Tuesday, 28 July 2009

Cycling infrastructure

I may be a bit premature calling this one, but a development on the route I commute through Blackburn is looking potentially disadvantageous for cyclists. St. Steven's primary school on Robinson Street has a new building in the final stages of being built and to address traffic problems there, some remodelling of the road layout is happening. The need for something has been obvious, as the rat-run that is Robinson Street, has become mayhem at peak school drop-off and pick-up times. I come along that road on the way from the confectioners and every time I do, I'm concerned for the children's' safety or my own as there is so much going on, with cars pulling out and stopping and people crossing the road. Recently it's been compounded by the building work with all the contractors' cars, vans and delivery vehicles.

To address the problem Blackburn with Darwen Council have commissioned remodelling of the junction at Robinson Street and Phillips Road, moving the kerb line, just visible in the photo above, and installing a mini-roundabout.

When not coming from the butty shop, my route is direct up Phillips Road. Whilst I don't have an issue with mini roundabouts, I do object to kerbs that force cyclists into the narrowest part of the road. Why, in this age of supposed eco-friendly traffic policy, has investment been approved to change the road layout without inclusion of proper cycling infrastructure but promoting on-street parking? These extended kerbs in effect narrow Phillips Road, allowing parking up to the junction, reducing the view and, as a consequence, safety. Is it because local building policy restricts the number of parking spaces for employees provided at new buildings so staff will now have to park on the street?

Provision of cycling infrastructure, if there ever is any on this road, will probably involve white road paint in the form of a bike symbol with the words 'Ends' just before this newly created hazard. With the space available there is so much more that could have been done to promote cycling. This appears to be an opportunity lost. From the bottom of the road, nearly the whole distance has been 'remodelled' in the last year or so and could have had proper cycle lanes integrated. My bet is that there won't be any.

Please tell me I'm wrong.

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