Coventry City Council Policy on Segregated Cycle Routes

The planning report for Friargate gives Coventry City council’s policy on segregated routes as follows:

Segregated routes have generally been found not to work that well in practice with pedestrians and cyclists intruding upon each others designated areas and are not considered as attractive in urban design terms given the need for surface markings and signage which result in visual clutter.

So essentially, we face two challenges if we want to get serious about high volume utility cycling:

  1. How can we show that segregated routes do actually help to keep pedestrians and cyclists apart and
  2. How we can overcome the stylistic desire to keep everyone “mingling”.

I’ve got a number of ideas on both of these points, but would be interested to here thoughts of fellow cyclists, especially any examples (if they exist) of where shared – or even “co-mingled” routes can result in a substantial uptake in cycling.


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7 Responses to Coventry City Council Policy on Segregated Cycle Routes

  1. I think they are think of the usual ‘white line down the middle of the pavement and call it segregated’ approach. Proper segregated infrastructure should be physically separated from both pedestrians so as to require pedestrians to make a conscious choice to step into a cycle lane, not be able to wander in without noticing. I would say that the best way to do this is to drop the cycle lane to the level of the road or somewhere in between (using 45 degree curbs of course), this then makes pedestrians have to step down to reach the level of the cycle lane and further demarcates it.

    I would imagine that if enough room is provided for both pedestrians and cyclists the conflicts will become less frequent as cyclist numbers increase. As I see it, the majority of the problems with the usual white line on the pavement scenario are that 1) it is not clearly marked/coloured as being a cycle lane and 2) due to the small numbers of cyclists, pedestrians often feel they can use the full width of both lanes with impunity and do not expect to be challenged while doing so.

  2. Danny Greene says:

    It’s a long time since I visited the Netherlands, though I cycled plenty around Amsterdam and Breda while I was last there.

    Are cycle routes always red in The Netherlands when they cross roads or pedestrian areas? I seem to remember being jingled at while walking on the cycle route up the Damrak, which was only designated by being red, and perhaps some minimal signage and markings, and I realised that despite the major pedestrianised thoroughfare being packed with people, most (even stoned tourists) stayed off the red routes and I soon picked up this habit. The (now disjointed) cycle route around the James Starley statue on Warwick Row seemed to have this principle in mind when built (albeit with some awkward and deteriorating raised edging, but with a refreshing lack of white paint), though lack of universality means pedestrians don’t observe it to the same extent.

    I do feel red topped routes with some tactile edging through Broadgate and Friargate would meet with success though, as I think the current and growing ratio of cyclists to pedestrians in these areas would prevent ignorance of the routes through underuse, and be preferable to the current Broadgate (which I am a big fan of in most other ways).

  3. Chris says:

    Yes, Kenilworth Road is a big failure. Really. Honest. You can tell by the pedestrians using the pedestrian pathway and the cyclists using the cycling pathway, even when the paint has worn off.

    On the other hand, Broadgate is a massive success! Look at the lack of signage! Look at the cyclists weaving between frightened pedestrians! Look at how a major cycle route through the city doesn’t exist any more! See how it’s now impossible to tell where the pedestrian area begins and the cycle route ends! Go team!

    • James says:

      Thanks Chris.

      From an urban design point of view, I think Broadgate is a success, but there was no need to go so far that it causes confusion – except that confusion is indeed the policy, as I blogged here:

      • Chris says:

        I do too- I usually cycle through it, because it’s the only route I can use to get home, but on Saturday I was there as a pedestrian, and I watched the faces of people around me as a group of kids on bikes came through. They crossed the square (permitted, no signage) and then exited Broadgate through the pedestrian area (not permitted, no obvious signage). Pedestrians around me were suprised, frightened and irritated. I imagine these are the same people who will get in their cars after shopping and come across me on my bike cycling home, and they’ll remember what happened to them in Broadgate.

  4. Ed says:

    A case in point is the cycle lanes that go below the ring road from outside the Transport Museum towards the Old Cov and Warwick site. There is segregation but there is not actually enough pavement for pedestrians and the cycle path is badly marked. Therefore the pedestrians walk straight across the cycle path and you have to meander to avoid them.

    Pedestrians and cyclists need more space, if they were all in their cars they would need more space.

    Secondly, cycle paths need consistently marking and more regular signage to indicate which side is for bikes. Better still adopt a coloured tarmac for cycle lanes and use it consistently.

    If we took radical action to encourage cycling: car journeys would decrease, decreasing congestion, increasing health, and improving the environment. The fact that the current piecemeal approach does not work does not mean we should scrap it, but that should should have a proper approach.

    • James says:

      Ed – coloured tarmac has been discussed before, especially with Coventry being “sky blue”. My initial thoughts on this were that the football club wasn’t exactly our best asset, but the sky blue ribbon campaign has shown how much support there still is for it!

      It would be interesting to see how that would work with the city centre design standards, but I wouldn’t dismiss it out of hand just yet!

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