Derby Road – Spondon

Derby CC Proposals

Update December 2023: The discussions with the relevant Council officers and the feedback submitted by Derby Cycling Group have resulted in a response from the Council which can be read here.

Derby City Council has launched a consultation on improvements to Derby Road in Spondon. It can be accessed by clicking on the “Let’s Talk Derby” link below:

The consultation comprises scheme drawings, an online survey and contact details for the responsible council officers.

Click on the thumbnail to load a PDF of Derby CC’s proposals

Rider’s eye view

This is a three minute rider’s eye view video of the route as it is today. It is currently shared-use path throughout.

DCG’s Response

The following page outlines Derby Cycling Group’s comments on the proposals in the form of an annotated PDF of the main scheme drawing. (There is another drawing as part of the consultation but it is a detail about how to achieve the necessary width for the shared-use path at Spondon Roundabout)

Click on the thumbnail to load a PDF of DCG’s comments on the proposals

This webpage elaborates on the annotations in the form of a narrative of the scheme traveling from West to East. It promotes the pluses of the scheme (credit where credit’s due) but also highlights the shortcomings and the features that DCG would like to see included within the revised outline design.

Acorn Way

If you’re heading on a north-south axis there is a route that runs from the roundabout into Enoch Stone Drive and then behind the tree line adjacent to Acorn Way before popping out onto Oregon Way. But crossing over the Chaddesden-side of Nottingham Road is tricky and dangerous.

On the scheme drawing there appears to be a small hint of a proposed crossing going in. A quick look back at the Nottingham Road proposals shows it is not included within that scheme or it has been added in an updated version which hasn’t been circulated to the public.

A controlled crossing here is welcome and would provide the scheme with connectivity to residential properties all the way up North East Chaddesden.

Raynesway

The existing cycleways heading along Raynesway are tree-lined and segregated from the footway and road by means of grass strips. A perfect setup, the extents of which should be maximised rather than opting for shared-use paths as a default.

Looking south on the west side of Raynesway

From the Chaddesden side, crossing Raynesway can be done immediately adjacent the roundabout by an unprotected dash across 3 and 2 lanes of traffic (separated by an island refuge) or by taking a 400m detour via a traffic light-controlled crossing further south.

Aspen Court Care home overlooking the wide-splay roundabout at Raynesway
Unprotected crossing of Raynesway with refuge…..and road sign storage location.

It is encouraging to see traffic-light-controlled crossings proposed adjacent to the roundabout for Raynesway but the designers have defaulted to a dual toucan crossing. Toucan crossings are, in effect, shared-use crossings where pedestrians and cyclists mix in an often disorderly and chaotic manner which benefits nobody.

For the cost of some paint and coloured tarmac, we feel that the crossing should be widened (longitudinally to the road/transverse to the cycleway) to create a separated pedestrian and cycleway crossing. This will reduce the likelihood of conflicts between different users. It doesn’t have to be as elaborate as the provision shown in the image below…but it would be nice! This setup (from our trip to Sheffield) also allows people on bikes to cross in a single phase.

A more elaborate parallel signalised crossing from our trip io Sheffield

193-183 Derby Road

Beyond the Aspen Court care home and past property numbers 193 to 183 Spondon Road, the existing shared path is substandard.

In the proposal it is to be widened slightly but only up to 2.5m, perhaps one of the weakest parts of the scheme

It would be a bold move, politically and for a highways officer, to remove one of the two lanes approaching the roundabout immediately outside the properties. As this is the only way to go for those heading further south on Raynesway (there’s no route from the Spondon Roundabout) DCG don’t know the full implications to traffic flows of doing this.

Possible mitigation for the narrow proposed shared-use path should include:

  • De-cluttering the path so the effective width is maximised.
  • Detailing the “ramps” from the road up to the driveways with a “Dutch kerb” to ensure the extent of level cycleway is maximised to avoid the BMX track-like qualities of back to back dropped kerbs.

