Notes for Chichester to Emsworth Non-Motorised User Route – Strategic Interests Workshop

I am attending a virtual meeting/workshop on Friday the 5th February 2021, staged by Highways England to discuss their plans for a Chichester to Emsworth Non-Motorised User Route.

This meeting will include approximately 35 people so each individual will have little time (less than 2 minutes) to discuss their ideas/concerns if everyone will speak for a similar duration of time.

To enable people who are attending this workshop to communicate their concerns concisely, I am making the following notes about potential issues with this HE project.

  • Reducing the Speed and Volume of motor-vehicle traffic should be seriously considered before conversion of the pavements (footways) into 30kph design speed shared use cycle tracks.
  • Down grading the A259 to a local route would allow a realistic approach to town planing for local living and a transport infrastructure that can cope with the high volumes of new development.
  • Disability groups should be warned and consulted before the existing provision for these people is severely reduce by conversion of urban pavements into shared use cycle tracks.
  • If conversion of the pavements into 30kph design speed shared use cycle tracks is still considered after consultation with disability groups, the scheme should then be trialled for several months and then community opinion polled about the outcome of the trial before commitments are made to implement any permanent infrastructure.
  • Centurion Way is a good example of how a cycle way can successfully run on local roads. In Lavant, local motor-vehicle through traffic is filtered so that the roadway remains an appropriate location for safe, confident family cycling.
  • Converting the Town/Village and City pavements (footways) to shared use will fail to comply with DfT safety visibility criteria at junctions and driveways. Cars at junctions will not be able to see approaching cyclists causing collisions. These collisions are likely so send some cyclists into the A27 main carriageway into the oncoming traffic
  • Converting the Town/Village and City pavements (footways) to shared use will fail to comply with Highways England’s own NMU standard because there is inadequate width for the required separation strip.
  • All street furniture would need to be removed (lamp-posts, signs, bus-shelters) to allow even substandard width NMU cycle tracks.

Modifying the Road Network to Reduce Traffic Volume and Speed through the Residential sections of the A259 could be Achieved through Funding the Scheme as one of the Governments 12 Mini Holland Schemes.

On 27 July 2020 The Department for Transport published Gear Change A Bold Vision for Cycling and Walking. This is our national government’s current Cycling and walking plan for England.

On page 19 the Gear Change document announces Key design principles which include:

We will choose up to 12 willing local authority areas, to benefit from intensive investment in mini-Holland schemes!
As in London, we expect to stimulate a large number of proposals across the country, from which we will choose up to 12 willing non-London local authority areas, to benefit from intensive investment in mini-Holland schemes on the same model. The main focus will be on replacing short car trips. They must be places where cycling is currently low and where there is serious political commitment to dramatic change – not just for cyclists, but for everyone who lives and works there.

This approach is championed by the ChEmRoute Vision project which aims to provide “A healthy, prosperous future for the communities between Chichester and Emsworth”

ChEmRoute Vision Logo 

Removing Road Space Currently Allocated to Cycles and Relocating Cyclists onto unsuitable Pavements (Footways) is A Retrograde Step

The DfT Recommended Approach (and Dutch Road Safety Philosophy) is to reduce traffic volumes and speeds so the town/city/village/residential centres are safe places for pedestrians, cyclists and local living.

On the 27 July 2020 the Department for Transport published Guidance for local authorities on designing high-quality, safe cycle infrastructure as document Cycle infrastructure design (LTN 1/20). It gives the following advice.

Road space reallocation 6.1.9
Creating space for cycling may require the reallocation of space within the highway boundary. Wherever possible, this should be achieved by reallocating carriageway space, not reducing the level of service for pedestrians. Only where there are very wide or lightly-used footways should part of the space be considered for use by cyclists, and the minimum footway widths recommended in Inclusive Mobility 24 should be retained.

Conversion of Existing Pavements in City/Town/Village centres (Urban Areas) into Shared Use Cycle Tracks Is Advised Against by UK National Government!

On 27 July 2020 The Department for Transport published Gear Change A Bold Vision for Cycling and Walking. This is our national government’s current Cycling and walking plan for England.

On page 21 the Gear Change document announces Key design principles which include:

  • Cyclists must be separated from pedestrians.
  • Cyclists must be treated as vehicles, not pedestrians.
  • Purely cosmetic alterations should be avoided.

On page 43 the the Gear Change document clarifies:

Largely cosmetic interventions which bring few or no benefits for cycling or walking will not be funded from any cycling or walking budget.
Too many schemes badged as being for cycling or walking do little more than prettify the status quo, such as installing nicer-looking pavements and road surfaces but doing little or nothing to restrict through traffic or provide safe space for cycling. Schemes whose main purpose and/or effect is aesthetic improvement of the public realm must be funded from other budgets.

