Monday, March 17, 2014
More than a quarter-of-a-million pounds could be spent on a traffic shake-up in two Norwich streets in an attempt to make them safer for cyclists.
Contra-flow cycle lanes could be introduced in Magdalen Street and Cowgate as part of a project to create an eight-mile cycle route stretching from Heartsease to the University of East Anglia.
Norwich City Council has £5.5m, made up of £3.7m from the government and £1.8m of local transport and health money, for that scheme, known as Push The Pedalways.
And members of the Norwich Highways Agency Committee - made up of city and county councillors - will this week meet to discuss how some of that cash could be spent.
Officers are proposing that £261,000 be spent to bring in contra-flow cycling in Magdalen Street, between Edward Street and Bull Close Road, and in Cowgate, between Magdalen Street and Peacock Street.
Three years ago, councillors looked into whether contra-flow cycling could be introduced on a string of streets in Norwich. They concluded introducing it in both Magdalen Street and Cowgate would have “significant benefits” for cyclists.
But, while doing so in Cowgate was considered relatively straightforward and inexpensive, a scheme in Magdalen Street was deemed to be expensive and difficult to achieve.
The changes were put on ice, but have been revived thanks to the Push The Pedalways cash.
In a report which will come before councillors on Thursday, officers state: “One way streets cause significant problems for cyclists who wish to use the most direct route.
“Cyclists are forced to make unnecessary detours that incur additional delay and risk, or they choose to cycle on the footway or against the one way restriction. “Cycling on the pavement in the northern end of Magdalen Street is a long standing concern among local people and members. The police have, in the past, prioritised enforcement here, but they do not have resources to constantly monitor the area.”
As part of the proposals, the two lane north bound approach on Magdalen Street to the Magdalen Gates junction would be cut to one lane and traffic would no longer be able to turn right from Magdalen Street into Bull Close Road.
The Magdalen Gates junction would have to be redesigned, with new traffic signals - at eye level for cyclists - introduced.
The signalled crossing on Magdalen Street near Magdalen Close - which officers said had been pressed just 24 times in a 24 hour monitoring period - would be removed, with the speed table kept in place as an “informal crossing point”.
A southbound cycle lane would be created between Bull Close Road and Edward Street, which would mean part of the pavement would have to be narrowed.
In Cowgate, a cycle lane will be created between Peacock Street and Magdalen Street, with futher eye-level traffic signals for cyclists put in at the Magdalen Street junction with Edward Street and Cowgate.
Councillors will be asked on Thursday to agree in principle to the changes and to agree that public consultation on the proposals is carried out.
If councillors do agree, then public consultation will be carried out in early June and, if the committee agrees to push ahead with the scheme, work would start early next year.
Contra-flows have already been introduced in Duke Street, Opie Street St Margaret’s Street, Upper Goat Lane and Pottergate.