The Bank – Aspen Drive

Heading east, it is proposed to commence a 2-way cycleway separate from the footway immediately before the crossing of the junction of Aspen Drive – Hoorah! The radius of the bell-mouth junction is proposed to be tightened thereby narrowing the crossing – a welcome move.

The bell-mouth at Aspen Drive is approximately 20m at its widest point

This should be an opportunity to give people on bikes priority across the junction, but the markings on the cycleway show a couple of “give-way” symbols. This requires cycle users to look around a 270 degrees panorama for signs of oncoming traffic.

A raised hump and give-way markings on the ROAD would be a step in the right direction.

The footway is significantly narrowed by the proposal – A straight through alignment for the cycleway or reduced set back may be more appropriate given the lack of space.

A prioritised junction crossing with partial set back

Alternatively, access into Aspen Drive from Derby Road could be banned and access would be from Raynesway. Making Aspen Drive exit-only onto Derby Road would significantly reduce the risk of collisions with people on bikes by cars turning into the junction.

Toucan Crossing Upgrade

In no-less than 40m, the two-way cycleway reaches a toucan crossing (due to be “refurbished”) where people on bikes will be required to give priority to people using the crossing as it will be a short section of shared-use path. Add to this the clutter of beg-button and traffic light columns, there is high potential for conflict with the effect of impeding people on bikes.

The existing crossing is to be refurbished.

To provide a continuous cycleway, a signalised two-way cycle lane should be considered where people on bikes must yield and give way to people on foot or on mobility scooters using the crossing with low-level cycle signals showing the same aspect as those for road traffic.

An example of a light controlled crossing in Bermondsey, SE London

Floating Bus Stop

The existing lay-by serving the Derby-bound bus stop outside Asda will be infilled and the bus stop shelter brought up to the edge of the main carriageway. The proposed cycleway will then pass behind it.

It’ll be novel for Derby (we’re unaware of any existing “designed” floating bus stops in the locale) and certainly something we support.

Proposed amendments to the lay-by to create a floating bus stop

In addition, there will be benefits felt by bus-users. Currently buses have to rely on a gap in traffic or the goodwill of other road users to allow buses to pull out to continue their journeys.

One minor point of criticism is the flared angular geometry of the cycleway alignment – Smoothed flowing transition curves are better suited to how a person on a bike will negotiate the floating bus stop.

Asda Junction

After a mere 220m of obstacle-free cycling, alas the run from the refurbished toucan crossing comes to a halt at the very busy junction for Asda supermarket.

Junctions are high risk areas for people on bikes and foot. The level of attention given to junctions by designers is what makes or breaks a good cycle scheme. The existing walking and cycling environment at the junction with Asda is depressing, unsafe and unwelcoming.

The refuge alone is narrow, to say the least, and this is exacerbated by pedestrian guard railings and “beg buttons” for the crossing lights. Anyone with a non-standard cycle or mobility scooter is unlikely to be able to negotiate the island.

Even Ade Adepitan and those with broad shoulders would struggle here

Many routes across the junction are not even protected by traffic lights and one must make a calculated dash across lanes where traffic comes from multiple directions as the riders-eye video demonstrates.

The wide lanes and rutted surface make heading across the junction a risky ordeal.

Derby City Council’s proposal is sketched out in the image below. Chaddesden to the left, Spondon Roundabout to the right and Asda to the bottom. Red is two-way cycleway, grey footway and green shared-used.

Derby City Council’s proposal for the junction with Asda

Crossing over the junction with Asda will require negotiating three shared-used toucan crossings. It is unclear how many phases this will require but if it’s three discrete phases, one for each crossing, then it could well take 2-3 minutes, maybe longer! Many will struggle with the stop-start riding and it would bring a marginal improvement, at best, on the existing arrangement. Confident riders will simply revert to using the road to cycle through the junction and likely stay on the road for the remainder of their passage along Derby Road.

