All posts by Slim Smith

Planning application for road link between Leeds St and Princes Dock

Have you noticed the planning application for a road link between Leeds St and Princes Dock? Liverpool planning ref 18F/1419.

Whereas I have no problem with the link in principle – it is necessary I would think to deal with the new developments coming on the North Docks – it looks to me like an unreconstructed highways engineering solution. Plenty of analysis of vehicular r movements but not a lot for other concerns.

Some initial thoughts are:
It looked very much like a Design Manual for Roads and Bridges (DMRB) style scheme – that unreconstructed Highway Engineer approach. It should be designed following the principles of the Manual for Streets (MfS2). The MfS principles include
Apply a user-hierarchy – with pedestrians at the top
Collaborative approach
Importance of the Community function
Inclusive environment – all ages, all abilities. Integrate not segregate
Support pedestrian and cyclist desire lines
Establish clear vision and design codes
Appropriate balance between needs of different groups
Networks of streets for permeability and connectivity
Street character types
Innovation
Quality auditing process
Design for vehicle speeds to stay <20mph
Minimum of highway design features

Hierarchy of Attention
Not much sign of those above-mentioned principles here, for example the Transport Assessment starts with the vehicular transport details – suggesting that the hierarchy is not being looked at the right way round. Further on, there are lots of figures and analysis of vehicle movements; little sign of an equivalent attention to other needs.

Pedestrians’ requirements
We should expect that pedestrian activity and demand will increase very substantially as the Northern Docks opens up: there will be a lot of new accommodations of all sectors while will in itself increase footfall, without considering specific developments such as BMD Stadium, the North Docks Cultural Venue, the Cruise terminal and , it is to be hoped, an increasing tourist penetration to this area.

Looking at the pedestrian routes provided, they seem to be taking a poor second (or worse) place. Despite the generous 3m pavements, there does not appear to be a coherent pedestrian route on the south side of the Link road to Princes Dock. The link from the north side of Leeds St to the north side of the Link is convoluted.

The thought might be that there is practically no pedestrian demand coming from Gibraltar Row, but in the longer term (well within the 2029 horizon I’d think ) that triangle between Bath St and King Edward St will be redeveloped with something more in fitting with this location (and bringing in more revenue to the city by the way). Very likely there will be a lot of staff or residents or visitors depending on what gets built.

It is not enough to conclude self-congratulatorily (TA para 4.3) that “the shared cycle/footways along the link road and the proposed signalised junction with controlled pedestrian/toucan crossing will improve connectivity and safety for pedestrians and cyclists.” It might be slightly better than the poor provision for today’s few pedestrians; that doesn’t mean it will be adequate for a greatly increased number in the city it is being designed for.

It is quite alarming that the designers seem content to consider cutting out 50% of the pedestrian phases to clear traffic from the Princes Way when needed. The lesson surely that they need to find ways to reduce the amount of vehicular traffic coming from Princes Dock developments. More cycle parking and less car parking perhaps. (Not within the scope the present scheme, but certainly within the scope of the planning department.)

I am a bit concerned at the use of granite setts as the default for pedestrian surfaces – how good is this to walk on? – or push a wheelchair / pram on? They say it matches the Connectivity Phase 1 works. Has that been OK’d?

Public transport
Several of the predicted traffic flows look to come alarmingly close to 100% Degree of Saturation, and it is more alarming still to realise that the assumptions about growth in traffic do not include the proposed Bramley Moore Dock stadium (TS para 4.4). I’d suggest that this really means that the junctions will not cope.
This is not to say that the link should not be made in some form, but rather that alternatives that reduce the need for vehicular traffic should be looked at a lot more seriously. What public transport options can be provided for?

