CycleSheffield comments on, and objections to, Bridgehouses Gyratory
The details of the proposed changes to the Bridgehouses Gyratory are here http://sheffielddemocracy.moderngov.co.uk/ieListDocuments.aspx?CId=368&MId=5584&Ver=4
CycleSheffield are concerned about this because SCC has listened to, and considered, our concerns and we think have done the best they can for buses and cars, because that was the parameters of this change.
We believe that the situation for cyclists will be worse.
We have done about 6h of surveys and there are as many people cycling on the footways as on the road or using a combination of footway & road, often with a great deal of invention and craft!
However the sure sign of a traffic scheme unsuited to cyclists is one where cyclists are on the pavements. The first part of this blog is objections to the proposed scheme( you have to stick precisely to the point); the second part is observations on what this says about policy and practice and laments the fact that there are no good quality cycle routes into Pitsmoor.
To: Leigh Bramall, Chair of Highways Decision Committee
cc SCC Cycle Champions, James Burdett, Cate Jockel
We have objected to the plans for Bridgehouses Gyratory scheme. We have been invited to meet with officers and discuss our concerns. We appreciate the time and consideration given to us. All of our objections have been considered and some have been addressed, eg a facility that allows cyclists to turn right from Pitsmoor Rd into Mowbray St, removal of parking on Chatham St. Our ideas for long term developments were respectfully received. We also appreciate that there is a recognition that the present situation and the proposed changes at Bridgehouses still leave a road scheme that is difficult for all but the most confident and competent cyclists see comments in the Cyclists and Pedestrians section of the report. We would argue that it is also difficult for pedestrians.
The substantive drawing/plan is this one http://sheffielddemocracy.moderngov.co.uk/documents/s15494/Bridgehouses%202.pdf
This note contains two parts. The first is objections to the scheme as resubmitted and the second is general comments about access for vulnerable road users to Pitsmoor for consideration by SCC when considering bus routes, designing for cycling and walking etc, in the future.
1 Objections to the Bridgehouses Gyratory
We have considered the proposal and resubmitted drawings and make the following objections:
We would like the Chair of the cttee to note that we think the details of the proposal themselves in section 4.5 of the report are ‘light’.
|Original||Our revisions (in italics)|
|New Inbound Bus LaneAll buses coming from Mowbray Street would use a new bus lane to accessNursery Street, instead of using the existing right turn lanes around theroundabout.||New Inbound Bus LaneAll buses coming from Mowbray Street would use a new bus lane, to be constructed parallel to the present outgoing bus lane across Bridgehouses, to access Nursery Street, instead of using the existing right turn lanes around theroundabout. This would also be accessible to cyclists, taxis and motorbikes|
|Pitsmoor RoadBuses heading towards Pitsmoor from Nursery Street would be able to usethe existing bus lane (which is currently used only by buses accessingMowbray Street) and then turn right via a new right-turn lane into Pitsmoor
Road, which would become two-way. Traffic would no longer be able to turn right from Pitsmoor Road into Mowbray Street (except for cyclists).
|Mowbray StBuses heading towards Pitsmoor from Nursery Street would be able to usethe existing bus lane across Bridgehouses (which is currently used only by buses accessing Mowbray Street) and then turn right up Pitsmoor Rd via a newly installed right-turn lane.The central reservation separating outgoing and ingoing traffic on Mowbray St between Pitsmoor Rd and Corporation St/NIRR will be removed.
Traffic would no longer be able to turn right from Pitsmoor Road into Mowbray Street (except for cyclists).
All traffic will be able to turn right off Corporation St into Mowbray St and then turn right on the new right-turn lane to travel up Pitsmoor Rd.
Traffic will still be able to travel from Corporation St up Chatham St
|Pitsmoor RdWill be made two way from Mowbray St to Chatham St/Rock St. The cycle lane that is currently there will be removed. The parking between Swinton St and Mowbray St will be removed.