On page 21 the Gear Change document suggests that:

Trials can help achieve change and ensure a permanent scheme is right first time. This will avoid spending time, money and effort modifying a scheme that does not
perform as anticipated.
If there is dispute about the impact of a road change, we recommend trialling it with temporary materials. If it works, it can be made permanent through appropriate materials. If it does not, it can be easily and quickly removed or changed. However, it is important that the scheme is designed correctly at the beginning, to maximise the chances of it working.

On the 27 July 2020 the Department for Transport published Guidance for local authorities on designing high-quality, safe cycle infrastructure as document Cycle infrastructure design (LTN 1/20)
LTN 1/20 gives the following advice about the suitability of shared use paths.

5.1.2 (Page 40)
Urban cycling speed averages between 10mph and 15mph but will typically vary from 5mph on an uphill gradient to around 40mph on a prolonged downhill gradient and cyclists may be capable of up to 25mph on flat unobstructed routes. There are considerable differences in speed between cycle traffic going uphill and cycle traffic going downhill. For different reasons, in both cases a more generous dynamic kinetic envelope is required.

5.1.3(Page 40)
Designers should aim to provide geometry to enable most people to proceed at a comfortable speed, typically around 20mph.

5.5.3 (page43)
Where a route is also used by pedestrians, separate facilities should be provided for pedestrian and cycle movements. However, away from the highway, and alongside busy interurban roads with few pedestrians or building frontages, shared use might be adequate (see Chapters 6 and 8). Such facilities should be designed to meet the needs of cycle traffic, however – including its width, alignment and treatment at side roads and other junctions. Conversion of existing footways to shared use should only be considered when options that reuse carriageway or other (e.g. verge) space have been rejected as unworkable.

6.5.4 (Page 67)
In urban areas, the conversion of a footway to shared use should be regarded as a last resort. Shared use facilities are generally not favoured by either pedestrians or cyclists, particularly when flows are high. It can create particular difficulties for visually impaired people. Actual conflict may be rare, but the interactions between people moving at different speeds can be perceived to be unsafe and inaccessible, particularly by vulnerable pedestrians. This adversely affects the comfort of both types of user, as well as directness for the cyclist.

6.5.5 (Page 67)
Where a shared use facility is being considered, early engagement with relevant interested parties should be undertaken, particularly those representing disabled people, and pedestrians and cyclists generally. Engaging with such groups is an important step towards the scheme meeting the authority’s Public Sector Equality Duty.

6.5.6 (Page 67)
Shared use may be appropriate in some situations, if well-designed and implemented. Some are listed below:

  • Alongside interurban and arterial roads where there are few pedestrians;
  • At and around junctions where cyclists are generally moving at a slow speed (see Figure 6.27), including in association with Toucan facilities;
  • In situations where a length of shared use may be acceptable to achieve continuity of a cycle route;
  • In situations where high cycle and high pedestrian flows occur at different times.

Plans to convert City/Town/Village (Urban Area) Footways (Pavements) into Shared Use Cycle Tracks Do Not Meet DfT Visibility Road Safety Standards for Vehicles Emerging from the Many Driveways along the Route!

DfT standards require cyclists can be seen at junctions and driveways. The document Cycle infrastructure design (LTN 1/20) makes clear that cyclists must be treated as traffic. The documents states:

1.4.6 Cyclists and pedestrians are considered to be ‘traffic’, within the meaning of the Road Traffic Regulation Act 1984 and the Traffic Management Act 2004, and therefore duties to manage the road network to secure ‘expeditious and safe movement for all traffic’ apply to them as well as motorised modes.

On roads where footways (pavements) are not used as cycle-tracks only have to consider visibility from vehicles waiting at a junction to the kerb bordering the carriageway.

(LTN 1/20) makes it clear that where cyclists travel on cycle-tracks (including pavements carrying cycle-traffic), then this must also be considered a carriageway with vehicles at junctions being able to adequately see approaching cyclists!

A diagram (Figure 5.4.) of the DfT visibility criteria at junctions (for cyclists) is shown below.

Figure 5.4.
Any crossing of a highway or junction
between cycle routes should be located such that all users have full visibility as shown in with Figure 5.4.

Highways England design criteria for Non Motorised User paths specifies…

Highways England NMU design speeds
Highways England NMU design speeds

For 30 kph design speed the Y1 distance that motorists must be able to see along the cycle track is 31 metres! This can be taken from LTN1/20 table 5-5 shown below.

Visibility distances from LTN1/20
Visibility SSD distances from LTN1/20 given on page 44

The X1 distance, back into driveways and junctions from which motorists must be able to see cyclists is  specifies in LTN1/20 as…

X distances from LTN 1/20
X distances from LTN 1/20 from page 45

Going East from Emsworth roundabout to Westgate (the Orchard Street roundabout in Chichester) there are 214 vehicle exits. Therefore these visibility issues present a significant concern.

