A46 Stoneleigh Junction: Apparent Movement by WCC

We have previously written on the dangerous and outdated plans WCC has designed for the upcoming A46 Stoneleigh project, which I use on a daily basis to commute from Leamington to the University of Warwick (see here, here and here).

There were other critical voices and Cycleways, the Warwickshire lobbying group for cycling safety, was invited to present its views on the design of the junction that is supposed to look something like this (disclosure: I am a member of Cycleways):

Cycleways members Andy and Rodney have shared that WCC has apparently taken the criticism it has received into consideration:

[We] had a meeting today (1st Sep) with Cllr Jeff Clarke, the transport portfolio holder, my local Cllr Bill Gifford, and 3 officers working on the A46 scheme.

We had come prepared with policy quotes, technical standards and grim determination – all not needed.

They presented us with a plan showing:

  • The number of lanes reduced from 3 to 2 on entry and on the gyratory
  • Off-road cycle/pedestrian paths on both sides
  • Signal controlled crossing or toucan on all 4 arms

To what extent these changes result from the comments they have received at the exhibition and survey we will never know but well done to all who contributed.  We gave them as much encouragement as possible for the new plan and sought assurance that these signals would not disappear.   They almost promised and with 2 councillors present I don’t think they could back track on this.

We suggested that the old road be used for the westbound cycle path as it has much better alignment and is away from the road.  (There will be hundreds of lorries a day during HS2 construction).  We suggested a further meeting during the detailed design & I think we should keep up with their timetable to make sure this happens early enough to be effective.

My local councillor has been very helpful in raising this with the lead transport councillor.

This looks like a major improvement on the previous scheme – and well done Cycleways!

The details of the design will matter a great deal, e.g. will cyclists have to trigger each signal on its own and how long will the standard timing be between actuating the lights and it turning green? What will the paths look like? Will it be jerky as is the case around the Thickthorn junction a couple of miles to the south?

I personally wonder however why WCC thought it was ever proper to present the dangerous design to the public to begin with. I may be too cynical, but maybe this was WCC’s idea all along in order to avoid building a separate bike / ped bridge for such a project. The fact that cyclist / ped safety was barely taken into consideration before the public consultation shows that these modes of transportation are – at best – an afterthought in the initial planning stages. That must change.