Leamington to Kenilworth: An Embarassment and Dangerous

I have been meaning to write this post for a while. But because I rarely take this route to get to work at the University of Warwick because of its condition and design, I haven’t had the chance to document the most direct connection between Leamington and Kenilworth.

The A452 is a relatively busy road as it connects not only to Kenilworth, but also to the A46 towards the University of Warwick and Coventry. For cyclists and pedestrians it is a forbidding route, exemplified also by the route suggestion on Google Maps:

It all but screams for you to not take the most direct route. More on that later. My route takes me up Lillington Road and down Sandy Lane at the end of which you reach (are spewed out on) A452. Then you have a choice of either sticking to what can charitably be called a sidewalk or use the road. I usually ride on the road, but wanted to document the rather sorry state of affairs that Warwickshire County Council has allowed to persist. Which also puts off non-experienced cyclists or families from an outing along this route.

Some impressions and some commentary:

Clearly inadequate facilities for really anyone. I shudder to think about hte prospects of a a wheelchair user. Lawsuit anyone?

We then head to what is one of the shortest bike paths – all of 80m or so.

And as quickly as it began … it ends again.

More evidence of lack of care / maintenance / thought about maintenance. 

We then come to the most problematic bit, the Thickthorn Roundabout. This is what you get:

To the right of the picture is the approach from Leamington, to the left is a slip road you have to cross. A dangerous crossing in the best of circumstances, as cars accelerate through the roundabout without any care for people wanting to cross. And no signals for cyclists / pedestrians to cross the road.

This guy waited for well over a minute – after 9 pm. The situation is much worse during rush hour.

I also waited for a long time:

The point is simply to show that no one would stop (and to be honest, if I were driving here, I would likely not to do so either; unless of course a red light told me to).

It’s the same sad story on the other side:

This is on the north side of the roundabout. During rush hour crossing either way is extremely dangerous, given the two lanes of traffic you have to navigate coming off the A46. Plus, no one cares about this pathway as evidenced by a very dry branch hanging off a tree indicating it’s been there for a long time.

I could go on about further indignities as you go into Kenilworth, such as the lack of dropped kerbs and the like. But why bother? The point is that the current state of affairs is atrocious and extremely dangerous. Cyclists in the area are generally aware of this and try to avoid this intersection like the plague and have suggested very sensible changes to be introduced that are really a no-brainer (see here for Cycleways proposals; disclaimer: I am a member, but was not involved in these proposals).

I also point this out because WCC in its infinite wisdom / lack of care / lack of concern for anyone not in a vehicle has decided to deploy the same basic design used for the Thickthorn junction for an upcoming project crossing the A46 just west of Stoneleigh (see for some early thoughts here). I will write more about this project in the coming days.

Sadly (and sadly predictably), it will be depressing.

 

 

7 thoughts on “Leamington to Kenilworth: An Embarassment and Dangerous”

    1. Even crossing the A452 is a pain. If you use the back road from Ashow towards Warwick you have to wait ages until you can cross at the crossing. There’s no reason why the phasing has to be so bad – the traffic is going to have to stop for the roundabout in any event. Meanwhile traffic heading towards Leamington routinely tops 50 mph – they don’t always have time to stop when the lights do eventually change. Frightening, poorly thought out and completely reflective of highway engineers who clearly don’t care for anyone who isn’t in a car.

      1. Steve, I can’t agree more. This is a general issue in Warwickshire it seems. The phasing of lights is such that pedestrians / cyclists wishing to cross safely have to wait for long periods of time. This particular spot is made even more dangerous through the curve as you describe it. For my comments on the proposed design at Stoneleigh, take a look here: http://www.thecuriouscyclist.org/2017/07/16/a46-stoneleigh-junction-current-wcc-plans-dangerous-and-outdated/. Thanks for reading!

  1. Totally agree. In particular I take the Sandy Lane route but I am then stuck for an increasing amount of time trying to cross the Kenilworth Road (regularly a 10 minute wait) to get to Leek Wootton. The Kenilworth Road is a dangerous place to ride particularly in rush hour and when Rugby matches are taking place and when the car boot sale is on it is particularly hazardous. If the cycle route was extended along the Kenilworth Road it would be so much safer.

  2. Great article Markus, its really good to see people making a stand for cyclists in this area.
    One thing you dont mention is the line of bollards down the middle of the road by the Chesford hotel junction. This makes it impossible for a car to pass a cyclist making that stretch of road even more intimidating for cyclists.

    1. Thanks James for your comment – you are right, this particular section is badly designed with cyclists and pedestrians nothing but an afterthought (and a bad one at that). For cyclists on the path going alongside the roadway at this point, it isn’t particularly terrible. For all others, I would always suggest to control the lane in such a location. That is counterintuitive for most people though and not an excuse for WCC to design much better cycling and pedestrian facilities in the future – including the new A46/Stoneleigh Junction project (see for my thoughts, here: http://www.thecuriouscyclist.org/2017/07/16/a46-stoneleigh-junction-current-wcc-plans-dangerous-and-outdated/).

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