Monday, 2 January 2012

Hales Street - One Way!

No entry signs have been erected on the Whittle Arch end of Hales Street.

Temporary Traffic Regulation Orders have been issued prohibiting riding and driving westwards along Hales Street between the Arches and Bishop Street. A taxi rank has been marked in Hales Street.

Yet back in March 2011 proposed Traffic Regulation Order were on view as follows:

City of Coventry (City Centre) (No. 1) (Prohibition of Driving, One Way, Variation and Revocation) Order 2011

  1. This order shall come into operation [...]
    1. In this order
    2. reference [...]
    3. "Pedal Cycle" has the same meaning as in Regulation 4 of the Traffic Signs Regulations and General Directions 2002
    4. [...]
  2. Save as provided in Articles 4, 5, and 6 of this Order, no person shall ride or drive [...] any vehicle on the lengths of road specified in the first column of the Second Schedule to this Order other than in the direction specified in the second column and at the times specified in the third column of the said Schedule.
  3. Nothing in Article 3 of this Order shall apply to any vehicle listed in the First Schedule to this Order
  4. [...]

First Schedule

Nothing in Article 3 of this Order shall apply to any
  1. Pedal Cycle
  2. vehicle being used for police, fire or ambulance service [...]
  3. [...]

Second Schedule

Length of Road Direction Times
[...] [...] [...]
Hales Street between its junction with Bishop Street and its junction with Trinity Street Eastbound All Times
[...] [...] [...]
[...] shows where irrelevant text has been omitted .
I'm no lawyer but I'm pretty sure that the original text meant that most vehicles were to be prohibited from travelling westbound on Hales Street.  Exceptions were for emergency services responding to emergencies and for pedal cycles.

Before Christmas I telephoned the council's traffic management department concerning the issue.

I was told that the Traffic Regulation Order hadn't been brought into force yet as the council wanted to allow time for the issues to be fully debated. It was thought unfair to make changes on the ground and then, when faced with opposition, to conclude that it would be too expensive to change things. Nevertheless the Traffic Regulation Order had been passed by various committees and would go ahead largely unchanged.

So what has happened? Did a few people, after a short chat, decide that as bus stops were to go on the museum side of Hales Street, the taxi rank would go on the other side? Simply forgetting about cyclists?

What has happened to the idea of discussing issues with interested citizens of Coventry before changing things on the ground? To the Rule of Law and Due Process?

Hales Street is an important route for cyclists travelling westwards across the city centre. It avoids the gradient on Gosford Street and the heavy traffic of the ring road. Faced with a no entry sign just past Trinity Street, cyclists will choose one of these options:
  1. Take their chances and cycle through.
  2. Ride on the footway putting pedestrians at risk.
  3. Push their bicycles on the footway
  4. Cycle along Palmer Way.
  5. Cycle along Palmer Way taking a shortcut to the Burgess via the alleyway by
    "Club Release".
 I'm pretty sure options (a) and (b) will be the most popular. Palmer Way is indirect, has a poor surface and an upwards gradient. It is often partially blocked and is probably unfamiliar to most cyclists.

One-way for motor vehicles, bothway for cyclists has worked before. As illustrated in this photograph from a Department of Transport publication: (LTN 2/08, Figure 7.6):


  1. I agree - I hope this can be rescinded. The new arrangements make a safe bicycle contraflow very unlikely. I don't recall seeing any official notices announcing the change during the extensive roadworks that took place.

  2. I was shocked that we couldn't cycle this way.... we use this route a lot and it really is the only sensible route for cyclists - although now that the entrance has been narrowed into this short section of road, it will need some remediation work to put it right again! The space is too narrow to risk cycling along there at the moment.

  3. I cycle this route every weekday. I always go for option (a).

  4. I've just finished checking this with the Traffic Management Department of Coventry Council.

    Coventry Council have decided that cyclists will just have to put up with the ban. They propose making Traffic Regulation Orders to make the following bans on contraflow cycling permanent:

    Hales Street
    Greyfriars Lane

    Still we are not alone, it's all part of the typically British attitude to cycling
    and of course

    There will be public consultation about the orders, so prepare to campaign to reverse the decision.

  5. I agree, this is terrible. I've been going for option a too as there is no other sensible way of getting from one side of town to the other. It's rediculous and I'd be happy to help with the campaign!

  6. I regularly need to cycle across this junction from Fairfax Street to Corporation Street via Hales Street. I consider that it is entirely reasonable to be able to cycle the whole route, without being expected to dismount.

    I am not happy with option a - riding against the traffic flow in Hale Street - so I ride on the footpath, taking care to show consideration to pedestrians, which I suppose is option b.

  7. Colin Knight (who is pretty high up in the Directorate of City
    Services and Development) said at a meeting of the Cycle Users' Consultation Group on 25 January 2011 that "options for contraflow provision on Hales Street would be explored, although [...] budgets and timescales for achieving this would be limited."

    I emailed Cllr Allan Andrews (cc'd to Cllr Lindsley Harvard & Colin Knight) on 1 Feb, making arguments in support of contraflow working, in the hope that the idea would be taken more seriously.

    The council's traffic engineers are worried about taxis illegally waiting on Hales Street if there is no taxi rank. But does the rank need to be so long as to make contraflow cycling dangerous?

  8. I have started an e-petition on Coventry City Council's website to ask them to reinstate the cycle path along Gales Street at:

    Please feel free to sign the petition and let anyone else you know sign it who feels that the council has made a mistake by removing the old cycle lane.

  9. Good idea Neil, I'll publicise the petition on the Coventry Cycling Camapaign monthly newsletter out next week.

    I've been holding back a bit as Colin Knight did say they were looking at what could be done for cyclists, the council hasn't dug their heels in; they have just overlooked us. Still there are a lot of road works going on in the city centre, so it isn't surprisingly that things get overlooked - I hope just temporarily.