The parking between Swinton St and Chatham St will remain
|Cycle RoutesCycle facilities continue through the area, with designated routes in bothdirections between Nursery Street and Mowbray Street.||Cycle RoutesCycle facilities will still be present through the area but there will be alterations to their layout.There will still be designated routes in bothdirections between Nursery Street and Mowbray Street/Chatham St.|
|Changes to ParkingParking would no longer be permitted on Pitsmoor Road, between MowbrayStreet and Shipton Street, to allow for two-way traffic. These 8 spaces wouldbe replaced on Mowbray Street The additional 5 spaces proposed on
Chatham Street are no longer proposed, following on from the consultation:
see paragraph 4.16.
|Changes to ParkingParking would no longer be permitted on Pitsmoor Road, between MowbrayStreet and Swinton Street, to allow for two-way traffic. These 8 spaces wouldbe replaced on Mowbray Street The additional 5 spaces proposed on
Chatham Street are no longer proposed, following on from the consultation:
see paragraph 4.16.
We object to the following details
- The footway at the jn of Pitsmoor Rd/Chatham St/Rock St in the northbound lane is drawn as it currently is – projecting out. We think this profile would have been installed when the road was made one-way. However, if it is to become two-way again then it unnecessarily narrows the width of the road at this jn and means that vehicles continuing on Pitsmoor Rd towards Pitsmoor will not be able to take the best desire line and will be ‘pushed’ towards the line of oncoming traffic.
- We observed four HGVs entering the aggregate site from SWinton St and two entering when travelling down Pitsmoor Rd. We were assured that HGVs use the NIRR. They don’t. We think these entrances will impede traffic flow and be hazardous as the Swinton St manouevre entails crossing both lanes of traffic. Exit from Swinton St should be a left-hand turn only
- The parking on Pitsmoor Rd between Swinton St and the bridge is not necessary. It is not residents who park there; it is usually people who work in the city. There is a very reasonably priced car park (24/7/365) off Chatham St. There is unrestricted parking on one-side of Pitsmoor Rd from the other side of the railway bridge all the way up to Wood Fold.
- This proposed parking will entail drivers opening the door into the lane – which will cause delays and present a hazard to all traffic particularly cyclists (if using this route). We are not convinced that the proposed (small-scale) widening will be sufficient to provide a ‘safe’ door zone. We also have evidence of lorries waiting in this parking in the morning before the aggregate site opens up and we are not convinced that the proposed bays would be wide enough to cater for HGVs, especially as wide buses will be going up and down often side by side. We think there should be ‘no parking’ on all of the Bridgehouses Gyratory roads. These are not residential streets, this is a major traffic interchange between Pitsmoor, Shalesmoor, Bridgehouses, Riverside, and nearby Wicker, Kelham Island and the city.
- We particularly object when enough room can be found for parking on an arterial route but not enough room can be found for a cycle lane and it is also acknowledged that the footway will have to narrowed – to accommodate the parking. The priority should be for supporting active, sustainable travel; we do not think this parking is consonant with Council travel and health priorities.
- Chatham St cycle lane is currently no more than 1.2m wide and advisory. Hatching was installed at the bend in Chatham St above Swinton St that extended the distance for cars to keep from the kerb to 2.1m. We think this was installed to ensure that traffic did not ‘cut’ the corner and go into the cycle lane. We have observed and recorded driver behaviour and traffic goes across this hatching and into the advisory cycle lane more often than not. This is intimidating as well as dangerous.
- We want the cycle lane on Chatham St to be 1.5m wide (as we thought agreed on cycle lanes policy) and we cannot see good reason why it cannot be mandatory, ie with a solid white line.
- We have noted lorries turning right through more than 90deg from the top of Chatham St to go down Pitsmoor Rd. We think this manouevre should be banned for all motor traffic when Pitsmoor Rd becomes two way.
Car wash on Mowbray St between Pitsmoor Rd and Chatham St
- At present this enterprise has a one way system: in via Pitsmoor Rd; out via Chatham St. With the present gyratory that makes sense. But there is no proposal in this scheme to stop traffic turning off Mowbray St into the car wash instead of going up Pitsmoor Rd. This could bring traffic going into the car wash into conflict with traffic coming down Pitsmoor Rd or cause them to stop and hold up traffic behind them wanting to go up Pitsmoor Rd. If the car wash entry/exit system was changed to enter via Chatham St and exit via Pitsmoor Rd then these problems would be avoided.
