Wednesday, 2 March 2016

Whitley South

Jaguar Land Rover (JLR) and Coventry City Council have submitted an application to build a Technology Campus called Whitley South. It will be located south of JLR's current site straddling both Stonebridge Highway (A45 combined with A46) and Rowley Road. 

In the application's "Non Technical Summary" it's claimed
measures included in the Travel Plan (when combined with the new bus route) aim to reduce car usage to no greater than 65% of employee commuter travel, against a typical figure of 81% in the surrounding parts of Coventry

But later it's written
Whilst the proposal aim to reduce car usage to 65% is outlined above, the design of the improvements to the highway network has been based on the prevalent 81% figure to ensure sufficient capacity will always be available
The reality is a detailed strategy about moving thousands of cars in and out of the new development but no more than a few vague words about bus and bicycle routes. Failure to plan is to plan for failure.

The area earmarked for development is shown in brown in this plan, with the new/improved motor traffic routes shown in red:

Motorists will be able to enter the new sites from Festival Island, Stonebridge Highway and the existing access on the A444. There will be a new bridge over Stonebridge Highway and measures will be put in place to prevent employees rat-running through Baginton.

The proposed (off carriageway) cycle routes are shown in green:

These routes are full of gaps. I've put two red crosses at gaps you won't be able to cycle across:
  • between the entrance to the Stonebridge Trading Estate and the new bridge over the A45. The existing path on the south side of the A45 will be lost, its place taken by a slip road into the development.
  • between the nature reserve north of Stonebridge Highway and Festival Island.
Cycle paths frequently interrupted by turning traffic are unpopular. It's not just the time spent waiting; cyclists lose energy when they brake, energy which they must recover by their own efforts! Some cyclists won't bother slowing, leading to crashes. While a person walking can come to an emergency stop in a few inches, a cyclist needs a much greater distance.

Experienced cyclists use the carriageway instead. Inexperienced cyclists will go by car.

Application details. Reference: OUT/2016/0405. Consultation closes 3 March.


I put this comment about the planning application to both Coventry City (ref OUT/2016/0405) and Warwick District councils (ref W/16/0239):

To meet the ambition of greater cycle use by commuters, a condition must be put on the development regarding the quality of cycle routes. They must be safe, direct, attractive and easy to use. That means routes which do not require that cyclists give away to significant motor traffic flows.

In particular,
  1. Cycle paths are required
    • Along the western and northern parts of the development between Rowley Road and the path along the south side of Stonebridge Highway, with spurs to any staffed buildings, to avoid the large motor traffic flows at the new roundabouts and the car park entrances.
    • On Festival Island (centre), along the whole circumference. This would provide direct routes to the employment centres on both sides of Stonebridge Highway. 
  2. The cycle route between the new developments and Toll Bar End at the north end of the new bridge over Stonebridge Highway needs to be re-considered. The current plans show a ramp between the east side of the link road and path on the north side of Stonebridge Highway (towards Toll Bar End). Cyclists are expected to cross the link road in three stages. Moving the ramp to the other side of the link road, so that the route uses the subway with a "dog leg" arrangement to reach the "Jaguar link road" path would remove the delay/danger of an at-grade crossing.
  3. The cycle paths must have priority over side roads (car park egresses in particular), otherwise they won't be used.
  4. The timings at light controlled junctions must be cyclist friendly.
Section 106 money for improvements to the cycle routes to Coventry railway station (for rail+cycle commuting), south/east Coventry and Kenilworth needs to be investigated.


  1. George, someone has put a freedom of information request on Coventry Council about a footpath upgrade to Coombe Abbey and lack of a cycleway. Have a look it is interesting.

  2. I went to
    Coombe Abbey
    The result was
    "Sorry, no matches were found."