bike friday

Manchester City Council response to Love Your Bike comments on Prestwich and Airport City cycleway routes

In early December 2014, Love Your Bike submitted detailed comments on the proposed Prestwich and Airport City Velocity cycle routes.  See below for the Manchester City Council response to our comments (MCC text in bold, the other text is taken from the LYB response) received on Wednesday 14th January 2015.

We understand that the ‘delegated approvals’ report may be presented to Councillor Kate Chappell (Executive Member for Environment) this week.  More details when we get them.

Manchester City Council response.

Thank you for taking the time to review and comment on the proposals for the Prestwich Cycleway route, part of Velocity 2025

We where not aware that a response was required other than to acknowlege receipt of your report as stated in your email below. We apologise for the confusion and delay.

The following is a summary of the item number in your document with our comments refering to the issues raised, prepared for inclusion within the delegated approvals report for the consideration of the Executive Member for Environment:

4a1) Brooklands Road access to proposed Toucan “Cyclists should not be required to share the carriageway with high volumes of motor vehicles. This is particularly important at points where risk of collision is greater, such as at junctions”. “After crossing the proposed Toucan the route heads back towards Brook Drive. There will be a need to ensure regular cleaning of the route”.The proposed design ensures that cyclists are kept separate from motor vehicles, as there are existing shared space facilities either side of the road which are to be made wider where feasible. The proposed staggered toucan crossing points will allow for safe crossing of both cyclists and pedestrians over this busy dual carriageway.
The cleansing of Brooks Drive falls under the responsibility of Trafford MBC given that this section of the route is within Trafford MBC’s Greater Manchester boundary. 4a2) Proposed route between Brooks Drive and Floats RoadThe concern raised here is that it is an isolated route with no lighting and tree cover.

As this is proposed to be a leisure route, this section of route is proposed for directness during day light hours. The report suggests that “The route proposal should consider other options for connecting to the Floats Road section”. It should be noted there is an existing alternative signed route from Floats Road to Altrincham Road via Shady Lane, which is illuminated which can be utilised by cyclists especially during the hours of darkness. The proposed route at the Floats Road extent will be signed as an unlit route.

4a3) Proposed Chicane traffic calming on Floats Road

The route proposes to install Chicane traffic calming on Floats road to the north of where the footpath/route joins Floats Road (Drawing number 208192H-0000-001).

The report states “We have concerns that such installations can increase potential conflict between vehicles and cycles as oncoming vehicles are forced into the path of the person cycling. Previous experience of such installations are that many vehicles drivers do not perceive that the priority signals apply to bicycles or assume that there is space to squeeze through.”

Due to comments we have received during consultation about this feature we propose to install speed cushions in place of these priority chicanes to ensure that vehicle speeds comply with the proposed 20 mph restriction.

4a4) Proposed cut through at Capenhurst close

The report states: “The route proposes to change a pedestrian footway from Capenhurst Close to become a shared route.

This path is currently designated as “No Cycling” and has barriers at the Capenhurst Close end. We understand that the path is used by many of the elderly people who live in the adjacent sheltered housing.
There is an alternative route, which whilst not the most direct, is an existing route from Clay Lane via Wastdale Road, Ottawa Close back to the proposed route on Scout Drive. This route would benefit from clearer signage and improvement to existing dropped kerbs.”

Due to comments we have received during consultation about this link, we propose to revert to the existing signed route, with slight amendments, therefore the route is proposed to be Gilwell Drive, Ottawa Close, Johannesburg Gardens, Wastdale Road to avoid this path. This route will be signed and receive access improvements.

4a5) Tuffley Road proposed shared footway/cycleway

The report states: “The TfGM Cycle Design guidance recommends that the desirable minimum width for a Shared Footway/Cycleway is 3 metres and that the absolute minimum width is 2.5 metres. We believe that this route must achieve 3 metres as the minimum.”

We are proposing a 3m wide footway where practical. The areas that will not be 3m wide are where there are existing features such as mature trees.

The consultation response also states “Recommendation: That the designs for side road crossings on this section of the route be improved to give priority to cycles.” It is proposed to amend the carriageway give way markings to provide a clearer route for cyclists.

4a6) Tuffley Road – Simonsway – Portway

The report states “The proposed route plans indicate that the Eastbound cycle lane will be “protected” by Armadillos. However, we would question why if 1 metre high metal barriers are considered necessary where bicycles re-join the carriageway at the junction of Tuffley Road / M56 junction(s) but 200mm high Armadillos are considered sufficient protection when people are actually cycling on a busy carriageway.”

