Support road.cc

Like this site? Help us to make it better.

Campaigners say trees planted in cycle lane will make Norwich “a national laughing stock”

Infrastructure has "has the potential to become a defining meme for inept design" says Norwich Cycling Campaign...

Cycling campaigners say that a new segregated cycle lane being built in Norwich will make the city “a national laughing stock” – because it has trees planted in the middle of it.

The infrastructure is being constructed on the footway on one side of Prince of Wales Road, a main road which runs one way eastwards from the city centre to Norwich railway station, and will enable cyclists to ride in the opposite direction.

It is being built by Transport for Norwich, which is a partnership between Norfolk County Council and Norwich City Council and is mainly financed by the government’s Transforming Cities Fund.

In a post on its website, Norwich Cycling Campaign slams an “inept design” that does not reflect what the council originally promised, and that including such hazards while the facility is still being built will put cyclists and pedestrians in danger.

The group’s spokesperson, Richard Bearman, said: “It is beyond belief that Norwich City Council planners think cyclists or pedestrians will find this new cycle lane remotely acceptable.

“This new route is likely to be very popular, providing as it does a contraflow along Prince of Wales Road and offering for the first time a direct route from the station to the city.

“But it is so obviously totally unfit for purpose. This is in a very high profile place and has the potential to become a defining meme for inept design.

“Spending thousands of pounds of public money on unusable facilities will make the City Council and our fine city a national laughing stock.”

A photo on the group's Facebook page shows the bed for a tree extending more than halfway across the cycle lane, but a Transport for Norwich spokesman told the Eastern Daily Press that criticism of the route was unwarranted, saying: “Comments are being passed on a scheme which is still under construction.

"The trees are at the edge of an extended pavement which will be levelled off providing a much wider area for cycling and the designs which were consulted on widely have passed all necessary safety checks.

"The London Cycle Design Standards acknowledge the constraints of the local environment and are applied to all Transport for Norwich schemes whilst taking the needs and safety of all users into consideration.”

He added: "The route is uphill and in a busy city centre location so is not designed to be used at speed, but seeks to minimise issues with pedestrians and parked cars whilst improving the overall appearance of the area, reducing our environmental impact and providing direct access to the city centre."

However, Richard Jennings, chair of Norwich Cycling Campaign, said: “Norwich City Council have repeatedly stated they are following London Cycle Design Standards, but nowhere can I find a statement that says a tree pit in the middle of a cycle lane is good practice.

"This design and construction should never have been approved by the Norwich Highways Agency Committee.

“Norwich has an increasing number of people cycling, improving their health and reducing air pollution for everyone, yet wasting public money like this is an embarrassment for the city,” he added.

Simon joined road.cc as news editor in 2009 and is now the site’s community editor, acting as a link between the team producing the content and our readers. A law and languages graduate, published translator and former retail analyst, he has reported on issues as diverse as cycling-related court cases, anti-doping investigations, the latest developments in the bike industry and the sport’s biggest races. Now back in London full-time after 15 years living in Oxford and Cambridge, he loves cycling along the Thames but misses having his former riding buddy, Elodie the miniature schnauzer, in the basket in front of him.

Add new comment

28 comments

Avatar
TheBillder | 4 years ago
0 likes

The bit I struggle with is "will make Norwich a national laughing stock". Will?

Post Alan Partridge, Sale of the Century and a Norwich resident on Radio 4 who, when asked to say what was good about the city, came up with "It's compact and reasonably clean" - did Norwich actually need any more?

Avatar
mitsky | 4 years ago
0 likes

If anyone can do so very quickly and with little fuss, I suggest putting something similar into a "normal" road along with a picture of this to show equal treatment for all road users.

Presumably any large enough potholes should help with planting...

Avatar
NPlus1Bikelights | 4 years ago
2 likes

Where to start?!

Good Norwich new cycle infrastructure:

https://goo.gl/maps/yVjw6Wsw6S5qb8oPA

^ This raised the bar dramatically and our expectations but they have not done anything else this good).

https://goo.gl/maps/Ki2AuU9nhy3stTyh6

^ Good looking but never used and money could and should have been spent elsewhere. You also have to cross  oncoming single lane of traffic at the end which has cause one death and one injury.

https://goo.gl/maps/LvQmimWV5MwStAk78

^ Widened to 2 way but old one was fine and now there are people walking in it which when it was road level kerb protected both saides (one way) no-one did.

