Ashbourne Road – Safer Road Consultation

The following is Derby Cycling Group’s response to Derby City Council’s consultation for Ashbourne Road which can be found by clicking on the Let’s Talk Derby link below:

This page is best read in conjunction with marked-up consultation drawings for the scheme which can be found by clicking on the following Links:

Ashbourne Road Consultation Plan 1

Ashbourne Road Consultation Plan 2

Junction Build Out

We are in support of the principle of building out of junctions to improve sight lines which will protect all road users.

A vehicle nudging out of Chandos Poe Street – Limited sight lines

We are concerned that the benefits of building out junctions will be reduced somewhat by the inclusion of additional parking bays so close to the junctions.

Footway Widening – Shared Use Path

We are strongly in support of the widening of the existing sub-standard width footway between Noel Street and St Christopher’s Court.

Narrow pavement outside the fireworks shop

However, as a cycling group, we are generally not in favour of shared-use paths which are a detriment to both pedestrians and cyclists. The benefits of widening the path for pedestrians will be severely reduced by allowing people on bikes to utilise the freed-up space.

Additionally there is no strategic benefit to proposing cycling provision in a short isolated section that has no connectivity with existing cycleways. The added clutter from extra signage that would be needed would further undermine the value of such a proposal.

Competent cyclists would sooner remain on the road as numerous side streets would severely impede journeys on bike along Ashbourne Road and introduce additional risks.

Colvile Street – Raised Table

We support the introduction of a raised table across Colvile Street but, as noted previously, for the benefit of pedestrians and not as a shared-use path.

Proposed location of raised table on junction with Colvile Street

It is unclear why raise tables have not been considered for Shaw Street and Merchant Street. We would strongly support inclusion here.

Co-op Access

We support the prioritisation of pedestrians across this junction. Consideration should be made to closing this access to Co-op and utilising the provision from Shaw Street alone.

Pedestrians to be prioritised across access to Co-Op

Transition onto Road

Derby Cycling Group strongly opposes the proposed arrangement for cyclists to be ramped back onto the carriageway to the east of Merchant Avenue. This will introduce risk to all road users and is a wholly unacceptable proposal.

Proposed location of “ramp” from footway onto the carriageway

The viability for a proposed shared-use cycleway on this side of Ashbourne Road should be reconsidered.

Light Segregation

Derby Cycling Group welcomes the effort to provide physical segregation between vehicular traffic and people on bikes. However, the group does not believe that light segregation, assumed hereon to be in the form of armadillos (as depicted on the scheme drawings), provides sufficient protection to cycleway users from errant vehicles.

The use of armadillos on Ashbourne road is questionable as they become a hazard to bicycle wheels and do not prevent cars especially HGV’s from straying into the cycle lane, they are also a hazard to other road users (mobility scooters etc).

It is a welcome that the City Council are seeking to have a segregated cycle lane and that due to the nature of motor vehicle solutions are difficult to implement on existing infrastructure however stepped paths or bollards (poles) are the usual standard solution adopted elsewhere.

Possible proposed light segregation – “Armadillos”

In addition, light segregation can become damaged by heavier road vehicles, with the debris posing additional hazards to all road users. The group would support more robust segregation in the form of a continuous protecting kerb line but acknowledge gaps are required to facilitate drainage of the main carriageway.

From an aesthetics perspective, light segregation appears temporary and with Friar Gate being a conservation area, harms the attractive appearance of the street.

Effective Width

It is unclear what the effective useable width of the cycle lane will be once installation of the light segregation is complete. The width shown on the drawing appears to be inconsistent along the length of the road. The existing advisory cycle lane is less than 2m in width and the drawing does not show any amendments to the existing road markings on the carriageway. It is therefore assumed the introduction of the light segregation would encroach into the existing cycle space rather than the roadway.

Derby Cycling group would object to a cycleway width less than the desirable minimum effective width of 2m for a unidirectional cycle lane as outlined in LTN 1/20.

The street is lined with mature sycamore trees and leaf fall poses a danger to people cycling and additionally blocks gulleys if not swept. A sub-standard width could impede road-sweeping plant, leaving the cycleway permanently littered with leaves and debris.

Ford St Junction

Derby Cycling group would welcome the introduction of segregation across the junction from the city-centre side of Friar Gate. There is sufficient space to include segregation between the pedestrian crossing island without impacting road vehicles turning onto Ashbourne Road from Ford Street.

Looking West across the inner ring road from Friar Gate

The existing road markings for the advisory cycle are faded immediately beyond the junction with Stafford Street, indicating that vehicles turning onto Friar Gate towards Ashbourne, regularly encroach into the cycle lane.

Route Ambiguity

Heading west from the junction with Ford Street, people on bikes have the option to utilise the on-road advisory cycle lane or the marked cycle way adjacent to the raised footway. The latter is poor cycling provision as the route is narrow due to street furniture and trees and it has a poor surface due to tree roots and historic cobble stones of varying condition.