Indeed, what public transport considerations have been made at all? In the initial paragraphs, and in Appendix D, there are references to the existing bus stops and services. But nowhere is there any indication of how those services will be catered for in the proposed design. There are bus stops on Paisley St (each way), but there doesn’t seem to be space to replicate them on the new Link Road. Nor is there any suggestion how public transport on the north-south axis might be improved (this might in itself be outside the scope of the design remit) or how the necessary extra bus services for the North Docks developments might affect traffic flows, or where bus stops would best be located (which surely is within the remit).

Cycling
The cycle link from Bath St to Waterloo Rd is to be welcomed. If it becomes a major cycling route (and we would hope it would with the projected volume of development proposed in the North docks) it might prove inadequate as a two-way link shared with pedestrians. The configuration of the toucan across Princes Way looks convoluted. Thought should at least be given to providing an alternative more direct cycle phase at the lights for straight-through traffic.
There does not seem to be any link from Leeds St to Princes Way. As there is a quite well-appointed cycle route along the south side of Leeds St it seems pointless not to connect up to it.

How would we expect cyclists to travel from the Strand to, say Byrom St? (A common enough requirement you’d think.) Many would prefer the steady climb up King Edward St, and thane take pot luck in getting across to eh right hand turn lane to get onto Leeds St. But this means making that difficult jump across the lane where Bath St departs . In my experience traffic here can move quite fast and be quite heavy, so there will be many who find themselves needing to make the right turn onto the link Rd. an advance stop line would be helpful for this. A (better?) alternative would be some way of facilitating that jump from the New Quay-side cycle route over to King Edward St.

Street Character
The proposal does not, cannot, make development proposals for the land adjacent. I hope that the Gibraltar Way estate will soon be replaced by something suited to this part of the city, buy meanwhile it’s sensible to include a bit of car parking at the foot of the retaining wall. I hope likewise that the plot north of the Link Road will soon be snapped up, but meanwhile a grass verge is fair.
Some more design should however go into the places between the roads and the dock estate. The rigid 2m wide pavement is clearly nonsense here. Does the pavement extend to the estate boundary, or is the space to be filled with something else? Even if it only replacing the cotoneaster and agave planting, a decision needs to be made and it will have a big effect on how people approach a whole new quarter of the city Between the lower junction and the Princes Half Tide Dock there is enough space that something special could happen. I don’t don’t know what. Amey is probably not the team to take this on. Perhaps the team responsible for the Strand reconfiguration – or another commission. In any case a decent budget needs to be found for it.

I will probably redraft this a bit to go the planners. If anyone out there has any comments before I do so I ‘m all ears.

Regards

Dai Gwynne
( copied from MCC group)

Merseyside residents gather to demand safe cycling facilities

Saturday 28 April

11:30 – 12:30

Pier Head

On Saturday, 28 April, local residents are set to gather in Liverpool before pedalling across the city to the Pier Head, where incoming council candidates will give their pledges to improve the city’s cycling facilities.
The event is led by Merseyside Cycling Campaign and is one of twelve events taking place ahead of the local elections as part of Cycling UK’s ‘Vote Bike’ campaign. Tom Guha, Cycling UK’s Infrastructure Campaigner, said: “That at so many people are taking to the streets to demonstrate support for cycling shows that cycling is electorally popular. Hopefully candidates will listen and, if successful, act to encourage the growth of healthier, happier and more active places.”
Derek Gould, of Cycling UK Merseyside said: “Cycling is the most natural, economical, health-giving and environmentally friendly way to travel at speed around our cities. Yet our streets are congested by motor vehicles, creating a perception that cycling must be risky. In truth, cycling with a knowledge of how our streets work in our favour is pretty safe and endows the cyclist with a hard-to-achieve level of fitness. Considering that every bike is also one less polluting car in the traffic jam, cycling can work for us all.”

Ropewalks STEP Scheme public consultation

Public consultation event in The Box at FACT, 88 Wood St, Liverpool L1 4DQ, on Monday 19th March 2018 from 2pm to 8pm.

