Sheffield Council are planning to create a cycle route along Parkway Drive between its junction with Parkway Avenue and its junction with the service road to Parkway Market. This will connect to the National Cycle Network 627 route. The design can be seen here.
CycleSheffield support the creation of new cycle routes / infrastructure in Sheffield. We hope that this will form part of a wider cycle network in east Sheffield which will enable more people to make more everyday journeys by bike rather than by car.
How we think the designs could be improved further:
- The Parkway Drive crossing should be moved slightly further up the road away from the Parkway Rise junction as can be seen, below.
- The uncontrolled Parkway Drive crossing should be changed to a ‘tiger crossing’ (which would be the first one in Sheffield). These are similar to zebra crossings, but cycling is permitted as well. An example can be found, below.
- The cycle/footpath priority crossing is unsafe and should be redesigned. The corner radius is unnecessarily wide, enabling drivers to turn across the path of the cycleway and footway at unsafe speeds. It also appears that the kerbline and road markings continue around the junction. This reduces the visual continuity of the cycle/footway, creating confusion about priority and therefore creates an unsafe environment for people walking and cycling. An alternative design can be seen, below.
- This design provides a clear distinction between the cycleway and footway as they continue across the junction. The kerblines and double yellow lines continue across the side road, and the continuation of the coloured asphalt for the cycleway and paving materials for the footway all provide visual priority. The parking bays on Parkway Drive have been maintained, but placed on the west side of the road, providing kerb-protected space to allow turning vehicles to give way as they cross the cycleway and footway.
- The cycle/footway north of the crossing is 3.5m wide which is not wide enough for a shared use facility. Whilst the number of pedestrians in this area will probably be fairly low this is still a compromise and in the long run the section will need to be widened.
- The existing access barrier at the southern end of the route should be removed. Even if you are physically able to get through them, any kind of barrier is a cause of inconvenience, making a walking or cycling journey less convenient and appealing. They are especially awkward and can be frustrating for people with pushchairs, shopping trolleys, crutches, walking sticks/frames, or holding children’s hands. This discriminates against more vulnerable people and isn’t what Sheffield needs when we are aiming to increase the amount of physical activity people do daily.
Narrow barriers are obviously obstructive to people cycling who are less physically able to lift and squeeze their handlebars through the gap.
Both chicane-type and K-type barriers can prevent use of paths completely for users of larger and less nimble cycles like tandems, some recumbents, various trikes often used by disabled cyclists, and cargo bikes. They also create access issues for wheelchair users, mobility scooter users and people with prams and pushchairs.
As well as being discriminatory access barriers are totally ineffective at preventing motorised bikes on cycle paths since motorised and pedal bicycles have similar dimensions.
The London Cycle Design Standards (see page 73), recognised as the one of the highest quality standards in the UK, recommends against the use of all barriers, because of the accessibility issues they create.
The latest cycle design guidance for Highways England (who are responsible for trunk routes, and cycleways associated with them) goes further and requires that barriers must not be used (paragraph 2.3.8).
It is illegal to ride motorised bikes, scooters etc on cycle paths and if this is a regular problem then this should be addressed by South Yorkshire Police. There are powers available to seize vehicles, which are used in other areas.
It is possible that barriers like these could be breaking the Equality Act 2010, although there has not yet been a test case to set a clear legal precedent.