- We note that more car parking is proposed on Mowbray St travelling towards Neepsend. We note that the cycle lane on Mowbray St is on the driver’s door side. The hazard to cyclists is to be ‘doored’. We think there should be a door zone, or the cycle lane put on the inside of the parking bays so cyclists are shielded from the other traffic. If this cannot be done then we object to this vehicle parking (what is to stop HGVs waiting there).
- We can see why the cycle lane travelling towards Bridgehouses/Nursery St has to be moved from the right hand side to the left hand side of the lane. If the cycle lane is not blocked and the ASL is not occupied by traffic then it may be possible for a cyclist to get into position to carry on one of the three lanes. We think this cycle lane should be mandatory to discourage careless obstruction of it. Our observations of the ASLs at the current scheme show traffic stopping in the ASLs more often than not. We believe that some education and enforcement on the issue of ASLs may be required.
- If a cyclist can get into position on the ASL and gets in line with the the lane on the right hand side then buses will probably be behind her/him in the lane. If you look at the drawing on Appendix A then buses and cyclists travelling towards Nursery St will be aiming for more or less the same spot. There seem to be road markings for buses but no road markings to indicate that this route is SHARED with cyclists. And as a cyclist you will need to be sharp and strong. And if a cyclists can’t get into position and is stuck on the left hand side then one would have to cross two lanes of traffic setting off from lights to get into the third lane where the traffic would be well underway. Again only for the quick and strong.
- If Pitsmoor Rd is congested then could there be a need for a yellow box for traffic turning right to go up Pitsmoor Rd? We also noted, in morning rush hour, traffic proceeding along Mowbray St from Shalesmoor queuing across the bottom end of Pitsmoor Rd and delaying traffic leaving Pitsmoor Rd and the same yellow box could work for this problem. (Mind you SYP won’t enforce them).
- We appreciate a controlled crossing being installed on Pitsmoor Rd which will allow pedestrians and cyclists to cross over. Their needs to be a dropped kerb prior to the crossing to allow cyclists to access it (cf Arundel Gate crossing from SHU to Millenium Galleries). This crossing is intended to help cyclists turn right outbound on Pitsmoor Rd into Shalesmoor. If a cyclist is then to proceed towards Neepsend on Mowbray St will they be expected to lift their bike over the central reservation as they cross Mowbray St (its still there on Appendix A). Or will they be able to cycle across and through a lane provided for them through the central reservation? There are places in Sheffield where snickets like this have been installed. Until this is clarified we object as we do not understand how the right-turn will be made to the outbound side of Mowbray St,
Bus Lane across Bridgehouses
- We are re-assured that the inbound and outbound lanes are wide enough for buses. Therefore we would argue that the cycle lane on the outbound lane could be mandatory to ensure buses or taxis do not stray into it.
- The inbound cycle lane will be off-carriageway and has a dropped kerb for access into the ASL (marked but not coloured in red on Appendix A). Our concern here is that the front overhang of a bus could block this access and the ASL should be long enough to ensure that this does not happen – or bus companies train their drivers to park with the front of the body of the bus, not the front wheels, on the rear stop line of the ASL.
- We are concerned that there is no modelling of the impact on air quality of these changes. The change to Pitsmoor Rd will make cycling down it more difficult as there will be no space for a cycle lane. Pitsmoor Rd from Swinton St to Mowbray St is enclosed by a wall on one side and buildings on the other. There will be no cycle lane for cyclists to undertake and no room for cyclists to overtake. Cyclists will have to take the position of vehicular traffic and wait in the queue.
- This is a disadvantage for cyclists who usually have the advantage to make up journey time when motor traffic is queuing.
- It is also a health issue for cyclists as they will be spending longer in polluted air – all those diesel buses! We know the greatest concentration of NOx and PM pollution is inside a diesel vehicle but the exposure for cyclists will also go up
2 Comments on the Bridgehouses Gyratory and planning for cycling
The need to think long term
We believe that we need to consider the issue of cycling and walking routes and networks long term, eg we have a cycle report with a 2025 and 2050 targets. To meet the first target of getting 10% of all trips to be on bikes by 2025 then we need to start getting the 30% who want to cycle, but won’t because of driver behaviour and lack of good infrastructure, on their bikes now. We note the comments suggesting that cyclists are currently poorly served by the Bridgehouses Gyratory.
