Sunday, 5 July 2015

Bridgewater Cycleway Consultation Reply

My reply to the Bridgewater Cycleway Consultation ends 10th July.



1. Please say what you think of our proposals, telling us what you agree or disagree with and why.
If a comment relates to a specific feature or stretch, please clarify which.


Why do you only allow 10 minutes to fill out the reply?

Why don’t you allow the inclusion of diagrams and photos?

Why have you ignored the responses to the previous consultation carried out last year?

These new proposals are just as bad as before and are worse than the existing road layout for cycling.

The proposals for the Deansgate, Whitworth St West and Bridgewater Viaduct junction are so bad that they will make cycling more dangerous by creating a false sense of security.

The diagram of the junction layout is inadequate for a consultation process - it is too small to see all the details, the dimensions of the lanes are not given and the bus stops are not labeled.

Overall these proposals are simply paint on the road which time and time again have shown to be inadequate at preventing motorists from entering cycle lanes and other cycle facilities as they are not adequately enforced by Greater Manchester Police. The use of pavement for cycling is just dreadful.

Also these plans do not join up with those for the Liverpool Road, Deansgate junction, they show contradictory detail.

The cycle lanes that are proposed run straight into two bus stops - this is just stupid. The northbound bus stop is currently suspended and both could be removed.

The cycle lane drifting into the middle of two lanes southbound on Deansgate will be ignored by motorists as will the left turn only lane and motorists in the left lane will race to get onto the Bridgewater Viaduct, driving through the cycle lane as they do so.

The cycle lanes on Whitworth St West will push people turning right to the left hand side of the road making the right turn more dangerous, the right curving cycle lane across the junction is pointless and makes the junction more confusing.

The road layout in this area needs to be dramatically redesigned:-

The Bridgewater Viaduct, Deansgate and Whitworth Street West are all too wide. They serve to pump high levels of traffic into the city centre and cause rat running through the area.
  • All three roads should be reduced to one lane of traffic in each direction. The islands should be removed from the road and the junction turned into a simple “T” junction. Pedestrian crossings should be provided across all three arms of the T junction.
  • Fully segregated cycle tracks should be built alongside Bridgewater Viaduct in both directions with solid kerbing to prevent them being blocked by motor vehicles. These should be taken out of the existing road space to narrow the road and reduce traffic capacity. The existing pavement cycle lane is useless and should be removed.
  • Fully segregated cycle tracks should be built alongside Deansgate in both directions with solid kerning to prevent . These should be taken out of the existing road space to narrow the road and reduce traffic capacity.
  • Fully segregated cycle tracks should be built alongside Whitworth Street West in both directions with solid kerning to keep traffic out . These should be taken out of the existing road space to narrow the road and reduce the capacity for motor vehicles.
  • Traffic Lights at the junctions should only go green for one road at a time to ensure safe right turning.
  • there should be separate green phases for cycles to remove conflict with motor vehicles. This includes the cycles coming from the lower part of Deansgate.
  • Bridgewater Street should be closed to motor vehicles at the junction with Deansgate. Most of the use of this road is rat running and it makes this area more dangerous.
  • The right turn by motor vehicles from Bridgewater Viaduct into the lower part of Deansgate should be removed


2. If specific parts of the proposals could affect you, please give details and clarify which section or feature you're commenting on.


All of it - I live in the city centre and often cycle and walk through this area.

This is one of the most horrible places to walk or cycle there is far too much traffic.


3. Please add any other comments about the route as a whole or specific stretches of the proposals.


The two way cycle track that goes from the end of the Bridgewater Viaduct to the roundabout ends dangerously when heading north. This whole area needs re-engineering to reduce traffic speeds.

It would be helpful if the Council published proper layouts with dimensions.

Bridgewater Way 1 - Deansgate to Throstle Nest Bridge - not fit for purpose

This is the first in a series of posts revisiting the newly resurfaced Bridgewater Way. This first one was prompted by Manchester City Council's consultation which refers to this section of canal towpath when in the works here have more or less finished. This is in itself a repeat of a previous consultation by MCC for the same junction over a year ago.



Taking the position of the sculpture Life Cycle by George Wyllie as the start of this route you turn down the quiet part of Deansgate.



Now you have to look very carefully to your right to see the path under the block of flats. One of these parking spaces is planned to be removed to enable access.



From here is the end of the Manchester City Council section and the beginning of the path on Peel Holdings land. There has been some work on this section with textured pavement, though there is no benefit for cycles.



