Tuesday, April 01, 2008

New signing on West Park Cycle Route

I spotted some new signposts riding home from work yesterday. They are 'finger' type signs with timings rather than distances. They are being put in on the town centre to West Park route, which seems to now be called "West Park Cycle Route" ( the name is on a green background). There's one on the railings at the Greenbank/Bondgate junction (18 mins to West Park), one at the turning into Craig Street (13 mins to West Park (I'm not sure who timed these, but it takes me far less than five minutes to cycle along Greenbank Road)) and one at the Craig St/Hollyhurst Rd junction (12 mins to West Park, and also 1 min to the hospital). At each junction, there is a corresponding arrow pointing toward the town centre.

(Personally, I go down Reid Street as the junctions are much nicer at both ends...)

New signs are badly needed on the various routes around the town as existing signs are either missing or turned around to point the wrong way. These new signs look much sturdier than the old design, and the posts are square so they can't be turned around.

I believe that each of the radial routes will have a different colour (West Park being green). I like the idea of being able to tell someone to get to my house by following the green route until they reach North Park and then follow the orange (?) route.

Signposting the West Park route from town could also help ease any "antisocial" cycling in the Pedestrian Heart, as Police and Wardens will be able to tell kids playing on their bikes on the steps that they can follow the arrows to get to the 4X track.

I'd like to see the signposting extending to include points of interest, like supermarkets and local shopping centres.

Has anyone else seen any other new signposts?


An Inconvenient Truth said...

I spotted the Greenbank Road/Bondgate sign yesterday. I agree, it will help a lot to have these colour coded signs, not least as it will easily identify the infrastructure yet to be built (eg at said road junction).

I think the Campaign should do a quality test for each route this year, with suggestions for making them more comfortable/safe/direct.

An Inconvenient Truth said...

I'm not sure who timed these, but it takes me far less than five minutes to cycle along Greenbank Road

- did you take into account all the "give ways" and general stopping and starting every time you hit a road?

miketually said...

The five minutes is just from one end of Greenbank Road to the other,
which is half a mile according to Google Maps

I know I'm probably at the faster end of the cycling spectrum, but
6mph is a bit slow even taking account of all the getting on and off.

If my maths is right, my commute would take me 32.5 minutes at 6mph.
If the point of the times is to make people realise that it wouldn't take long to cycle somewhere, overestimating the time is self-defeating.

Perhaps we should do two test runs of each route? One straight
through, which we time, and then another where we stop to take
photographs to highlight good and bad points of the route.

miketually said...

Cycling home tonight, I (very roughly) timed riding along Greenbank Road. It took me 90 seconds, which is considerably less than the signage suggests - 20mph.

My journey home took 21 minutes (including walking to and unlocking my bike at work and putting my bike in the garage and walking round to the house at home!) which is 9mph.

teddles said...

Agree with quality testing each routes and couldnt resist the following story in this mornings Newcastle Journal. I believe that theres also a vid on You Tube:

Shortest cycle lane in world?
Apr 2 2008 by Paul James, The Journal

IS this the most pointless cycle lane in the North East? Consultancy boss and triathlete Karl McCracken bikes around 3,000 miles a year around the region, either training for his next sporting challenge or commuting to meet clients.

But one of the latest additions to the North East’s cycle route, outside the flagship new Gateshead College campus on the banks of the Tyne, isn’t likely to add much to his rides.

For the dotted lines at either end of the new lane give the cyclist a mere 10-metre ride along Hawks Road.

Gateshead Council insist that the cycle lane is still under construction, but Karl has made a video of his attempts to use the new lane to his website, asking readers if it is the shortest cycle lane in the world.

He also claims the road layout encourages cars into the path of the cyclists and says: “The funny thing is, someone, somewhere, thought this was a good idea.”

And while he sees the funny side of his find, the 38-year-old is hoping to shame Gateshead Council and the region’s other local authorities into providing something more than “token” provision for cyclists.

The 38-year-old, who lives with wife Cathy and their six-year-old daughter Rosie in Whitley Bay, North Tyneside, yesterday said other North councils were not faring much better than Gateshead.

He said: “The Government wants people to get cycling, but the provision to do that just isn’t there.

“If you compare Newcastle and Gateshead to a city like Copenhagen, 35% of journeys are made by bike in Copenhagen but the proportion here is tiny – you might see a bike for every 200 or 300 cars. There is no integrated strategy and no real attempt to make cycling the alternative to driving.

“Bearing in mind the size of Newcastle and Gateshead, you can walk across Newcastle in an hour or so and cycle end-to-end in about 20 minutes.

“Yet there’s an infrastructure that actively discourages people from doing it.”

But Nick Clennett, head of transport and highways for Gateshead Council, defended the cycle lane, saying it was part of a larger development.

He said: “This lane appears so short because it is unfinished.

“This short section of on-road cycle lane is designed to protect cyclists as they turn on to a new shared-use footway which is yet to be built on Quarryfield Lane. The road markings were completed by the developer first prior to the start of construction of the footway, but this is due to get under way in the next week or so.

“When the work is complete in the next month or so, it will form part of much more extensive series of cycle facilities which will serve both the new Gateshead College and the new Baltic Business Quarter.”

However, the Cyclists’ Touring Club, who campaign to make cycling enjoyable, safe and welcoming for all, yesterday criticised the “idiotic” lane.

CTC’s campaigns policy co-ordinator Chris Peck said: “This is an idiotic and dangerous lane, encouraging cyclists to keep left even though it’s a traffic calmed, 20mph zone.”

To watch a YouTube video of the cycle lane, click here

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