Approximate start: January 2019
Approximate end: November 2019

The Ropewalks STEP Scheme will be split into two phases:

  • Phase 1 – Bold Street and Seel Street.
  • Phase 2 – Wood Street, Fleet Street, Slater Street, Colquitt Street.

Funding of £4.5m has been secured for Phase 1 which is part of Liverpool City Region’s Sustainable Transport Enhancement Package (STEP). Growth Deals has provided £3m funding.

As part of the proposals there are opportunities to improve the area including:

  • The pedestrianisation of the full length of Bold Street.
  • The introduction of a café culture to the area.
  • Upgrading the footway and carriageway.
  • Installing new and improved seating and lighting.
  • Planting new trees.
  • Improving safety for pedestrians and cyclists.
  • Reversing the one-way traffic system on Seel Street, running from Gradwell Street to Berry Street.
  • Closing Seel Street between Colquitt Street and Slater Street at night time.

It is anticipated that our proposals will reduce the amount of traffic collisions, improve the connections to and around this area of Liverpool, and support and help attract future investment.

Liverpool Local Plan consultation

Draft Comments on Draft Liverpool Local Plan for Merseyside Cycling Campaign

Liverpool City Region Combined Authority emerging Local Cycling and Walking Infrastructure Plan (LCWIP) and existing Rights of Way Improvement Plan 2018-2028.
• The LCWIP is mentioned in Policy TP1 and TP5 which we should support along with LCR Transport Strategy for Growth and LCR Local Journeys Strategy.
• There is no mention anywhere of the LCR Rights of Way Improvement Plan.
• Section 2 Planning Context should also refer to the emerging Liverpool City Region Local Cycling and Wallking Infrastructure Plan and the LCR Rights of Way Improvement Plan.
• Paragraph 14.1 the introduction to the chapter on Sustainable Transport should mention the LCR LCWIP and the LCR Rights of Way Improvement Plan and the economic, health, social and environmental benefits of cycling and walking such as reduced congestion, cleaner air, reduced absenteeism, reduced healthcare costs etc.
• Para 2.12 on the Liverpool City Region Local Transport Plan for Growth should explicitly mention that plan’s promotion of cycling and walking in some way
• Policy TP2 Transport Assessments Part 3. states that “Development proposals will only be permitted where:… ….d. The proposal makes provision for walking, cycling and the use of public transport;” This seems good and should be supported
• Policy TP5 Cycling requires development to demonstrate a positive impact on cycling etc. Including undertaking cycle audits “to ensure that local roads are safe, attractive and comfortable for all cyclists”. Seems a pretty robust policy.
• The policy should also cover upgrading the cycle network off-site such as by improving nearby cycle paths or junctions etc. And that identification of such off-site improvements should be included in cycle -audits.

There is a consultation open day at Central Library Thursday 1st March 11am – 7pm

Public consultation for this document finishes at midnight on the 9 March 2018

Document can be found here

Liverpool City Centre Connectivity – Lime Street & Brownlow Hill

Comments needed by 15th February 2018
Download PDF plans here

There are plans to improve traffic flow across Liverpool city centre whilst also providing improved cycle links and a better environment for pedestrians.

LIME STREET AREA
To make the Lime Street Station / St Georges Hall area more accessible for pedestrians, it is proposed to reduce the number of traffic lanes on Lime Street, St George’s Place & St John’s Lane to a single lane in each direction with the carriageway widening at junctions to incorporate additional right turn lanes. The section of Lime Street between Elliot Street & Renshaw Street will be a one-way single lane with traffic flowing from Elliot Street to Renshaw Street.
Roe Street (Queens Square bus station) will remain no entry except for buses. The existing access only restriction on the service road section of Roe Street outside the Royal Court will also remain.
As part of the works, Lime Street is to be closed between St John’s Lane and Elliot Street. This is to allow pedestrians greater opportunity to move between Lime Street Station and the St John’s Centre and beyond into the city centre. Access to the St John’s Centre Car Park, the Holiday Inn and other businesses from Elliot Street will be maintained. Access to the St John’s Centre Car Park from the north (London Road & St George’s Lane) will be permitted for cars only via a one-way, single lane access from St George’s Lane to the car park.
The existing bus lane on St John’s Lane, operating from 4pm to 6pm Monday to Saturday is to remain.

