What would you do here?

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What would you do here?

I’ve just found out a road near me is to be part resurfaced, I’ve now managed to get agreement that they consult cycling groups for projects like this, so there is in theory the possibility of changing the road layout.
Preston Road, North Tyneside

Its an A Road, 30 mph, big enough traffic volume that by any sensible measure complete segregation is required. No reasonable alternative cycle routes.

If you take the right of people to park a car outside their house on the victorian terraced sections at the southern end as a given then bike lanes or cycleways are difficult. It looks much easier to put stuff in on the northern end, there are service roads on some sections. I don’t yet know which bits are to be resurfaced and/or remarked.

North Shields Town Centre at one end, local shops midway at signalled cross-roads, secondary school and supermarket at the other. Local policy is that residential areas are 20mph, but the A Roads are excluded from this and remain at 30mph.

David Hembrow

It looks like a street at least as wide as Groningerstraat in Assen. That looks like this:


Junctions can be done like this:


It’s possible to have a good mix of different things which make up a direct route, with the style changing as the amount of space changes, as seen in the first video here:


Thanks David. I’d began to think about changing styles as the road narrows, going from segregated lanes .
/ service roads / tracks at the top to traffic calmed 20 zone when it becomes victorian terraces.


According to google maps, Groningerstraat is about 17.5m wide and Preston Road is 14m in the terraced section, so there’s not quite as much space to play with.

I agree that there’s defiantly room for improvement though. Maybe a 2-way path down one side? If we allow 3.5m for that, and 1m for each pavement, that still leaves 8.5m for 2 general lanes and a row of parking.

David Hembrow

There is always a solution that works. The Netherlands has plenty of very narrow streets, and the first one which came to mind is not necessarily a good match for yours at every point along its length.

Groningerstraat is only about 14 m wide at this point. That’s measuring from the outside edge of the 2.5 m wide cycle-path on each side of the road. However, at that point there is no separate pavement as this is further North than anyone lives on the street.

This part of the street is somewhat narrower. However, that works on an entirely different basis. Is it possible that you can get rid of through traffic on some parts of your road ? That opens up more possibilities.

I would be cautious about requiring cyclists to cross the road to use a path on the other side, especially if there will not be a bidirectional path for the entire length.


Hi David

We are quite limited by timescales, road resurfacing already scheduled and council officers have accidentaly not told us about it until quite late in the day. I’m hoping he weather will get a lot harsher which would buy us some time. Because its an A road any really radical changes would have to go up to the DfT.

Road resurfacing should present some big opportunities but it’s going to take a lot of work to educate those involved.


a reply via Twitter from Richard Mann (Oxford),

“ParadiseOxford Richard Mann TomBaileyTyne DfT has traffic flow as 8360 (not that high). Cycle lanes where no parking. Overnight parking is better than all-day.”

interesting to know the traffic volume (will have to ask richard where he gets it from).

This is probably in line with the separation standards that we have in the UK, which suggest bike lanes for 30mph + 8,000 vehicles / day (adding the bike lanes should cut traffic speed a bit, probably is at 35ish now).

Personally I’d see bike lanes as far from the ideal, but in some locations they may be a stepping stone towards David’s solution above.

pete owens

Attempting to put in segregated facilities on a street that narrow with so many junctions, parked cars, bus stops and so on is bound to result in the sort of rubbish that give cycle facilities a bad name. Poor cycle facilities are not a step in the direction of good infrastructure but actually make conditions worse for cyclists by reallocating space from pedestrians and cyclists to motor vehiclres (which is why traffic engineers are so keen on them) and force cyclists into dangerous positions.

I see the usual advocates of segregation at all costs have popped up and suggested door-zone cycle paths and half width gutter cycle lanes. If this site is to have any credibility whatsoever in advocating good quality cycle infrastructure  then it really does need to take a strong line against the c***p.

What you need to be looking at first are measures at the top of the mode hierarchy. You should challenge the policy of exempting any A roads from the 20mph limit - it is hardly the A19 and exactly the kind of mixed use environment that benefits most from speed reduction.

