Last Thursday (28 July) council officiers and some local cyclists visited Fairfax Street to see whether the road layout could be improved for cyclists.
There used to be two traffic lanes in both directions, but recently the carriageway has been narrowed. Westbound there's sufficient room for a motorist to over-take a cyclist:
To pass through this narrow section, cyclists should first check that there is no problem in moving out to the centre of the lane, move out and remain there until they have passed both pinch points. Unfortunately some cyclists won't want to "take the lane" like that and will have problems with the new road arrangement.
Moving the kerb or central lamp posts is probably out of the question on cost grounds. One possibility would be to provide a "cyclists' by-pass" like the one on Coat of Arms Bridge Road:
For this to work, parking would have to be banned between the two pinch points. That would mean moving the short term coach parking (ie tourist pick up and drop down) elsewhere. The car park on the north side of Fairfax street is an obvious alternative.
There are differences to the environment at the Coat of Arms Bridge Road. The route there is for children going to Stivichall Primary School; few cyclists on Fairfax Street will be children. Furthermore the pinch point on Coat of Arms Bridge Road doesn't also serve as a pedestrian crossing. On Fairfax Street a cyclists' by-pass might increase the possibility of crashes between people walking across Fairfax Street and people cycling along Fairfax Street, as the pedestrians would have to look out for traffic at three places instead of two.
There would also be a problem of cyclists who wish to turn right into Cox Street using the by-pass: they would be at risk from traffic turing left into Cox Street:
Another alternative would be to widen the central reservation and remove the build-out, widening the eastbound lane to the same width as the westbound (4.5m).