The technical meeting of the Trafford Cycle Forum was held on 3rd July 2017 at Trafford Town, with Amey representing Trafford Council and about ten members of the forum.
- Current schemes:
- Talbot Road cycleway
- Stretford Road cycleway
- Sevenways safety scheme
- King’s Rd safety scheme
- Maintenance schemes:
- list of schemes for 2017/18
- policy for general carriageway lane widths and cycle lane removal, reinstatement or enhancement
- Future schemes:
- Trafford cycling strategy, with map of existing provision and an LCWIP
- large schemes from £2.047m not itemised in recent Council programme
- small ‘easy wins’ using TCF recommendations collated using crowdsourcing map
The following is a summary of the current schemes discussed at the technical meeting. More detailed minutes I’ll link to when they become available.
According to Amey, designs for Talbot Road and Stretford Road are now close to completion and they will be putting them out to tender soon. The latest designs were sent to the forum for review prior to the meeting.
As I’ve said before, I welcome the changes to Talbot Road. The introduction of light segregation (Orcas and wands) should help to deter most motor traffic from encroaching on the cycleway. The likelihood is it’ll also stop some of the motor traffic parking in the cycleway, but not all.
It seems as though Amey are trying to do the best they can with the limited resources they have. This isn’t Manchester City Council, we don’t have Oxford Road sized budgets or the political will in Trafford to do anything as radical.
The biggest issue for me though, is there are no improvements where they’re needed most, at the junctions of Great Stone Road and White City Way, and on the approach to Seymour Grove.
When the work was carried out to introduce the mandatory cycle lane, some of the other junctions were realigned to make way for the cycle lane. This wasn’t carried out as the Great Stone Road junction, so the mandatory cycle lane of a reasonable width, narrows and becomes advisory at the junction. This leads to the usual issues with motor traffic encroaching on the cycle lane.
The Great Stone Road junction suffers from having a dedicated left turn lane that frequently backs up over the cycle lane. This leads to motor traffic encroaching on the cycle lane way before the lane becomes advisory. Riding through here, you’ve really got to be on your guard for left hooks, that’s if you’re able to navigate through the queue of motor traffic blocking the cycle lane.
The cycle lane narrows considerably on the approach to Seymour Grove from White City Way. At this point, there is just a single motor traffic lane before it splits into ahead and right turn lanes. Due to the timing of the lights, the queue of right turn traffic often stretches back to the single lane. This leads to ahead traffic driving in the cycle lane, to skip the right turn traffic to get to the ahead lane.
This approach is very typical of what we see elsewhere in Manchester (Oxford Road for example) and in the UK as a whole. Introduce segregation where it’s straightforward to do so, but leave it out where it’s difficult to implement. Unfortunately, this tends to be at junctions, where protection is needed most.
Things are very different in The Netherlands. Even in areas where there’s quite poor cycle infrastructure, like door zone painted lanes, you tend to get decent segregated cycleways at junctions.
Another concern I have is the quality of the existing cycle lanes. When the mandatory lanes were introduced, issues in the road surface weren’t addressed. So there’s potholes, problems with drainage and trees encroaching on the cycle lane. These problems can be avoided currently by moving out of the lane. That won’t be so easy when the segregation is added. There isn’t any plans to address these issues, which I think is a mistake.
As with Talbot Road, I welcome the changes coming to Stretford Road. The introduction of bus stop bypasses and moving the cycleway to the inside of the parking bays will be the most significant improvement, though the light segregation will also be welcome.
Where it is less successful is on the outbound side. The designs show very little light segregation present. Amey weren’t sure why this was the case, but think it may be due to the width of the cycleway at this point, 1.75m. I personally would be willing to lose some of the width here so that light segregation can be introduced. I hope Amey address this before work starts.
Chester Road / Stretford Road junction
The Chester Road / Stretford Road junction scheme was first mentioned at the last technical meeting, but at the time there were no designs. Amey were keen to point out that the design shared is in the early stages and is subject to change.
There was some debate as to how useful this scheme will be. My view is it will be very welcome, particularly for less experienced riders. This type of two stage right turn for cycles is something you see everywhere in The Netherlands, and not something you see much in the UK. All too often, we end up with ASLs, which are far less appealing.
How successful this scheme will be is down to the detail and the implementation. It needs to be quick and convenient, otherwise people will just choose to ride on the road. Amey also need to ensure that the cycleway is resurfaced as right now, the cycle lane here is a mess.
As I’ve said previously, I would have rather seen the money spent on addressing the Chester Road / Talbot Road junction as it would have much more of a positive impact for cycling.
Sevenways roundabout and Kings Road / Upper Chorlton Road junction
There was no update from Amey on the Sevenways and Kings Road / Upper Chorlton Road schemes, other than design is ongoing.
Although Amey said they’re taking on board the comments raised at the last technical forum. I’m concerned the changes at Sevenways won’t go far enough to address the stated aim of collision reduction. I hope I’ll be proved wrong.
It was discussed during AOB that it would be good to see Trafford get involved in the six month trial Mobike are running and Manchester and Salford councils are participating in. There are currently no preferred locations in Trafford, although Mobikes have started appearing in the area.
At a minimum, it would be good to see preferred locations at The Imperial War Museum at the quays and at Manchester United and Lancashire Cricket stadiums in Old Trafford. There’s very little effort required, so Trafford Council should really get involved.