This section under the A56 becomes extremely slippery during the winter, making it very difficult even to walk on, let alone cycle. There has been nothing done to improve matters...



This next section is also slippery during the winter.



Another problem for people cycling will be how busy this area gets during fine summer evenings, particularly here outside the Wharf.



The wooden bridges have all been resurfaced with the addition of narrow anti-slip strips. Again this surface is very helpful for people walking, but will have little benefit when cycling.



As the path turns away from Castlefield Basin the mud and cobbles start. This section  of cobbles is very rough.



This gives way to paving slabs which have been repaired recently. They were in a poor state.



When the cobbles recommence it is clear that there have been some repairs, but they are still horribly rough for an ordinary bike.



These cobbles lead up to the first of the narrow bridges over the wharfs.



On the other side the cobbles are rough and uneven.



At the bridge under the ring road the cobbles give way to brick pavers, which cover the next narrow bridge.



This is certainly a better surface than the cobbles and paving stones, but still not as good as smooth tarmac.



Passing Timber Wharf on the left the next bridge is particularly steep on this side



and not much better on the other side.



At the following bridge under Hulme Hall Road the path narrows horribly.



The path under the bridge is fairly unpleasant.



After a short section of gritted tarmac the next wharf bridge is rough cobbles.



No attempt has been made to improve the surface and there was a lot of glass here.



The surface is uneven on the down side too.



As the path goes under the railway bridges it becomes loose gravel.



The next obstacle is the old bridge under Pomona Strand.



Here the path is dangerously narrow.



Barely wider than bicycle handlebars, and with little headroom it is difficult to get through with an unloaded bicycle. With panniers or a child seat it's pretty dangerous, and far too narrow for tricycles or handcycles.



After that things get a little easier



the old path has been widened a little.



As the path curves, Throstle Nest Bridge comes into view.



The path here is a horribly loose gravel, deep enough to make riding a bike feel unstable.



The loos gravel is gradually being thrown onto the stones forming the edge of the path and into the canal itself.



The feeling of vulnerability on this surface isn't helped by the brambles growing into the path.



As a cycle route this section of path is pretty narrow, and really only suitable for fat tyres.



The final insults are the barriers at the bridge



and another set of rough cobbles.



At least the canal boats get a smooth ride.



As part of Velocity 2025 this route is a waste of money. There are far better routes into the city from here, either crossing Pomona or taking the well surfaced and well lit tow path alongside the River Irwell both of which are easier and far more comfortable.



2.7km


Sunday, 28 June 2015

Fairbottom Branch Canal and Tramway - Waterhouses Junction to Park Bridge

This is Waterhouses Junction, the start of the Fairbottom Branch Canal. This path branches away part way along Hollinwood Branch Canal 3 - Stannybrook Road to Crime Lake.



The canal has water in it at this point and is quite wide.



The path has a good quality grit surface and at this point there are open views to the south.



However, the canal isn't open water for long and fills with plants as the hedgerow starts.



There are a number of benches if you need a rest.



Here the canal crosses Valley Aqueduct near Valley Farm over what used to be the main road used by coaches and wagons between Oldham and Ashton. Here the canal is filled in and is completely dry.



After the aqueduct stay on the right hand side, the path to the left is a path for horses.



Now the canal is in water and this spot is popular with fishermen.



At Bardsley bridge there is access out to the road via a barrier.



Here the canal is dammed to keep the water back from the bridge. The bridge is low because of mining subsidence and the canal closed at this point in 1904 as a result.



It is a steep and rough climb up on the other side.



Here the canal bed is used as a muddy bridleway whilst the tow path is on the right. The tow path here does get muddy in the wet.



The path soon becomes more wooded.



Whilst a bit muddy in places the towpath is pretty good.



The two paths then divide for a while



and come back together as they reach Fenny Field Bridge over the River Medlock. This is the end of the canal.



From here a tramway ran up to Park Bridge. The cycle route roughly follows the route of that tramway.



First it dives into the verge on the left just before the road signs,



then swings round



and back out beside Waggon Road, the route of the tramway.



Here the path is soft and sandy as it is designed for horses rather than pedal cycles. However, it is far better than the cobbled road.



The path takes you up to Park Bridge.



Here there is just one thing missing...



the bridge itself. The viaduct that carried the railway was demolished.



At this point you can join the Ashton to Oldham Greenway in either direction.