Cycle Route
With the number of traffic lanes reduced along the route, it is proposed that cycle facilities be introduced to make the area more accessible and permeable for cyclists.  A segregated cycle route is proposed along the west side of Lime Street, outside St George’s Hall, to tie in to a proposed cycle route along Churchill Way flyover linking up with a similar facility on Tithebarn Street.
In addition, a segregated cycle route is proposed on the north-east side of Lime Street between Skelhorne Street & Renshaw Street to link into a proposed cycle lane on Brownlow Hill.
Both of these segregated cycle facilities will be two-way and cyclists will be segregated from traffic and pedestrians by kerblines either side of the route.
In order to allow pedestrians to cross the narrow one way section of carriageway between St Georges Place and Elliot Street, two areas of shared footway / cycleway are proposed.

Toucan Crossing Facilities
To allow cyclists to access the new cycle route and cross at busy junctions it is proposed to introduce four Toucan crossings. These are to be introduced in the following locations:
•The crossing of Renshaw Street at its junction with Brownlow Hill
•The crossing of Brownlow Hill at its junction with Renshaw Street & Ranelagh Place
•The crossing of Copperas Hill at its junction with Lime Street & Ranelagh Place
•The crossing of Lime Street just north of its junction with St George’s Place
Areas of shared use footway will be required around these Toucan crossings to allow cyclists access to the new facilities.

Access Only Restriction
To reduce the traffic through the area it is proposed that traffic proceeding along Lime Street from the north end must turn onto St George’s Place and vice versa. The only exception to this would be vehicles wishing to access the St John’s Centre Car Park which would be able to do so, but this route would have an access only restriction on it to prevent general through traffic from using it.
Access to the car park and the Holiday Inn Hotel will be maintained from Skelhorne Street and Elliot Street. Vehicles dropping off at the hotel will be able to exit the area towards Renshaw Street via Lime Street. There will be no through route from the Elliot Street / Skelhorne Street end of Lime Street to towards St John’s Lane or the north section of Lime Street.

Waiting & Loading Restrictions
With the number of traffic lanes reduced it is important to keep the carriageway free of parked vehicles to ensure traffic can flow. To achieve this, it is proposed that no waiting at any time and no loading at any time restrictions be introduced throughout the scheme area. The only exceptions to these restrictions would be a new loading bay on the south west side of Lime Street (south east of Elliot Street), and an existing loading bay on the south-east side of Skelhorne Street. Both of these bays will operate from 8am to 6pm every day.
The majority of these restrictions are already in place.
Proposals relating to the Lime Street Area are shown on the attached drawings, numbers CO00205283-LIM-C-01 & 02.

BROWNLOW HILL

Waiting & Loading Restrictions
With the exception of the existing loading bay which is to remain, the full length of Brownlow Hill from Great Newton Street in an easterly direction to its junction with Mount Pleasant, will have no waiting at any time and no loading at any time restrictions.
West of Great Newton Street, to the junction with Renshaw Street, the existing waiting and loading restrictions already in place along Brownlow Hill will remain unchanged. To allow businesses to load and unload goods, the existing loading bays are also to remain.

Cycle Route
It is proposed to introduce a cycle lane on the north side of Brownlow Hill. To allow access to existing bus stops, the cycle lane will be introduced as an advisory lane from its junction with Ranelagh Place /Renshaw Street for a distance of 100m. The cycle lane will then be a mandatory lane to its junction with Great Newton Street. An advisory cycle lane highlights an area of carriageway intended for use by cyclists but motor vehicles may also enter. A mandatory cycle lane is for use by cycles only, any motor vehicle entering the lane is committing an offence. At regular intervals along the mandatory cycle lane, bollards will be introduced to demarcate the lane and protect cyclists. Beyond Great Newton Street, cyclists can continue on street, but no cycle lane will be marked.
Whilst no cycle lane will be introduced on the south side of the carriageway, the presence of cyclists will be highlighted by laying cycle symbols on the carriageway.