Derby Cycling Group strongly believe that the inclusion of a dedicated two-way cycleway across the junction is essential. It would involve repositioning the stop lines closer towards Asda carpark, amending the refuge islands by truncating them on the Derby Road side and making provision for a two-way cycle lane, delineated with paint markings.

Low-level cycle signals and stop lines would be required on the two-way cycle way on both sides of the junction.

A modified sketch is shown below – not perfectly drawn but the principle is illustrated there.

Derby Cycling Group’s amendments

Traffic light phases could be as follows:

  • Through-traffic (both directions on road and cycle way) and across Asda junction for people on foot.
  • Left turners & right turners exiting Asda and left turners entering Asda from Spondon Roundabout. People on foot can cross Derby Road from a refuge during this phase.
  • Right turners into Asda from Chaddesden, Left turners exiting Asda, through traffic heading eastwards

Cutting Corners

Between the junction with Asda and Spondon Roundabout a shared-use path is proposed.

The remnants of the former bus stop shelter.

It is unclear what the philosophy behind the design is here. Much of the hatching and white line markings have migrated southwards towards the existing shared-used. This illustrates that there is likely ample space to accommodate a two-way cycle lane adjacent to a footway.

In addition, the proposal is for the road to be realigned, cutting the corner off by one lane-width. This would require the removal (and therefore re-siting of) lighting columns. It is not clear why the existing kerbline cannot be retained.

All the stops should be pulled out to try and accommodate separate footways and cycleways – There is the space to do that here, but it appears road lanes have been prioritised over active travel.

Toucan Crossing

A toucan crossing is proposed immediately adjacent Spondon Roundabout.

Proposed location of toucan crossing

It is unclear whether it is a single or two phased crossing. A single phase crossing would be preferable to those making their journeys by cycling, walking and wheeling. It would therefore be prudent to make the crossing length as short as practicable.

As with our thoughts on Raynesway’s crossings, parallel crossings should be proposed.

Spondon Roundabout

At Spondon Roundabout, a shared cycling and walking route continues south crossing slip roads from and to the A52. There is no proposals to amend the “iffy” crossings (the westbound entry slip road is particularly hairy) as part of this scheme and it’s likely this is National Highways territory.

But back to the proposal and heading east, the scheme crosses Derby Road by means of a proposed single-phase toucan crossing towards Cyclo Monster bike shop.

Penned-in pedestrian route between Spondon Roundabout and Cyclo Monster

Derby City Council has proposed options for creating the space required for a shared-use path between the new toucan crossing and Merchant Avenue.

  • Build out the existing kerbline into the roundabout (which is a very wide carriageway)
  • Remove the existing brick retaining wall and cut back the existing road access to residential properties and the bike shop.

Key Design Principles

As a reminder to what cycle-scheme designers should be striving for, the following is an extract from the DfT’s “Gear Change” document.

The routes must be direct. They must be continuous, not giving up at the difficult places. They must serve the places people actually want to go and the journeys they actually want to make. If it is necessary to reallocate road space from parking or motoring to achieve this, it should be done.

A generous 3 or 4 of these principles have been considered!

The proposals at Spondon fall short on many of these design principles and require some significant development in order to meet the criteria for an excellent cycle scheme.

DCG Response Letter

As part of DCGs response, a formal document capturing all of the above shall be submitted directly to the consultation team at Derby City Council.

Click on the banner below to see DCG’s response to the Council.

Last requests…

At the very least, please respond to the consultation survey. If you’ve found the information above useful, please include summarised extracts in the free-text boxes within the survey and/or email the consultation team at Derby CC with your thoughts (Email addresses are on the LetsTalkDerby pages)

If you’re a local resident in Spondon or even the neighbouring Chaddesden or Oakwood wards, please contact your councillors and outline the shortcomings of the proposal and how they can be resolved to suit the needs of people on bikes.

Be positive in your response using supportive language whilst being a critical friend.

The consultation closes on Friday 19th May 2023.

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