National Cycle Route 52 in Coventry

A blog reader sent in the following message:

The road and path from the new car park up to Tesco and Cannon Park has been clear of road works for a while now, so I’m presuming it is thought of as complete. As a cyclist could I ask whether I’m supposed to ride on the extra wide path with pedestrians or bump up and down the kerb to access the path that leads to the residences or bump up the kerb to access the path from the new car park leading to car park 8/8a?

If the former why is this not painted on or signposted? If the later WHY is there no dropped kerb? We haven’t all got mountain bike tyres and the angle means I have to swing to the right slightly (with cars behind trying to access the car park entrance) to cleanly access the path.

This is unacceptable and short sighted by the University and contractors, it also confirms my opinion that cyclists come as low priority to campus ‘improvements’ over cars and pedestrians. I have patiently been waiting to see if this will be rectified (common sense alone would spot this) but unfortunately common sense isn’t that common and I feel forced to complain (again).

Also no route signs signifying national cycle way? Anyone else on the list have thoughts on this?

To clarify things a bit, here is the map of the general area, with the particular section pointed out:

Here are some pictures that provide a bit of context. Bear in mind that this path is one of the main entrance ways for cyclists and pedestrians to the University of Warwick coming from Coventry or a nearby shopping center. The pictures are taken sequentially from north to south. The whole section is only about 200-300 m long. To be fair, the Road Safety Audit is upcoming and there is some hope that things will improve. It also seems that the planners were surprised that there was more foot traffic on the sidewalk than they had anticipated so that cycling on that path is now often out of the question.

But with a bit more foresight (or asking the users what they think of the plans) better infrastructure could have been had without any additional costs.

As you approach from the north, this is what you see:

The first thing to note is that the sign for the cycle route is arguably on the wrong side.

Lo and behold there is a signpost on the left, but I suppose it was too important to put information for car drivers on it:

You then see a splayed kerb at roughly where the red marking starts in the picture above, which looks like this:

Those splayed kerb is gradually lowered:

This is done to allow cyclists to take a left at this stage. The kerb is not overly high and cycleable at the end (but rather high in the beginning, see above), but some users feel that it in combination with having to swerve into the roadway with cars potentially behind you (the last picture shows the new parking structure the University put up recently), this is not an appropriate design. Moreover, in winter with ice forming this could be a dangerous spot for those unaware of the design. The fix would have been simple. Just drop the kerb all the way down.

This last picture also shows that what the designers cared about was car access to the garage. Beautifully done. It would have been so simple to help cyclists wanting to go straight with a dropped kerb, but that didn’t happen.

It is a tiny project in the grand scheme of things and improvements are promised. Still, the takeaway is that the designers need to have in mind all road users (even if the Transport Secretary doesn’t think cyclists are road users). There is an active Bicycle User Group (BUG) at the University of Warwick and I think the planners would find its members would be happy to take a look at the plans if they were made available. In the long run it saves costs and hassle.

 

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