While it is highly unlikely that you can change planning decisions around a massive road resurfacing and improvement scheme while standing on a traffic island in the middle of the junction of St Anne Street and Islington, it is good to meet a representative of the council and of the construction company involved to help make some improvements and comments on the design that will inevitably proceed, for the most part, in its original form.
To this end Don, Ian and Stella from the Merseyside Cycling Campaign met Karen Stevens, Liverpool City Council’s Cycling and Walking Officer and Spencer Pritchard from Amey to look at the plans for the junction and how cycling would fit in. Don was also representing Cycling UK and Stella was giving input for the Liverpool Pedestrians Association.
The plan is to put in shared footway provision from Byrom Street up to Soho Street on New Islington, to improve pedestrian and cycle crossings at the junction and to provide a link to the new LCCCS provision on Dale Street.
Karen agreed that this should be seen as a first step leading to better, segregated, provision in the future and that increased usage would hopefully strengthen the case for further improvement. Spencer said he would take several of our concerns to his management including:-
- Improving the dangerous exit from the provision onto St Anne Street Northbound by extending the shared space.
- Future-proofing some of the Puffin crossings by providing drop kerbs large enough for Toucan crossings to be provided in the future.
- The danger of running provision across the large radius turn into Soho Street which encourages vehicles to turn in at high speeds.
- The need for short response times at the Toucan and Puffin Crossings. Widening the inside lane from St Anne Street to Norton Street to accommodate cyclists who wished to stay on the road.
- Widening the footway at narrow points on Hunter Street to avoid conflicts.
It was pleasing that Karen and Spencer were willing to join in with discussion of matters that were not part of the scheme. For instance, using Christian Street and an existing path to provide an alternative route to the very unpleasant Byrom Street/Hunter Street as well as giving a direct link to the Leeds Street provision. The idea of shared footway on Norton Street to give safe access to the much quieter Kempston Street was also mooted and there was plenty to say about the dire nature of Islington; a 30mph road of near motorway proportions and near motorway speeds at times.
The nature of the meeting was very positive with Karen outlining several plans for the area and the city in general, that will improve cycling provision and uptake in the future.
All in all it was a good meeting that left us feeling that things are moving forward in the city, not as fast or as well as we would like, but forward nevertheless.