A Bristol Cycle Forum meeting on 21 July 2016 was in the form of a cycle ride to review some recently completed shared use route schemes, and two long-established schemes. The ride was attended by 7 people (no council officers). The sites we visited and reviewed are listed below, using the unsegregated/ delineated (line or different surface)/segregated (different levels) classification of the BCC draft shared use route policy (see BCyC Policy – Shared Space Streets and Shared Use Pavements which includes a link).

  • Merchants Dock – proposed widening – unsegregated
  • Centre – re-designed route opposite the Hippodrome – delineated (symbols only)
  • Redcliff Hill – new cycle route – delineated (symbols and line)
  • Straight Street by Gardiner Haskins – old route – delineated (surface colour only)
  • College Green to the Centre – segregated (level and surface)
  • Castle Park (west end) – relaid route using sliced cobbles – segregated (level and surface)
  • Cattle Market Road – between the Arena and Bath Road – segregated (level and surface)
  • Baldwin Street – newish cycle route – segregated (level and surface)
  • Clarence Road – newish cycle route – segregated (level only)

Legibility

The legibility of each route was reviewed. The aim should be that the route expected to be used for those walking and those cycling should be obvious without thinking about it. Put simply, the walking route should look like a pavement, the cycling route should look like a road. Alternatively, the difference in surface should make it obvious.

The schemes were rated for legibility as follows:

OK:

  • Merchants Dock: leisure use, unsegregated mixed use appropriate
  • Straight Street by Gardiner Haskins: different surface colours work well
  • College Green to the Centre (main section by the roadside): different surface type, colour and level
  • Castle Park (west end): pavement clear and in stone, cycle route in cobbles
  • Cattle Market Road – under the railway: kerbs on either side
  • Baldwin Street: pavement in stone, cycle route in tarmac. (although level difference is minimal)
  • Clarence Road (main section): pavement clear, cycle route in road

Not OK:

  • Centre: no change in surface (York stone). Cycle symbols are bigger (good), but some pedestrians (especially those new to Bristol) will miss them.
  • Redcliff Hill: There is no differentiation of surface or level and:
    (1) the pavement between Redcliff Parade and Redcliff Way is assumed to be intended as a shared use continuation of the route, but is completely unsigned and undifferentiated
    (2) between Guinea Street and Redcliff Parade, the cycling route is intended to be on the pavement but is not clearly marked at the start for those travelling north towards Redcliff Parade. Pedestrians are likely to use this pavement route rather than the route through the trees.
    (3) on the section south of Guinea Street, the pedestrian part of the route is impeded by a bus shelter, and pedestrians tend to use the space for the cycle route
  • College Green to Centre – Anchor Road end:it would help if the separation of bike route and pedestrian route continued all the way to the toucan crossing.
  • College Green (alongside the cathedral): although this is segregated, the surface isn’t sufficiently differentiated, with the result that pedestrians sometimes walk in it. That’s not a big problem, as it’s a quiet route, but it’s still potential for conflict.
  • Cattle Market Road – opposite the arena: different stone (good), but the colours aren’t different enough, and the level change is minimal.
  • Clarence Road (both ends):The pavement at the Bath Road end is unsigned. The intended route for cyclists at the Bedminster Bridge end is unsigned. The crossing is pedestrian-only, not a toucan, and the pavement across to Redcliff Hill is unsigned.

Width

Note: the following cycle lane widths are approximate – we didn’t measure them exactly

OK:

  • Merchants Dock: 4m shared use
  • Centre: 3m+
  • Redcliff Hill (S of Redcliff Parade): 3m+
  • Castle Park: 3m- (although slightly less than 3m, that’s acceptable in the context of a park)
  • Cattle Market Road: 3m+
  • Baldwin Street: 3m+

Not OK:

  • Redcliff Hill (N of Redcliff Parade): 3m- shared surface
  • Clarence Road: 2.5m (some found it OK, but others didn’t)

Other comments

Merchants Dock

  • None of us had attended the public consultation meeting on 13th July. Two of the attendees use the route regularly, and are not aware of cyclists going fast, except sometimes when no pedestrians are round. People tend to go at a slow pace enjoying their surroundings. We thought the proposed scheme is fine (even though little changed from the scheme a year ago that was rejected). The unsigned shared space design is appropriate in its harbourside context.
  • There should be better provision for more confident cyclists on Hotwell Road, and we would like to see an inbound bus lane replacing the parked cars. The outbound bus lane works well for cyclists as it is often not used by the buses, presumably because otherwise they would be held up by bikes !
  • We liked the changes to Poole’s Wharf Bridge – the less steep ramps, the new surface, and the removal of bollards

Centre

  • We would like space taken from the road to provide a properly segregated cycle route.
  • We understand that the cycle route in the North part of the centre willbe segregated properly ?

Redcliff Hill

  • There should be cycle/walker priority across Guinea Streetand Redcliff Parade, with a different surface used.
  • We thought the Metrobus scheme might have been an opportunity to take out the two-lane dual carriageway, and make space for a segregated cycle route.
  • At the join with Brunel Mile near the exit from Redcliff Backs, the pedestrian crossing on Redcliffe Way could be widened by taking out more of the central reservation so that more pedestrians and cyclists can cross simultaneously.
  • Crossing Redcliff Hill near Bedminster roundabout, the traffic lights eventually turned red but there was then a very long delay before we got a green crossing light. Where cyclists have to wait too long for a green crossing light, this increases the scope for conflict with other cyclists and pedestrians.

College Green to the Centre

  • Where Anchor Road is crossed, the traffic lights for walkers and cyclists remain red even though there is no approaching traffic.

Castle Park

  • The dotted lines in the cobbles do not stand out enough.
  • The sliced cobbles work well. They feel a bit slippery when wet, but we understand they have been tested OK for this.

Cattle Market Rd

  • Cyclists and walkers should have priority across the entrance to Post Office site.
  • The crossing to Clarence Road is harsh and with a long wait-time. It is accepted that this is to some extent inevitable whilst crossing a major motor traffic artery, but we hope for improvements in due course.

Baldwin Street

  • We applaud taking space from the road.
  • The Dutch approach is generally to split the cycle route so that the route for each direction is at the left-hand side of the traffic flow. This prevents having to cross over the line of motor traffic to join the path when going in the ‘wrong’ direction.

Clarence Road

  • This lane is a good example of a segregated route and we applaud taking space from the road. It achieves a lot at (?) relatively low cost.
  • However, for less confident cyclists it may be too close to the traffic on a busy route with lorries. A greater lane width would allow cyclists to leave a slightly larger distance between themselves and the motor traffic.
  • The kerbs used are better than the original ‘henrys’, but the side facing the cycle lane could be angled more so that they are more bike-friendly.