Cyclists fear £5m revamp will make street too dangerous for bikes
- Credit: Norfolk County Council/Victoria Pertusa
A multi-million pound shake-up for a Norwich city centre street will make it a “no-go street for safe cycling”, a campaign group has claimed.
The £5m St Stephens Street revamp would see changes to the section between the inner ring road up to Red Lion Street, also taking in Surrey Street and Rampant Horse Street.
In St Stephens Street, new sawtooth bus bays would be created, which council bosses say would make it easier for buses to pull away after picking up or dropping off passengers.
But Norwich Cycling Campaign says the alignment of those bays could mean a bus driver might not spot a cyclist when pulling out - and said when they raised those concerns during a safety audit, they were dismissed.
Richard Bearman, spokesman for the campaign, said: “St Stephens Street is the most direct route for cyclists into the city from the Newmarket Road/Ipswich Road direction and it remains a popular route, as well as a destination in its own right.
“The alignment of the saw tooth bus bays proposed will make it much harder for a bus driver to see approaching cyclists before pulling out.
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“The initial stage one safety audit in April 2020 raised these safety points but they were dismissed by Norfolk County Council planners.
“We would endorse those initial comments and feel this issue should be revisited. St Stephens Street will effectively become a no-go street for safe cycling.”
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Martin Wilby, Norfolk County Council cabinet member for highways, infrastructure and transport and chair of the Transforming Cities joint committee, said: “Our outline proposals for this scheme are predominantly focused around improvements for bus users and pedestrians but safety will always remain a top priority and should not be to the detriment of cyclists.
“Our road safety team assessed the safety of the saw tooth design in our initial discussions and were satisfied by numerous examples where these measures have been successfully implemented without any increase in accidents, particularly in Cambridge, which has higher levels of cycling than Norwich.”
Consultation on the scheme, to be funded as part of the £32m Transforming Cities money, runs until Monday, October 19. People can have their say at www.norfolk.gov.uk/StStephens