 

Bad infrastructure:

https://goo.gl/maps/1RRVo5P36S539W9a6

^ No-one expects cyclists coming other way on when turning from  right to left roads. It's not much quicker and full of trade vehicles during the day.

https://goo.gl/maps/hRp9qL1Kcj1Nigut7

^ Out of date Google streetview , they removed grass and widened but only for 2/3 of the road and it's one of the busiest cycle routes for the Uni. Good but ran out of money and council claimed most cyclists did not go to the University stright on but turned right. They also lied about adding removed grass somewhere else.

https://goo.gl/maps/nV68D7uFkcxLyDwP8

^ Botched upgrade to protected lanes, they forgot about tree roots  and had to make this death trap.

https://goo.gl/maps/fQgQLiMqqq2v4AV86 &

https://goo.gl/maps/gT1Ezsr5urAPwYqy9

^ ^ Infamous invisible bicyles paths which cost obscene amounts to pave with decor matching non slip bricks . Full of peds and tourists. If they had a different coloured zone  in blue there would be much less issues. They are not that bad but for the money they don't work well.

Avatar
ktache | 4 years ago
2 likes

Unfortunately dobbo it looks like a very expensive bodge, and cyclists will be critisised for not wanting to use it if they otherwise wish to make progress at any real speed.  And cyclists had better like it because it cost a lot and it's all they are getting.  Who on earth did they consult on this rubbish?

Avatar
dobbo996 replied to ktache | 4 years ago
2 likes
ktache wrote:

Unfortunately dobbo it looks like a very expensive bodge, and cyclists will be critisised for not wanting to use it if they otherwise wish to make progress at any real speed.  And cyclists had better like it because it cost a lot and it's all they are getting.  Who on earth did they consult on this rubbish?

I was thinking 'cheap' as in 'nasty'. Talking about money, there's a new stretch of road not far from where I live that's just under a mile long. It cost - wait for it - £57 million. I play a game when driving it, I try to count to 57 before reaching the end, at the legal limit of 40mph. Can't do it. So, by my admittedly rubbish maths, that's over £1 million spent for every second of travel. Bargain!  

Avatar
alansmurphy | 4 years ago
2 likes

I think we should all just leaf it and stick to our day jobs before anyone twigs on... this is a treemendous scheme and I get sycamore comments having a dig at this root 

Avatar
OldRidgeback replied to alansmurphy | 4 years ago
3 likes
alansmurphy wrote:

I think we should all just leaf it and stick to our day jobs before anyone twigs on... this is a treemendous scheme and I get sycamore comments having a dig at this root 

I think you're trying to divide and conker with that comment.

Avatar
alansmurphy replied to OldRidgeback | 4 years ago
3 likes
OldRidgeback wrote:
alansmurphy wrote:

I think we should all just leaf it and stick to our day jobs before anyone twigs on... this is a treemendous scheme and I get sycamore comments having a dig at this root 

I think you're trying to divide and conker with that comment.

 

Logged.

Avatar
dobbo996 | 4 years ago
5 likes

Look how narrow the pavement is, so that 'cycle path' will be full of people walking, all shouting at people on bicycles - "gerrof the pavement you tosser!" 

Avatar
brooksby replied to dobbo996 | 4 years ago
2 likes
dobbo996 wrote:

Look how narrow the pavement is, so that 'cycle path' will be full of people walking, all shouting at people on bicycles - "gerrof the pavement you tosser!" 

Yup  

And - as they grow, those trees will have branches at almost exactly eye height when you're riding a bike, forcing you out of the cycle path in any case....

Avatar
dobbo996 replied to brooksby | 4 years ago
1 like
brooksby wrote:
dobbo996 wrote:

Look how narrow the pavement is, so that 'cycle path' will be full of people walking, all shouting at people on bicycles - "gerrof the pavement you tosser!" 

Yup  

And - as they grow, those trees will have branches at almost exactly eye height when you're riding a bike, forcing you out of the cycle path in any case....

Aye, it's another example of a local authority unwilling to take space away from drivers (war on the motorist!) and coming up with a cheap bodge that helps no one and pitches people on bikes against people on pavements. Plus, of course, drivers can now yell at cyclists "get in your own lane" and "my taxes have paid for that, use it!"  and "it's not my fault if I run you down, you should be over there!". All the usual bollox.  

Avatar
brooksby | 4 years ago
3 likes

I'm presuming that the tree pits are those bits at the right hand side of the photo (with the trees in)?  Were the trees there first or did they plant them instead of building speed bumps?  If they were there first, its laziness in not building the marked cycle lane two feet to the left; if they were actually planted there then its sheer incompetence (IMO).

