Wednesday, 2 April 2014

Improved A45 / Kenilworth Road junction

For years cyclists have complained about the A45 crossing of the Kenilworth Road cycle path.

There was simply no phase when it was safe for cyclists to cross the west bound carriageway of Fletchamstead Highway. At busy times there was often a constant stream of traffic coming from either Kenpas Highway or Kenilworth Road.

Recently, as part of Cycle Coventry, a Toucan crossing was added linking the two segments of cycle path.

The central reservation is rather small:

A number of issues have been raised:
  1. It might get dangerously full in summer when the fair weather cyclists are out.
  2. It's the wrong way around. When a cyclist or pedestrian crosses to the road's centre, he/she must then turn right to go towards the exit. At which point he/she is facing away from the traffic. If the reservation had been designed so that the cyclist/ pedestrian turned left on entry, they would be facing the traffic as they approached the exit; a more satisfactory approach.
  3. Motorists turning left into Fletchamstead Highway from Kenilworth Road will be faced with a stop sign only a few metres into the A45. If following traffic is not expecting the vehicle in front to stop, this might lead to shunt incidents and / or motorists ploughing straight across the Toucan crossing.  Against this it's worth remarking that the left turn from Kenilworth Road is quite tight, so motorists won't be travelling very fast; moving the crossing closer to Kenilworth Road would increase the hazard of tailbacks reaching the Kenilworth Road.

The shared pedestrian/cyclist space between the Toucan crossing and Kenilworth Road is rather narrow:
Fletchamstead Highway - south side

Fletchamstead Highway - north side

The A45 (Coventry by pass) built with cycle paths along its whole length. They were subsequently sacrificed at Kenilworth Road to make the A45 carriageway wider. It had been hoped that a Toucan crossing would be provided across the southern arm of Kenilworth Road as a token towards reinstatement of the paths, but the crossing is only a Puffin. Pedestrians only, although a person pushing a cycle is regarded in law as a pedestrian. Perhaps there was just too little space for a Toucan crossing. There's certainly not much space for a child's buggy or a wheelchair:

Overall the changes to the junction are a definite improvement for cycling. Despite this some cyclists will continue to find it more convenient to use the carriageway to cross the A45 when travelling towards Coventry. Indeed many cyclists will continue to use the carriageway along the whole of Kenilworth Road, to avoid having to give way to turning traffic at Cannon Hill Road, Aberton Way, Gibbet Hill Road and Cryfield Grange Road. Cyclists using the carriageway when travelling south  avoid crossing the road at the ends of the path.

We still have a long way to go to reach Dutch standards of highway engineering for cyclists. That's shown by the statistics on cycle use. In the Netherlands, 27% of journeys are made by bike, in the UK less than two percent.

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