There is evidence that armadillos have been used successfully in other similar areas (See Appendix 19).

Given the strategic importance of the Simonsway Highways Agency maintained motorway bridge spanning the M56, the introduction of standard pre-cast concrete kerbs to segregate the cycle lane from motor vehicles would not be permitted for structural and safety (in construction) reasons.

4a7) Access to Kirkup Gardens and Painswick Park – suitable for all?

The report states “Consideration needs to be given to the question: who are we designing our cycle routes for? The current gate access to Kirkup Gardens and Painswick Park are not easy to use with a “standard” bicycle. Access would be very difficult / impossible for tricycles, bicycles with tagalongs, or child buggies. Use of skillards at the Painswick park / Bailey Lane entrance may cause further access problems for tricycles and other “non-standard sized” bicycles”.

The existing park access arrangements are to remain as Manchester Leisure (whom maintain these areas of off-highway land) have experienced previous motorcycle incursions. The use of bollards as “skillards” are proposed to slow cyclists on the approach to a footway to limit speeds of cyclists at the possible conflict point with pedestrians.

4b) Prestwich Cycleway

The consultation website states that: “Rather than taking a direct route to town, this goes through Heaton Park and along quiet roads and off-road cycle paths to create a new cycle link from Prestwich and Heaton Park through Blackley, Crumpsall and the Irk Valley. A link to Alan Turing Way feeds into an existing, largely traffic-free orbital cycle route.”

The fundamental question regarding this proposed route is what is the purpose it is aiming to serve? It is certainly not direct. From the Farm Centre in Heaton Park to the Arndale in the City Centre is approx 3.3 miles. The proposed route is 5.1 miles from Heaton Park Farm Centre to the Queens Road/Oldham Road junction. This is still some 1.8 miles from the Arndale. It is unlikely to meet the key criteria for a commuter route

This route has been designed as a leisure route, linking existing cycle routes together with the aim of promoting cycling. The route can also be utilised by commuters

4b1) Heaton Park

Opening times and safety in hours of darkness. Currently, Heaton Park opens at 8am and closes at dusk (approximately 4-5pm in the winter months). Unless this changes, the route will not be useful for many people during working days. (Drawing Number 208191H-0000-001 and 002).

This route is designed as a leisure route. Whilst it is known Heaton Park is closed during dusk to dawn, there is no alternative route proposed given the recreation purpose of this route. During dawn to dusk this route can be used to access cycle improvement along Prestwich via Whitaker Lane.

Please note that Queens Park is open 24 hours, 7 days a week.

Most of the route within Heaton Park is unlit and not overlooked. There are also speed bumps in sections of the routes that could be difficult to see at certain times.

Where speed cushions (bumps) are proposed, the street lighting has been reviewed.

4b2) Proposed route by Sainsbury entrance/exit.

The proposed route crosses Middleton Road into Heaton Park Road (Drawing Number 028191H-0000-003). This is the entrance and exit for the Sainsbury’s store. It is a busy road with HGV delivery lorries and skip waste vehicles as well as motor vehicles entering and exiting the store.

Whilst it is proposed to install speed cushions in the approach to the island area we remain concerned that people cycling will stay to the left to avoid the speed cushion and are then directed to the right – basically crossing the path of delivery lorries and cars.
The proposed access point to the island is at quite a sharp angle and the current kerb could be dangerous when wet.
On leaving the island the proposed route goes directly across a bus stop. Currently this is not in use and it is not known what the future plans for this facility are. If the bus stop does enter service a parked bus will effectively block the route.

Due to the issue raised above and similar comments received during consultation, the proposed design has been amended so that the existing north west footway will become a shared use footway with a wider crossing point over Heaton Park Road West to allow both pedestrians and cyclists to cross this road safer.

The existing bus stop is not in use. If it is to be re-used a suitable survey will be required by the bus operator to ensure that the proposed service will not significantly affect the cycle route.

4b3) Potential conflict with traffic on Heaton Park Road and Glenbrook Road (travelling towards Heaton Park)
The proposed route continues through a series of bollards onto Heaton Park Road. (Drawing Number 208191H-0000-004). However, anyone cycling towards Heaton Park will be directed to cross towards this area on what is effectively a ‘blind corner’ with Glenbrook Road.

