Tuesday, 1 March 2011

Coventry 2012

Coventry Council has applied to the European Regional Development Fund for money to revamp a number of sites in the city centre. The council have posted artist's impressions of their proposals here. The website also shows photographs of the existing street layouts.

As the price of petrol and diesel rises and as more people become aware of how everyday cycling can improve physical fitness we are likely to see more people cycling, yet the council's proposals don't give much indication of how cyclists will use the redesigned junctions.

Railway Station to Greyfriars Road

At junction 6, the council proposes that one of the subways is replaced by a pedestrian crossing. This will be much more inviting to visitors arriving by train than the current murky hole:



The published proposals give no indication of what will happen to the shared pedestrian/cyclist route which currently goes through the junction.

Access to the railway station could be greatly improved by adding a cycle path along Eaton Road (currently one-way) and allowing cyclist-pedestrian shared use at the crossing shown and through the gyratory.

The council proposes to remove the subway under Greyfriars Road:



What will cyclists do here?

Currently there's a ridiculously narrow cycle path though the subway. This could be replaced by a convenient transition from cycle path to carriageway. Cyclists traveling eastwards would cycle down New Union Street whilst those destined for the West or North would cycle to Queen Victoria Road.

Other junctions

The proposals for the junctions at Little Park Street / High Street, Jordon Well / Cox Street and Bishop's Street / Hales Street appear cycle friendly:

Some people believe that Dutch style cycle paths separated from both pedestrians and cars are ideal for cyclists. Yet how much public support can you expect for that solution,  given the general attitude towards cycling in this country? There would be a battle over every single square inch of space which might otherwise be used for cars.  Providing for cycling by sharing the carriageway, reducing traffic speed and volume, seems a much more practical option for Coventry's centre.

Broadgate and High Street

For years Coventry Council has been attempting to pedestrianise Broadgate and High Street. Its commitment to Sustainable Transport has its limits!  Just in case anyone gets the wrong impression, in Coventry Pedestrianisation means No Cycling and thus is to be opposed by anyone wanting to promote cycling.

The visualisations do suggest that some types of traffic will be allowed:

However it seems likely that Broadgate & High Street will be made one-way with no exemption for cycles. This will lead to more cycling in the pedestrian areas, which in High Street will be quite narrow.

I fear that the recent cuts will mean that the few people left at the council who understand cycling will have little opportunity to help design cycle routes.


  1. The council has proposed a Traffic Regulation Order which would ban most vehicles from Broadgate and would also make Hales Street (between Bishop Street and Trinity Street) and Greyfriars Lane (between Salt Lane and High Street) one-way.

    However the good news is that Pedal cycles are specificially excluded from the ban. So it seems that the legal situation for cyclists will be unchanged.

    Indeed, from my reading of the proposed order, it seems that cyclists will be allowed something extra: bothway cycling on Greyfriars Lane between Salt Lane and High Street will shortly be made legal.

  2. According to the Coventry Telegraph (Sat 12 March), the proposed new crossing for pedestrians between the north end of Eaton Raod and the centre of the junction 6 gyratory will be a Toucun crossing. Thus cyclists will be legally allowed to use it.

    The traffic light controlled crossing will replace the subway - which often has a homeless person sleeping it it.