View of the corner of Stafford Street and Friar Gate – Looking West

Using the cycle provision next to the footway does not feel logical nor is it an intuitive route choice. There is no dropped kerb on the corner of Stafford Street and accessing the cycleway requires riding towards traffic on Stafford Street before deviating off the road onto the route whilst negotiating pedestrians (and cyclists) using the light-controlled crossing. Derby Cycling Group would support clear denotation of the route at this location including consideration for abandoning the off-road cycle route all the way up towards Larges Street where the width increases. Removal of signage and surface markings would be required here. The footway is used heavily by pedestrians and the additional width here would be welcome for walkers and wheelers.

Cobbled Bell-Mouth Junction

Immediately to the west of the former railway bridge, the light segregation continues across the junction with the rear of the Friar Gate Goods yard which is earmarked for redevelopment. The junction does not offer access to any premises, but it is used for informal parking. The traversing of road vehicles over the light segregation would lead to damage to the armadillos.

Cobbled entrance to the rear of Friar Gate Goods Yard

Bus Stop

The position of a bus stop, adjacent to the cobbled bell mouth currently provides a poor experience for bus passengers. There does not appear to be any consideration on how bus passengers will access and egress buses once installation of the light segregation is complete. Buses will either drive over the armadillos (reducing their longevity) and stop on the kerb line, as they do today, or stop in the main carriageway where passengers will need to drop down onto or (step up from) the road.

A lonely wedge of tarmac…..and a bus stop

An extension of the kerb by means of hump in the cycleway would enable passengers to access buses at a height closer to the floor level of the vehicle. This would, however, have implications for drainage, particularly with the gulley grate immediately in front of the bus stop and pose a risk of collision between bus users and people on bikes.

Larges Street – Raised Table

Raised tables which bring roadway level up to that of the foot way and cycleway are welcome by Derby Cycling Group. They provide a physical indication of priority for active travel users across side streets. At Larges Street crossing, it is not clear whether priority is emphasised for people on foot crossing as the markings are unclear on the scheme drawings.

The proposed provision for such a feature on Larges Street appears to be more for the benefit of walkers and wheelers, as on-road light segregation is provided up to this point.

Larges Street – Potential transition to off-road cycleway

Removal of the cycleway on the footway up to this point would bring additional benefits by eliminating the risk of vehicles turning left into Larges Street colliding with people on bikes who are obscured by several trees and street signs.

End of Light Segregation

At Larges Street, the proposed light segregation is curtailed and the existing advisory cycle lanes narrow significantly on the approach to a set of traffic lights. The road lanes narrow too.

Narrowing of all road lanes from Larges Street

The narrowing of lanes and removal of segregation is a double blow for the safety of people on bikes.

Derby Cycling Group believe serious consideration should be made for the provision of a smooth transition onto the wider off-road cycleway adjacent to the footway and the abandonment of the dangerous advisory cycle lanes on the road all the way up to the junction with Uttoxeter Old Road.

To avoid trees, a smooth transitioned route could be provided across the mouth of the junction on Larges Street itself.

Vernon Street – Raised Table

Derby Cycling Group supports the inclusion of a raised table across the junction with Vernon Street.

Proposed location of raised table at Vernon Street

Consideration should be made to reducing the width of the junction so the crossing length is minimised.

Clear markings to indicate priority for active travel users should be included. The group supports the proposal to improve white lineage to enhance the awareness of the national cycle network route towards the city centre and those heading away from town should be ushered towards Vernon Street rather than continuing along Ashbourne Road where, as mentioned previously, the advisory cycle lanes should be removed.

Agard Street – Footway Widening

Derby Cycling Group supports the widening of the footway and refurbishment of the light-controlled crossing on Agard Street. The existing footway’s narrow width is exacerbated further with street furniture.

However, the group does not support the provision for a shared use path at this location as there’s currently no strategic value due to the absence of any connectivity to existing cycle routes beyond the extents of the proposed footway refurbishment.

The use of a shared pathway along one side of Agard Street which within the short length has numerous side junctions is questionable. This is a non-prioritised solution within LTN1/20 for a urban road with a 30 mph or lower speed limit as you place pedestrians and cyclist together in an avoidable situation and introduce numerous hazards with each side road junction. Other solutions would be single way cycle lanes or a 20 mph speed limit with road calming each junction and enforcement.

Narrow cluttered footway on Agard Street

To provide a strategic route, the removal of existing parking bays on Agard Street should be considered, but we acknowledge this is beyond the scope of this scheme.

Concluding Remarks

This report was compiled by committee member and treasurer James Bailey on behalf of Derby Cycling Group. We believe it to be a fair and accurate assessment of the consultation proposals.

Derby Cycling Group is keen and willing to play a significant role in the shaping of Derby for the benefit of cycling.

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