Next you need to look at junction treatments. The roundabout at the junction of front street needs a much bigger island with a narrow circulating carriageway to reduce traffic speeds. The roundabout at Beech Road could be ammended to sontinental geometry:


or just use google maps to look at the shape of roundabouts in NL:


It needs the approach arms to be single lane and perpendicular (rather than tangential). A single lane circulating lane. All this acts to slow down the traffic and is just as nescessery for pedestrian and cycle-paths crossing the entry and exit arms as it is for cyclists on the carriageway. 

The traffic light junctions look to be fairly cycle friendly, with ASLs but without the dangerous kerk hugging approach lanes that encourage cyclists to overtake on the wrong side and get left hooked by turning traffic.

Next you need to look at road space reallocation - and without reallocating space any cycle facilities are bound to be worse than useless. And I don't mean reallocating space from pedestrians either.

Removing on-street parking is the obvious first step, and an absolute precondition to any form of segregation. You should never ride in the door zone - ie anywhere within 1.5m of a parked car - and therefore never place or advocate a cycle lane or path that requires cyclists to endager themselves by riding in the door zone. There simply isnt the width on that road to allow for 2m for a parking bay + 1.5m buffer + 2m for the absolute minimum needed for a one-way cycle facility and still leave enough space for two-way motor traffic. Even if you do take out the parking you have to ensure that any restriction will be enforced. If someone parks in a cycle lane then the cyclist has to give way to following traffic before they can get past bus stops present the same problem but it depends how frequent the service is.

Only when you have reduced the speed limit, treated the junctions, and cleared the road of parked cars should you start to contemplate segregated facilities - and only if you can allocate sufficient space - ie at least the 2m in each direction that cyclists need to make progress. I would imagine that the only way of achieving this would be to remove the centre line and paint a continuous 2m wide advisory cycle lane along each side of the road.  Wide vehicles passing each other on the main carriageway would have to temporarily encroach the cycle lane, but that is much much better than reducing the cycle lane width thus reallocating road space from cyclists to motors.

You should certainly not contemplate a 2-way cycle facility on one side of the road. These are very much more dangerous than with flow paths as cyclists are approching the junctions from an unexpected direction.



Dr C.
Dr C.'s picture

As always, putting in dedicated cycle infrastruture on this sort of road means building the whole package; parking would have to go to make way for the cycle path, the junctions would be altered as part of the implementation of said cycle tracks and the re-allocation of road space away from motorised traffic will reduce the speed limit. Doing any of these things independently won't be much use to anyone as they are all intrinsically linked. When re-vamping a road such as this, the re-design needs to include the whole package.

I don't think anyone is suggesting that some sort of segregated infrastructure be constructed without parking, junctions and speed limits being a part of the same improvements.


But one section of that road has a school & park on one side, and houses on the other: a fast straight road (because of the parking restrictions) with potentially lots of kids crossing it looks quite dangerous. A 20 mph speed limit at least round the school, backed up with road surfacing has got to be the first priority. That then eliminates the need for  elaborate segregation and should also benefit local residents. 

Otherwise it does look quite tricky along some of its length & it might make a good example to consider at the policy bash

AKA TownMouse

pete owens

Dr C, you may not "think anyone is suggesting that some sort of segregated infrastructure be constructed without parking, junctions and speed limits being a part of the same improvements." But, I can assure you that is very much the way that UK traffic engineers do think. Indeed, whenever cyclists argue for lower speeds, reduced traffic, junction treatment or road space reallocation (ie all the things that are a necscessary pre-condition of any segregated scheme) we are told that we are an unrepresentative minority and that what everyone wants are just segregated cycle paths. And it is true - that is what the majority (ie motorists) do want. From their perspective forcing cyclists off the road is an end in itself and seen very much as an alternative to making the roads safer.

If you ask for good quality cycle paths they assume that what you want is a white line painted on the pavement with a cyclists dismount sign at every junction, side road and access drive. So, you have to be very very careful to explain exactly what you are asking for - and more importantly to vigourously oppose the rubbish that they are almost certain to install. 


yup - and this is exactly what the policy bash will be all about. Being absolutely clear what we're asking for and when (principles of separation, based on speed and flow of traffic), rather than just generalities.


AKA TownMouse

Dr C.
Dr C.'s picture

Pete, you are quite right, I should have made myself more clear. What I meant to say was that no-one on this forum is suggesting that some sort of segregated infrastructure be constructed without parking, junctions and speed limits being a part of the same improvements.

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