Comments on the proposals by 15th February 2018 to oliver.brown@amey.co.uk

Paddington Village consultation plan – update

After consultation with the engineers of the plan, the following responses have been received from them. This is still not going to be a usable cycle route.

Why is there not a direct route from Irvine Street through the village development to Minshull Street?

The direct pedestrian route from Irvine Street to Minshull Street has a steep gradient that is unsuitable for a cycle route. There will be a pedestrian route running through the village that cyclists may dismount and use, however this will include steps going down from Irvine Street to Minshull Street to enable the provision of a suitable pedestrian gradient.

 

The plan doesn’t provide enough detail and is inadequate for consultation purposes. Need more details such as cycle lane dimensions.

The width of the segregated cycle lane is 3m throughout, allowing 1.5m for each direction. The pedestrian footway will have a 2m width throughout.

 

Concerns raised regarding the access points into Paddington Village from Minshull Street & Irvine Street. Respondents are concerned that pedestrians and cyclists will face difficulty in using the crossing points safely and believe that the route should be continuous throughout. 

Once the Paddington Village development is complete the access points on Minshull Street and Irvine Street aren’t anticipated to receive a high volume of traffic.  For safety reasons, the access into the undercroft area (on Minshull Street) needs to be given vehicle priority over pedestrians and cyclists, to eliminate the likelihood of rear end shunts by vehicles entering Minshull Street from Mt Vernon Road.   It is accepted that asking cyclists to “give-way” at this point will add slightly to cycling journey times to/from the City Centre.  But it is also recognised that the vehicles using the undercroft access from Minshull Street will have arrived via highways of a significant nature (Low Hill, Mt Vernon Road are both wide carriageway forming part of the main vehicle route into and out of the city centre from the east) and will not be expecting to “give way” from Grove Street.  This is a safety concern which we felt needed to be recognised in the design if the cycleway. The access on Irvine Street will become a site access during construction works, and will initially be constructed as a carriageway.  This could be subject to further review when more is known about the intended use of the adjacent development plot.  In the meantime, it has been determined that uncontrolled crossings will be safer for both pedestrians and cyclists to use.

 

A cycle group requested that the cycle route should have priority over turning traffic at the access points into Paddington Village from Minshull Street & Irvine Street, with road humps used to slow traffic and alert them to their requirement to give way.

The previous answer is relevant to this query.  Very low volumes of traffic are anticipated from Irvine Street – at present there are only 4 blue badge bays and servicing access via this proposed access point.  The future form of this access point could be amended, subject to the intended use of the adjacent development plot.  The access from Grove Street will serve an undercroft and be used by servicing vehicles. Because this access is very close to the turning lane from Mt Vernon Road into Grove Street, we feel it is necessary to give motorised vehicles accessing the undercroft priority over pedestrians and cyclists (for safety reasons we cannot have vehicles waiting in this location on Grove Street).

 

The plan seems to create conflict points between pedestrians and cyclists where people will be standing in the cycle lane waiting to cross the road

It is standard design practice for segregated cycle lanes to be positioned nearest the carriageway and pedestrians at the back of footway. Should pedestrians be waiting at pedestrian crossing points, cyclists can utilise the shared area to bypass them, and this is also a commonly used feature.

 

Where will the proposed cycle route tie in with existing facilities?

