The Morledge

Morledge and Traffic Street

Back in 2022 Derby City Council launched a consultation on improvement works to the Morledge and part of Traffic Street.

The Derby Telegraph had written this article on the proposed works too which will no doubt be populated with well-considered and balanced views in the comments section!

Derby Cycling Group members mulled over the designs and were at a loss as to what the proposed works would achieve. It appeared to suggest that the proposal would form a link from the City Centre to the Railway Station.

The route from The Morledge would head west along Traffic Street, crossing over entrances and exits to the shopping centre car parks and loading bays, cross the inner ring road opposite the bingo hall before heading through the Castleward area towards the station.

Survey Summary Results

The summary of the consultation survey can be found here:

The response is generally in favour but it was disappointing that consultees were invited to make comments on the proposals presented but they have not been analysed. The consultation process seemingly boils down to “Here’s a design. Do you like it or not?” – This is not unique to this scheme.

Revised Plans

A freedom of information request was put in to the council to acquire the most up to date scheme drawings. Click on the thumbnails to open up a PDF of each drawing.

Click on the picture to open up the plan along The Morledge
Click on the picture to open up the plan along Traffic Street

The revised plans are little more detailed, but there does not appear to be much in the way of change from the consultation drawing.

There is a welcome amendment with a skewed crossing over a side access road which is covered later in this article.

Works Complete

Fast forward a few years and, as announced in an article in the Derby Telegraph, the improvement works adjacent to the bus station and parts of the Morledge are largely complete.

Camera in hand, we’ve been down to have a peek ouselves.

Blue Badge Bays

Starting with the non-cycling bits. Located in a remote dark area under a disused multistory car park, and fed by their very own slip road are just six car parking bays for blue badge holders.

Such decadence

Accessed on foot by means of two signal-controlled crossings which will be almost exclusively used by blue badge holders. There’s nothing else to access as you head towards the inner ring road.

Signal-controlled crossing for the occupants of 6 cars

Despite the road leading to nowhere (for the active traveller at least) half a dozen chaps were witnessed using this route on foot.

A road to nowhere…nowhere safe for pedestrians at least.

Wondering where they were headed, they walked past the parked cars in the bays and made their way across the ring road where there are no safe signal-controlled crossings.

No safe-crossing facilities on this side

The six bays replace the six bays that were there before. Blue badge holders drive a lap of the now-closed car park before accessing the bays via this access road.

Access for All?

Beg Buttons

Touch-free variants of beg buttons have been appearing at various spots around the city. Some appear to be malfunctioning and immediately reactivate after every cycle as if there was someone constantly pushing the button. A sticker covering the sensor perhaps? Anyhow, it benefits the active traveller so don’t be telling the council!

Touch-free beg buttons (Complete with cupped begging hand)

Priority Paving

On the consultation drawing it was proposed to have a little uncontrolled crossing immediately before the ramp down to a carpark at a right angle to the access road. Derby Cycling Group commented that the desire line would be directly across the junction on a skew with the road and that paving should reflect that. Additionally the updates to the highway code at the time of consultation established the priorities for pedestrians crossing side streets. It appears our ideas were listened to and have been adopted. Hurrah!

Priority Paving across an access road

Cycle Super Highway

Not shown on the latest drawings, surprisingly, but daubed in red tarmac and with central lines down the middle there’s a majestic two-way segregated cycle super highway. How very fancy you might say.

Segregated Cycle way viewed from the inner ring road

Not so fast. Unfortunately, as this very short video illustrates, it’s less than 100m long and has poor (well, is completely absent of) connections at each end.

Fasten your seat belts

At the city-centre end, the segregated route ends abruptly at a traffic light column and is also in the vicinity of another lighting column. A postage-stamp sized paving slab indicates it is now a shared-used path. Continuing further into the city, this route quickly becomes congested, narrower and unsuitable for cycling on.

The end of the the two-way cycle route

Taming the Inner Ring Road

In the document “Towards a new vision for Derby city centre” there’s references made to taming the inner ring road. It’s a wild beast, with dual carriageways that are up to 4 lanes wide in each direction. It’s unattractive to walk along and slow to cross, requiring two-phases at signal-controlled crossings.

Unfortunately this scheme does nothing towards achieving said taming – The 4 lanes remain untouched.

Four lane free-for-all

The sub-standard refuge remains as it was. It’s cramped enough to negotiate when alone with a bike, but it is a very well-used crossing and it’s rare to not have company.

The tight confines of a well-used refuge.

Traffic Street

The consultation drawings included widening the pavement and upgrading the crossings along Traffic Street. However, the number of updated design drawings we received was one short and there is no sign of any works currently taking place. Perhaps an indication those works are being phased or have been shelved altogether.

Riding the gauntlet

Final Thoughts

It’s difficult to know what the scheme set out to achieve. It has resolved a pinch point on the footway around one of the car park’s supporting columns, but the general condition of the paving in the area did not warrant a rip out and relay.

Pavement has been widened around this column base

With regards to the short section of cycle way, unless there’s planned connections in the pipeline, this is another example of the designers not understanding how the final layout will function for people. Cycle ways should be designed by those who use them.

If the strategic aims aims are absent and the attention to detail lacking, the final product is almost certainly likely to fail.

For the amount of work carried out here, the overall net gain is minimal.

Membership

Like what you’ve read? Please consider signing up to become a member of Derby Cycling Group. It’s free of charge and you’ll add strength to our voice for achieving better cycling provision in Derby.

Get Involved – Derby Cycling Group

2 comments

  1. Doesn’t seem like a lot of improvement for the time/money spent.

    Derby Theatre is in receipt of £10 million for improvements and at the Marketing Derby Event on Tuesday they spoke about leveraging that to get more funding. It may be worth speaking to them as an obvious improvement would be to have an entrance fronting out on to Traffic Street with good access for pedestrians and cyclists.

    1. Thanks for the comment, Paul. We agree that there’s very little marked improvement at all and with very little use, the cycle lanes will just collect detritus.

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