Case studies show ‘good practice’ in developing cycling infrastructure

12.00 | 30 March 2016 | | 1 comment

The Government has published a number of case studies which illustrate examples of good practice when developing new cycling infrastructure.

Commissioned by the Cycle Proofing Working Group, the studies focus on the processes taken when delivering cycling provision rather than the infrastructure itself.

They were published alongside plans for a new strategy or ‘blueprint’ through which the Government hopes to encourage higher participation in walking and cycling. An open consultation on the strategy was also launched as the government seeks public opinion on how it should operate.

The blueprint, launched on 27 March, has a ‘clear ambition’ that by 2040 getting around by bike or on foot will be the natural choice for shorter journeys, or as part of a longer journey.

The case studies include stakeholder communications, consultations, design, planning and implementation, lessons learnt and impact.

They feature initiatives such as continuous cycle lanes, new cycling infrastructure, wider cycle lanes and crossings for cyclists and pedestrians, public space improvements and protected cycle lanes.

The schemes featured are:

Continuous cycle lanes on main radial route: Lewes Road, Brighton
Brighton and Hove Council reallocated an entire lane of Lewes Road in each direction from general traffic into a bus and cycle lane. Lewes Road, a busy 4.5km dual carriageway carrying 25,000 vehicles per day, has been transformed into a rapid transit style bus and cycle corridor.

The £1.4m scheme includes innovative features to maintain continuity for cyclists, such as a dedicated cycle bypass at traffic lights, an early start signal for cyclists and ‘floating’ bus stops (pictured) where cyclists can pass behind bus stops with no interference from stopping buses.

Early release for cyclists at traffic signals: Micklegate, York
City of York Council provided a green signal for cyclists which allows them to move off before other traffic. When implemented in 2010, it was the first example in the UK of such an early start arrangement for cyclists.

Cyclists are detected within the Advanced Stop Line (ASL) on Queen Street. This triggers the main signals to give a three second cyclists-only signal, plus a further two seconds normal red-amber phase, before other traffic is released on a standard green signal. This gives cyclists a head start over other traffic to negotiate the busy junction and to make their intentions clear to drivers behind.

Low cost area-wide cycling contraflow: North Laine, Brighton
Brighton and Hove City Council introduced contraflow cycling on a network of lightly used, narrow one-way streets. This improved access for cyclists to and through North Laine, an historic retail and residential area.

Contraflow facilities allow cyclists to travel in both directions on one-way streets. They are regarded as a good means of increasing access for cyclists where existing one-way restrictions prevent them from travelling through or within the area. They are common in many northern European and UK cities.

The scheme introduced contraflow cycling on 12 streets, which required only minor changes including some signs and road markings. Low levels of traffic and low speeds meant that cycle lane markings were not required. The council chose to install repeater cycle markings along the contraflow streets to raise the visual awareness of contraflow cycling.

New cyclist and pedestrian bridge: Diglis Bridge, Worcester
Worcester City Council and Worcestershire County Council built a striking new bridge over the River Severn that makes it easier for people to get around Worcester on foot and by bike. The bridge has overcome a major barrier for cyclists and walkers and has been a key factor in developing a town-wide network of signed routes.

The scheme was developed as part of Sustrans Connect2 programme, funded through the BIG Lottery. Being part of a programme of national significance helped to bring in additional funding to the wider scheme. This extended the traffic-free network to the north of the city alongside the Worcester and Birmingham Canal, linking to employment, leisure and educational centres.

Small but crucial improvements were made to links across the city to extend the network of routes, radiating from Diglis Bridge, including new stretches of traffic-free path, toucan crossings and signing.

Parallel signalled cycle crossing: Hambrook Junction, South Gloucestershire
South Gloucestershire Council introduced a ‘straight through’ signalled crossing for cycle traffic across the A4174, a major six lane highway. The crossing is separate from pedestrian crossings and reduces delays for cyclists by allowing them to cross the ring road in a single phase.

Cycle traffic is detected by overhead microwave detection which places a demand in the signal controller, or cyclists can use a push button unit. The green signal for cyclists occurs at the same time as the green signal for Bristol Road northbound traffic from the south.

A combination of responsive traffic signal control using MOVA (Microprocessor Optimized Vehicle Activation) and lane widening has allowed shortened green times for A4174 movements, in turn allowing a greater allocation of time to cycles and pedestrians on all arms of the junction.

Protected cycle lanes: Salford, Greater Manchester
Salford City Council, in partnership with Transport for Greater Manchester, created protected cycle lanes in two trial sites, using pre-cast dividing features (Armadillos). The protected lanes, also known as light segregation, deter vehicles from entering a mandatory cycle lane.

Both trial sites were along a key cycling corridor connecting Salford to central Manchester and are part of National Cycle Network route 55. Prior to the scheme there were advisory cycle lanes along the road.

One of the trial sites, Middlewood Street, is on a section of road on a bend with a downhill gradient, the other, Liverpool Street, is an approach to an advanced stop line.

Public space improvements: Walthamstow Village
London Borough of Waltham Forest trialled an integrated set of measures to reallocate road space to public space. The measures took included: roads closed except to buses and cycles (eight filter locations), all parking suspended, roads changed to two-way working, a road changed to one-way working and additional cycle parking. Raised road crossings, a pedestrian crossing and junction improvements were also implemented as part of the permanent scheme.

The work dramatically reduced the amount of non-local traffic by restricting access to motor traffic at various locations. This meant the council was able to reallocate road space to public space without affecting business servicing, properties and local private journeys. Non-local through traffic was redirected onto the main road network. Waltham Forest monitored the impact of this on traffic flow at major junctions as part of the pilot process.

Speed management measures: Station Road, Beaconsfield
Improvements to two roundabouts and a number of side roads slowed down traffic and created a better environment for cyclists and pedestrians through a busy area of Beaconsfield town centre.

Measures to reduce traffic speeds included: installation of raised zebra crossings, informal raised crossings, kerb build-outs and tightening of corners to reduce entry speeds into side roads.

The scheme also included a central median strip installed along the length of Station Road, creating an informal crossing island for pedestrians and a right turn pocket for cyclists.

Wide cycle lanes on main radial route: Hills Road, Cambridge
Cambridge City Council redesigned a dual carriageway bridge as two cycle lanes and three traffic lanes. The £500,000 scheme was opened in 2011 and improves cyclist safety on this busy route into Cambridge.

On the approaches to the bridge the council created 2.1 metre wide, machine-laid red tarmac cycle lanes next to the kerb. At the summit of the bridge the lanes switch to put cyclists in a central position between straight-on and left-turning traffic. This assists the dominant movement of cyclists at the signalled junctions at each end of the scheme, where 80% of cycle traffic goes straight on.

The traffic capacity of these junctions was maintained by providing one uphill traffic lane in each direction on the bridge, widened to two downhill traffic lanes on the approaches to the signals.

Wide crossing for cyclists and pedestrians: Granby Street Gateway, Leicester
Leicester City Council replaced a subway beneath the junction of Granby Street and Waterloo Way with a new surface level wide-crossing for cyclists and pedestrians. The scheme also narrowed the ring road carriageways from eight to four lanes to include cycle lanes, and narrowed Granby Street to provide contraflow cycling and traffic calming.

The Government has also published its research into ways of increasing levels of cycling across the country and the economic case for cycling.


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    As a previous resident of Brighton & Hove I am somewhat amused by some of the weird cycle infrastructure in this cycling city. If you intend to tell the frustrated car drivers that this scheme is “good practice”, be advised to stand well back in anticipation of their likely reaction.

    Pat, Wales
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