The facilities will tie-in with the on-road signed cycle route on Irvine Street (via Mason Street, to the east of Paddington Village).  The cycle lane will end at Smithdown Lane traffic signal controlled junction, where cyclists will be able to re-join the carriageway.  This junction will be improved to include an “early green” stage for cyclists moving between Smithdown Lane and Brownlow Hill.  Plans for Brownlow Hill including provision for cyclists are part of the City Centre Connectivity proposals (see www.liverpool.gov.uk/betterroads)

 

Are the proposals using existing footways or is part of the road being taken? Why is there no NOI for the footpath that has already been removed on Minshull Street?

The existing footway closures are subject to Temporary Traffic Regulation Orders and are required during the main Paddington construction works.  The new shared used areas, segregated cycle lanes and footways will be created from the existing footway and verge – overall no carriageway or footway will be lost.

 

The existing cycle route connecting Albert Grove to Mason street should be improved. 

The new cycle route will provide access directly into the Paddington Central development area at various key points along its route – improving cycle access to the new development site is a fundamental aspect of the proposals.  There are no plans to amend the existing cycle route at present but this could be looked at in a future phase of the works (Paddington South).  Part of the City Council’s allocation of the Local Growth Fund Sustainable Transport Enhancement Programme is currently looking at improving this route.

 

Introduce a cycle lane within the carriageway on Mount Vernon Road. 

An off carriageway cycle facility is safer for cyclists. Due to the nature of Mount Vernon Road less experienced cyclists would likely be put off using an on-street carriageway facility. Mount Vernon Road forms part of the designated freight route into and out of the City Centre and is a key element in the Wavertree Road/Picton Road bus corridor which carries significant bus flows.  This particular section of highway is also subject to significant “weaving” manoeuvres by motorists selecting their destination on the approach to the city centre at the junction of Mt Vernon Road / Grove Street / West Derby Street.  The opportunity to provide a 3m wide, fully segregated, off-carriageway cycleway is therefore considered the safest and more appropriate option to capture the needs of all cyclists, as opposed to providing an on-carriageway cycle lane.

 

How will the cycle lane and footway be segregated? 

The segregation between pedestrians and the cycle lane will be achieved with the introduction of a raised rib edging kerb built into the footway. This will be raised by 20mm to alert blind or partially sighted pedestrians to the presence of the cycle track. The cycleway will be finished with a bituminous surfacing, (black) whilst the edging kerb and footway will be paved with high quality concrete paving units (light grey in colour).  The contrast in colour between cycleway and footway will be significant, and obvious.

 

The route should be a continuous shared use area for pedestrians and cyclists

Unsegregated shared use areas are proposed only where necessary to avoid mixing vulnerable people such as the blind or partially sighted with cyclists. The route will be segregated as much as possible

 

Thousands of people use the footway during term time, cyclists will be forced to use Mount Vernon Road at busy periods. 

There will be alternative routes through the centre of the Paddington Village development which pedestrians are more likely to use as more direct. These will ease the pressure on the footway and allow for a safer route for cyclists. The cycle route will be fully segregated over as much of the route as possible.

Merseyside Cycling Campaign has discussed the Paddington Village plan that has been circulated.
Our main concern is that the plan circulated does not give enough information for us to make any meaningful comments and is inadequate for consultation purposes.
We need to see a lot more detail about access to the Paddington Village site and be advised of dimensions of the cycle path, traffic lights etc.
On the limited plan that was circulated, we can see is that there are access roads cutting across the cycling and pedestrian paths from Minshull Street and Irving Street. Pedestrians and cyclists are to somehow fend for themselves crossing in the path of delivery lorries. This is entirely inadequate, there needs to be a continuous prioritised and raised cycle and pedestrian route at these points.
The plan also seems to have created conflict points between pedestrians and cyclists where people will be standing in the cycle lane waiting to cross the road. This is bad design.
Merseyside has the worst statistics for pedestrian and cyclist casualties in the country, these vulnerable road users need protecting. This plan does not, as claimed, “provide a safe route for cyclists”.

Comments by 22 January to Shaun.Ali@amey.co.uk