Avatar
VinnyRM | 4 years ago
0 likes

Whilst it looks a bit of a design mistake can I ask..has anyone ever had the misfortune of cycling in/around Sheffield!!

We have cycle lanes that are like that song. "Road to Nowhere" everywhere..oh they paint them red so at least it's obvious when you are suddenly NOT in the cycle lane that ends for no apparent reason.

Shared footpath cycle lanes are not really cycle lanes when they are just standard footpaths with a bike painted on them are they...really....

I went to a small town called Jackson in Wyoming USA a couple of years ago, it was a lovely place, and what struck me most..nearly everyone cycled everywhere, because they had dedicated 2 lane mini freeways fenced off for cycling!!! 

I know you cant do that in an already crowded city environment, but surely you can do better than just painting what appear to be totally random red strips everywhere, and thinking you have created a superhighway! Mind you Sheffield City Council are nothistorically renowned for sensible decision making so why should cycle infrastructure be any better!!

Avatar
VinnyRM | 4 years ago
1 like

Whilst it looks a bit of a design mistake can I ask..has anyone ever had the misfortune of cycling in/around Sheffield!!

We have cycle lanes that are like that song. "Road to Nowhere" everywhere..oh they paint them red so at least it's obvious when you are suddenly NOT in the cycle lane that ends for no apparent reason.

Shared footpath cycle lanes are not really cycle lanes when they are just standard footpaths with a bike painted on them are they...really....

I went to a small town called Jackson in Wyoming USA a couple of years ago, it was a lovely place, and what struck me most..nearly everyone cycled everywhere, because they had dedicated 2 lane mini freeways fenced off for cycling!!! 

I know you cant do that in an already crowded city environment, but surely you can do better than just painting what appear to be totally random red strips everywhere, and thinking you have created a superhighway! Mind you Sheffield City Council are nothistorically renowned for sensible decision making so why should cycle infrastructure be any better!!

Avatar
VinnyRM | 4 years ago
3 likes

Whilst it looks a bit of a design mistake can I ask..has anyone ever had the misfortune of cycling in/around Sheffield!!

We have cycle lanes that are like that song. "Road to Nowhere" everywhere..oh they paint them red so at least it's obvious when you are suddenly NOT in the cycle lane that ends for no apparent reason.

Shared footpath cycle lanes are not really cycle lanes when they are just standard footpaths with a bike painted on them are they...really....

I went to a small town called Jackson in Wyoming USA a couple of years ago, it was a lovely place, and what struck me most..nearly everyone cycled everywhere, because they had dedicated 2 lane mini freeways fenced off for cycling!!! 

I know you cant do that in an already crowded city environment, but surely you can do better than just painting what appear to be totally random red strips everywhere, and thinking you have created a superhighway! Mind you Sheffield City Council are nothistorically renowned for sensible decision making so why should cycle infrastructure be any better!!

Avatar
AlsoSomniloquism | 4 years ago
4 likes

Norwich Council Spokesperson

"The trees are at the edge of an extended pavement which will be levelled off providing a much wider area for cycling and the designs which were consulted on widely have passed all necessary safety checks."

So does that mean we are making an assumption the black bity is a cycle lane as that comment to me is that the whole pavement is for cycling on. 

Avatar
Tinbob49 | 4 years ago
3 likes

Goodness me. I commute along this road. This is not the first completely hair-brained scheme that had made cycling worse. I’ve even changed the route I commute because the city council installed a designated cycle route in particular sections where none existed before.

I looked at these plans a while ago and I wasn’t (and still am not) sure exactly how a cyclist reaches this part of the route anyway. The road from the station splits in 2 and and is largely one way route into town, so a cyclist on the left has to cross the lane to get to the middle of the 2 way road to then go up this contraflow where the road splits  

On the other hand, some works in the city have been big improvements, and there are much more car-free spaces, so it’s not all bad.

Avatar
Awavey replied to Tinbob49 | 4 years ago
1 like
Tinbob49 wrote:

Goodness me. I commute along this road. This is not the first completely hair-brained scheme that had made cycling worse. I’ve even changed the route I commute because the city council installed a designated cycle route in particular sections where none existed before.

I looked at these plans a while ago and I wasn’t (and still am not) sure exactly how a cyclist reaches this part of the route anyway. The road from the station splits in 2 and and is largely one way route into town, so a cyclist on the left has to cross the lane to get to the middle of the 2 way road to then go up this contraflow where the road splits  

On the other hand, some works in the city have been big improvements, and there are much more car-free spaces, so it’s not all bad.