Who benefits from this scheme and could the money be better spent?
The money for this scheme is being spent to reduce times buses have to wait to travel out of Nursery St round the gyratory. We may be wrong but the cost of this seems to be in the hundreds of thousands of pounds (approx £700k) May we suggest to the Bus Partnership that the way to speed up buses in Sheffield is not to disadvantage one group of road users but to advantage all road users incl buses by introducing a smart card system? We think money of this order spent on a smart card system will have a much more beneficial effect on traffic flow for obvious reasons. This scheme just seems to be a public subsidy via construction for private bus companies. We know we have been promised a smart card scheme and apparently they are working on one, but these promises have been made for a long time and to be frank, we will believe it when we see it.
Why is this scheme worse for cyclists?
We recognise that there will still be cycle facilities in scheme, the cycle routes across Bridgehouses have been kept and one improvement is that the outbound cycle path across Bridgehouses has better access than the current one, which requires slowing down and making a dog leg turn. Other than that a cycle lane will be removed, a continuous right-turn has been converted into a toucan crossing (and then god knows what), and a convenient right hand cycle lane has been, necessarily, shifted to an inconvenient left hand cycle lane. Our judgement is that the scheme will be worse for cyclists than what is currently in place.
What should cyclists do?
Our systematic observations show a significant number of cyclists using the Bridgehouses Gyratory travel on footways and pedestrian crossings so that they can keep away from motorised traffic or follow desire lines, eg Pitsmoor to Kelham Island, Shalesmoor to Wicker. There is no better indicator of a scheme that is unsuited for cyclists than seeing cyclists on the pavement. We note that incidences of cyclists using footways does not figure in traffic counts (why not?). We note that a cycle audit was done but this seems to be oral; there is no paper copy. We feel we can only advise our members to proceed on the Bridgehouses Gyratory as they see fit in any way that ensures that they are safe, and to not impede other vulnerable road users.
What are the opportunities for encouraging cycling to and from Pitsmoor?
This is important for any long term planning of cycle routes between the city and Pitsmoor. There are currently no good quality cycle routes. The current routes are:
- Pitsmoor Rd inbound from Chatham St: After you get to the jn at the top of the Bridgehouses Gyratory one has to cycle in traffic over the restricted width bridge (no ETA for when that will be fixed) and then along an uphill, outbound lane on Pitsmoor Rd which has parking allowed in it so cyclists are pushed even further out into the lane. (Wouldn’t it be better to allow parking, if you allow it at all, on the downhill lane?) There are no cycle facilities on the wide and fast Pitsmoor Rd – again the priority is space for car parking
- Pitsmoor Rd outbound: From Wood Fold to Chatham St – good, wide lane, double yellow lines so no parking. From Chatham St: this will now be worse for cyclists (see above).
- Chatham St inbound: This could be improved if the cycle lane was made a proper width and made mandatory. If the top end could be made peds and cycles only that may be a benefit and could be part of a development of a green route from Riverside to Parkwood Springs
- Brunswick Rd: This is accessed from the NIRR or via 4 controlled crossings across the NIRR & Saville St from Wicker. It is very steep outbound and goes through a fly-tipped, glass-strewn, rat-infested, desolate area before it goes on past housing which is notorious for crime and anti-social behaviour. Its not a route on which many would feel safe.
- Spital Hill: This has high-volume traffic, vehicles park in the cycle lanes, and the parking by the side of the pavement is often abused and is a door hazard, the width of the road varies and can be so narrow that vehicles cannot avoid going into the (advisory) cycle lanes preventing their use, it is heavily bussed and frequently jammed with buses – because there is no smart card system. The right turn for cyclists into Carlisle St is just weird with the cycle facilities being obscured by a pedestrian refuge and overpainted with hatching.
- Lyons St is isolated, steep and in an appalling state and Rutland Rd is a very steep road with fast and a high volume of road traffic unsuited to all but the strong and confident cyclists.
It could be argued that the current Bridgehouses Gyratory was the best of a bad bunch – but the changes will make it worse than it was. So what chance encouraging more people to cycle to and from Pitsmoor?