Directed across oncoming traffic towards the bollard area.
This does not seem to be a safe design. It would likely be safer to bring the route round the corner and then direct cycles across to the bollard area and rejoin the carriageway after the bus stop.

To bring the route around the corner would have similar “blind corner” issues. We therefore propose to install cycle crossing warning signs on each approach to warn of this potential issue. It is also the cyclist’s responsibility when turning right to ensure the route is clear from on-coming traffic.

4b4) Victoria Avenue / Heaton park Road
It is not clear from the proposed route plan what type of protection will be used for the Victoria Avenue cycle lanes. (Drawing Number 208191H-0000-004). However Drawing Number 208191H-0000-005) indicates that “Armadillos or similar” are the proposed choice of “light segregation”.
The plans also do not indicate what the cycle lane width will be. Currently the advisory cycle lanes on either side of Victoria Avenue are 1.2 metres.

We do not consider that “Armadillos” provide sufficient protection on this carriageway

The existing cycle lanes are proposed to be widened, upgraded to mandatory cycle lanes with “armadillo” protection. The design team considers that “Armadillos” protection is safer than a simply road markings. There is evidence from other districts and elsewhere in Europe that these features work to provide safer cycling facilities. Previous use of light segregation (“Armadillos”) has received positive reviews. See Appendix 28 for local authority testimonials received from previous installations

The proposed plan indicates that people wanting to access the Toucan crossing to get to Heaton Park Road (travelling towards Heaton Park) will need to cycle out into the middle of the carriageway to pass buses at the bus stop.

We believe that this creates an unnecessary conflict with other vehicles since there is space to create a bus bypass facility at this location.

The bus stop by-pass could be introduced as a future improvement to this route. This will be recorded to be considered in future programmes of cycle improvements.

4b5) Crab Lane

The proposed route continues onto Crab Lane (Drawing Number 20819H-0000-005). The road has permitted parking and near the school the road becomes very narrow.

We note that Tweedle Hill Road is much wider and also accesses Chapel Lane.

We now propose to use Tweedle Hill Road as the signed route. Both roads will be within the 20 mph limit, therefore a cyclist can choose which route to utilise.

4b6) Bottomley Side – walkway to Marshbrook Drive

The proposed route uses a walkway to Marshbrook Drive. (Drawing Number 020819H-0000-007).
At the widest point the footway is 1.7 metres wide. In places the walkway is currently narrower than 1.7m (see photographs below). The TfGM Cycle Design Guidance states that the “Absolute minimum” width for Shared footway/Cycleway (unsegregated) is 2.5 metres. With a proviso that: “ Localised narrowing of footway to 1.8m due to street furniture, but only over short distances (<100m).
This proposed route therefore fails to meet the TfGM Cycle Design guidance.

Whilst this localised narrowing is not ideal (68 metres), the alternative would be a longer on road route that at peak time is heavily trafficked especially towards the Lion Street and Old Market Street junction, with southbound cyclists having to make a difficult right turn at the signals.This alternative route would therefore not be recommended for our target group of 8 – 80 years.  There are options to relocate street furniture and cut back vegetation along this section of the route to create greater space. The route when upgraded will provide a more direct and quiet link for those wishing to access the local Primary Schools and employment centres of North Manchester Hospital and Hexagon Tower from the Irk Valley.

4b7) Slack Road – existing cycle lane road markings to be refreshed

The proposed route exits Marshbrook Drive onto Slack Road. The plans state that “Existing cycle lane road markings to be refreshed on Slack Lane”. (Drawing Number 208191H-0000-007).
However, the current cycle lane markings are only 1.2 metres wide. The TfGM Cycle Design Guidance states that the ‘Desirable Minimum for Mandatory or Advisory Cycle lanes’ is 1.75 metres and that the ‘Absolute Minimum’ is 1.5 metres. The guidance further notes that the “Absolute minimum width of 1.5m does not generally provide sufficient effective width for cyclists to overtake or to cycle side – by – side within the confines of the cycle track or cycle lane.”18
Slack Lane – existing cycle lane markings
Recommendation: It is therefore essential that the “existing cycle lane markings” are refreshed to at least the current TfGM standard of 1.5m and preferably to their ‘desirable minimum’ of 1.75m.

We propose to widen these cycle lanes where feasible, in line with the TfGM guidance document.

