer cycle lanes lead to ASLs
  • Filtered Permeability
  • Pot hole repairs – Campaign on reporting
  • Enforcement – specifically car parking in cycle lanes; car driver education, and aggression; banning of pavement parking; and ASL enforcement
  • Priority across side roads for pavements and cycle paths
A selection of the maps with notes written on them

A selection of the maps with notes written on them

Third, a set of maps were handed out to the groups to draw on where they believe there should be improvements, and what they should be. We will be soon be taking a closer look at these and adding these items to Cyclescape. Everyone is welcome to add more items to Cyclescape to be tracked.

The Fourth and final part of the meeting was a closing discussion with some of the highlights of the discussion. The most memorable remark at the end of the discussion was when someone said it was extremely difficult to know where to start with the drawing on the maps exercise as there are so many roads that have problems for cyclists, and need improvement.

Going forward we have a working group working on a few documents with this information to respond to the Suffolk Cycling Strategy, which lacks key elements expected in a strategy or much ambition; and to produce a 30 year vision similar to Leeds Cycling Campaign. We will be presenting the drafts at the next meeting on Thursday 13th November 2014 at 19:30.

9th October 2014 Public Meeting – Creating a cycling strategy for Ipswich

September 21, 2014

October 2014’s Cycle Ipswich meeting will be a little different to normal. After Suffolk County Council came up with a Cycling Strategy that tell you why people should cycle, and why it’s great; however it relegates the how, to a single page appendix. Thus we are going to follow the lead of Leeds cycle campaign and produce a 30 year vision, with the hope that Suffolk County Council and Ipswich Borough Council will adopt it.

We would like people from Ipswich and the surrounding area to come and help define the Ipswich which will make them happy to cycle in and around Ipswich. If you don’t currently cycle, or don’t like cycling for transport as opposed to off road leisure cycling, we would especially like to hear from you.

Please bring ideas of what you think the cycle routes in Ipswich should be like. Also bring ideas of cycle infrastructure that you would like to see. Photos of the good, bad, and ugly would also be appreciated.

The meeting will be held in the Collinson Room, Friends Meeting House, 39 Fonnereau Road, Ipswich, to the west of Christchurch Park on 9th October 2014 at 7:30pm. Plan your journey to Friends Meeting House with CycleStreets.

Before the meeting there will be an optional short bike ride starting at 6:30pm from outside Ipswich Railway Station to finish at the Friends Meeting House in time for the meeting. Plan your journey to Ipswich Railway Station with CycleStreets.

You can also suggest infrastructure improvements in our Cyclescape group.

Public Meeting 9th October 7.30pm

September 18, 2014

Cycle Ipswich Public meeting . Open to all. Friends Meeting House Fonnereau Road Ipswich, (opposite the top entrance to the park) , 9th October at 7.30pm in the Collinson Room.
Hello

I have just had the room booking confirmed for Thursday October the 9th at 7.30pm.
Let all know about this meeting please.

This is a meeting specifically to find out what people would like to input to Cycle Ipswich cycling route map for Ipswich and surrounding villages.

Bring your ideas !

Best wishes
Kevin