Design Criteria for the Inappropriately Applied CD143 Specification (for Non Motorised Routes) Can Not be Met because the Highway is Too Narrow

Even without considering street furniture like traffic lights and lamp-posts, the highway space available on the A259 is not wide enough to carry even a single shared use cycle-track meeting Highways England’s own CD143 standard!

CD143 specifies that NMU tracks where walking is permitted must be separated from the highway by a “separation strip”. It states that:

E/1.2.1 On walking routes, the separation from the carriageway should be at least 1.5 metres or 0.5 metres on roads with speed limits of 40 mph or less.

According to specification CD143, paths that allow walking must provide widths as specified in the table below.

Widths for walking routes shall be in accordance with Table E/1.2.
Widths for walking routes shall be in accordance with Table E/1.2.

Where paths run adjacent to vertical features such as buildings, bus-stops, hedges and fences, additional width must be provided for routes where walking is permitted. Table E/1.2 shows that where there are vertical features on one side of the path over 1.2 meters high, and additional width of 0.5 meters must be included!

Where the NMY passes buildings and other vertical features over 1.4 meters high the specification demands a width of 3 meters for the combined separation strip and pathway! Much of the proposed A259 NMY scheme shows a with of only 2,5 meters which the specification indicates is inadequate.

Street Furniture, Bus Stops & Dustbin Day

As explained in the previous section, Highways England’s CD143 standard requires tracks that are for use by pedestrians to be an absolute minimum of 2 metres wide with half a metre separation at each size from tall vertical features like buildings, bus-stops, telegraph-poles-lamp-posts, traffic-signage and traffic signalling. The problem is compounded by implementing a track specification only intended for rural settings away from housing, in built up urban areas. Bins put out on dustbin day will cause significant issues if all cycle traffic (travelling in both directions) is expected to travel on a narrow pavement lined with dustbins!

Narrow path with bins out
Narrow path in Fishbourne with the bins out

The image below shows a range of street furniture outside St John’s Church in Southbourne. Presumably the bus stop, road signs, lamp-posts and traffic lights will have to be removed from the pavement to meet the width requirements of CD143?

Although Previous DfT Guidelines were Moderately More Permissive towards Urban Shared Use Paths, Previous Shared Use Standard LTN 1/12 Warned Against Converting pavements Shared Use Paths on Urban Streets.

30kph design speeds specified in Highways England’s CD143NMU specification are not appropriate for many of the urban stretches of pavement between Chichester and Emsworth. Converting these pavements into shared use cycle tracks will cause intense anxiety for elderly pedestrians and people with sensory impairment.

Guidelines preceding the current cycle infrastructure standard LTN1/20, warned that the conversion of pavements into shared use cycle tracks was usually inappropriate. Shared Use Standard LTN 1/12 stated on page 6 (LTN1/20 itself strongly recommends against converting pavements to shared use):

Guidance warns of shared use pitfalls

LTN 1/12 recommended that significant thought should be put towards the Equality Act 2010 and that particularly the need of people with disabilities should be taken into account before considering implementation of converting a pavement to shared use. The document continued to state on page6 :

Equality Concerns of DfT

Centurion Way has been given as an Example of a Successfully Cycle Scheme! However, where Centurion Way Runs Along the Highway, Cyclists Ride on the Roadway and Never On any Section of Pavement (footway)

Only in sections away from the highway does Centurion Way employ shared use walking and cycling space. On these sections there are absolutely no concealed driveways of motor-vehicle junctions at any location along the shared use walking and cycling sections of the path. The vast majority of shared use space along Centurion Way has a wide separation boundary between the path and any vertical features at either side. The only section where this is not the case is where the path has been modified at Bishop Luffa school and this fence causes difficulties as it boarders the edge of the metalled path surface. This limits the effective width of the path at one of its busiest sections.

The image below illustrates how the effective useful width of the path is maintained with a boundary strip each side and how this enables excellent visibility helping all path users to avoid conflict.

Centurion Way with Separation Strips

Where Centurion Way runs along local roads at Lavant, these roads are filtered to prevent through motor-vehicle traffic endangering the safety of cyclists. This is illustrated in the images below.

Government Policy States that: “We will not fund or part-fund any scheme that does not meet the new standards”!

The text show above is taken directly from page 31 of the document Gear Change A Bold Vision for Cycling and Walking. This is our national government’s current Cycling and walking plan for England. Page 33 of the document displays the following statement:

A new commissioning body and inspectorate, Active Travel England, led by a new national cycling and walking commissioner which will be established in the next few months.

If these policy statements made by national government are genuine, this NMU scheme will not be able to go ahead because it fails to meet recognised UK standards for walking and cycling.

notes

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