4b8) National Cycle Network Route 60

The proposed route exits Somerfield Road (across Factory Lane) and enters the National Cycle Network Route 60. See Drawing Numbers 20891H-0000-008 and 20891H-0000-009.
The majority of the NCN route 60 from Somerfield Road to Kingsbridge Road and then from Camelia Road to Queens Park is unlit and is not overlooked by any residential housing

The design team can confirm that this is the case. The proposed route is designed for leisure proposes and is considered the proposals will make the situation no worse than existing.

4b9) Rochdale Road / Queens Road – back onto the roadside of the bus stop

The proposed route from Rochdale Road onto Queens Road appears to be changing the current footway/cycleway that travels behind the bus stop. (Drawing Number 208191H-0000-010) See photographs below. Whilst the current facility is not of a high standard, the proposed solution would appear to direct people on bicycles back onto the carriageway on the far side of the bus stop layby. Given the traffic volume on Queens Road this would mean that frequently the person cycling will be sandwiched between a parked bus / or a bus attempting to pull in/out of the bus stop and lorries / vehicles on the carriageway There will also be vehicles entering and exiting Silchester Drive at peak times to drop off and pick up students studying at the nearby college.
The plans do not indicate any protection at this location and the need for buses to access the bus stop would make segregation difficult with this proposed design.

We do not believe that this is an acceptable design.

Recommendation: This section of the route needs to be reconsidered.

Due to these and other issues raised we are looking into alternative options for this route. This section, once a detailed review has taken place may form a future delegated approvals report.

4b10) How do people cycling towards Heaton Park access the route to Queens park?

According to the proposed route (Drawing Number 208191H-0000-010) there is no provision for people cycling back towards Heaton Park once they have crossed over Rochdale Road.

Alternatively, if they cross back over to the north bound route and attempt to use the on-carriageway facility they would find themselves cycling towards an oncoming bus attempting to access the bus stop!

Recommendation: The proposed design needs to provide a safe route that people are able to use to cycle to Heaton Park after crossing Rochdale Road or provide a safe route to rejoin the proposed route from Rochdale Road to Queens Road.

Due to these and other issues raised we are looking into alternative options for this route. This section once a detailed review has taken place may form a future delegated approvals report.

4b11) Shared footway / cycleway and Accident Reduction Zone sign.

The route continues past Signal Drive and appears to rejoin the existing shared pathway/cycleway. However, the effective width of this route has been reduced to 1.1 metres by an ‘Accident Reduction Zone’ sign and posts.
The TfGM Cycle Design guidance states that the absolute minimum for an unsegregated shared footway/cycleway is 2.5 metres.

We would expect this signpost to be relocated should this element of the proposed scheme go ahead.

Due to these and other issues raised we are looking into alternative options for this route. This section, once a detailed review has taken place may form a future delegated approvals report.

4b12) Queens Road / Oldham Road junction

The proposed route finishes at the junction of Queens Road and Oldham Road. (Drawing Number: 208191H-0000-011).

The proposed plan shows that the only ‘protection’ provided will be 4-5 Armadillos at the corner pinch point and that a ‘green paint’ cycle lane will direct people cycling towards the middle lane of a three lane carriageway as well as having traffic feed in from the right hand side of a “feeder loop”. The photographs below show the layout of this junction.

Then Traffic fans out into lanes
Plus vehicles using the “loop” to be able to access Oldham Road
We believe that the current design for this junction is dangerous and unacceptable on any route but particularly on a Velocity route.

Due to these and other issues raised we are looking into alternative options for this route. This section, once a detailed review has taken place may form a future delegated approvals report.

4b13) not utilised by Manchester Friends of the Earth

[Ed, Yep, we were tired by this point!]

4b14) Conclusions on Prestwich Route

Recommendation: This scheme should focus on delivering a high-quality leisure / recreational / commute route from Queens Park to Heaton Park. People living in the housing areas opposite Queens Park would be able to access this route via the Toucan crossing Rochdale Road near the Lathbury Road junction. The current designs for Queens Road should be abandoned.
The scheme should revisit the designs for the Collyhurst Road route towards Victoria and the City Centre.

We are promoting this route as a suggested i.e. a recreational route. The current designs for Queens Road are being examined and reported in the future.
The section along Collyhurst Road is a future aspiration subject to funding and redevelopment within this area.


Vélocity 2025 – creating a city fit for the future: a healthy, safe, sustainable city that people want to live and work in.