Agreed I'm bemused where it gets you really, might have been ideal for visitors hiring a bike & go from the station,of course they are canning that  2

Avatar
the little onion | 4 years ago
5 likes

Trees? In your cycle lane? You'd be lucky. Round 'ere we have bus stops, parked cars, loose dogs, wandering pedestrians, those annoying a-frames, speedbumps, broken glass, dog turds and landmines*. Makes every commute a cyclo-cross session.

 

Kids nowadays, don't know they are born

 

(only one of these is fictional from my Leeds-based commute). 

Avatar
Awavey replied to the little onion | 4 years ago
1 like
the little onion wrote:

Trees? In your cycle lane? You'd be lucky. Round 'ere we have bus stops, parked cars, loose dogs, wandering pedestrians, those annoying a-frames, speedbumps, broken glass, dog turds and landmines*. Makes every commute a cyclo-cross session.

That's just how Prince of Wales road is normally if you add in a few drunken comatose people,half dropped kebabs,broken pint glasses,the odd fight,and that's just during the daytime,I wouldn't cycle along there at night if you paid me...probably why they want to keep the trees,it at least softens the ambiance of the place

Avatar
Albec1 | 4 years ago
6 likes

NFN

Avatar
FluffyKittenofT... | 4 years ago
12 likes

What a load of twat-woffle their response is.  "Consulted on widely" - meaning, we asked a few people, then ignored any comment from cyclists and did what we were going to do anyway?  "Passed all necessary safety checks" - who decided which were 'necessary'?

 

Why do they never plant trees in the middle of the road, if it's so safe?

Avatar
geomannie 531 | 4 years ago
6 likes

Problem with standards is that they are not mandatory. When Norwich City Council states they are following London Cycle Design Standards, what they mean is they have read them, they acknowledge them, but they then do what they feel gets close enough given what they see as traffic priorities (i.e. motor traffic). In Glasgow I was similarly told that a horrible facility was "based upon" Scotland's guide. Cycling by Design. Did it conform, did it b*llocks.

Avatar
burtthebike | 4 years ago
7 likes

Is there some local authority competition for the most utterly inept, incompetent and just plain bonkers highways department?  As Richard Bearman says, it doesn't match anything in London Cycling Design Standards, or any of the other cycle design guidelines, but perhaps they were using "Crap Cycle lanes" as guidance rather than a warning?

Presumably this followed the usual steps of applying for the grant, with the condition of consultation with local interest groups, then the consultation which had lots of pix of an idyllic cycling oasis and promises of the highest quality infrastructure which everyone agreed was wonderful, then the abysmal reality.   I'm sure Norwich CC will be robustly on the case, but I hope they'll be featuring a few things, like misleading consultation, and the possibility that the money was granted under false premises, if it was for high quality cycling infrastructure.  And of course, if any cyclist is injured as a result, they can expect to be sued.

Can I wish them the best of luck and please keep us updated.

Avatar
Philh68 replied to burtthebike | 4 years ago
3 likes
burtthebike wrote:

Is there some local authority competition for the most utterly inept, incompetent and just plain bonkers highways department?

if there is, it must be a global contest. Decades of best practice infrastructure in Denmark and the Netherlands and still they manage to come up with design fails that make you go WTF.

Avatar
Sriracha replied to Philh68 | 4 years ago
3 likes
Philh68 wrote:
burtthebike wrote:

Is there some local authority competition for the most utterly inept, incompetent and just plain bonkers highways department?

if there is, it must be a global contest. Decades of best practice infrastructure in Denmark and the Netherlands and still they manage to come up with design fails that make you go WTF.

China already won.

Avatar
brooksby replied to Sriracha | 4 years ago
3 likes
Sriracha wrote:
Philh68 wrote:
burtthebike wrote:

Is there some local authority competition for the most utterly inept, incompetent and just plain bonkers highways department?

if there is, it must be a global contest. Decades of best practice infrastructure in Denmark and the Netherlands and still they manage to come up with design fails that make you go WTF.

China already won.

I love those photos of Chinese protest houses yes

 

Avatar
brooksby replied to brooksby | 4 years ago
4 likes
brooksby wrote:
Sriracha wrote:
Philh68 wrote:
burtthebike wrote:

Is there some local authority competition for the most utterly inept, incompetent and just plain bonkers highways department?

if there is, it must be a global contest. Decades of best practice infrastructure in Denmark and the Netherlands and still they manage to come up with design fails that make you go WTF.

China already won.

I love those photos of Chinese protest houses yes

And:

 

Latest Comments