Missing the ‘good news’ of Christmas
Back in August, we wrote about anticipated improvements in the city centre. Of the touted improvements, one has been partially delivered. We are pleased to see the new Advanced Stop Lines at City Road / Jewry Street lights, but the low-level signals have not beaten the Christmas shutdown so will be a 2024 arrival instead. There is expectation that Parchment St contraflow, Hyde Church Lane modal filter and formalising of cycling on Middle Brook will also be in the early new year mix. We still don’t understand why some of these schemes – funded and fairly straightforward – have taken so long to get this far.
High St scheme deferred
We are very disappointed too that a scheme involving a contraflow lane on the High Street between Tower Street and Staple Gardens has been deferred. Once again this is a centrally-funded scheme and to our mind a reasonably simple undertaking in terms of cycling infrastructure, although we are still making the case for changes to the detailed design to address safety and usability issues, in particular the prioritising of right-turning cars into Tower Street over descending cycles proceeding straight ahead (see the graphic at the foot of this article). Unfortunately, it seems that in carrying out the work there would need to be expensive maintenance carried out on the highway, particularly related to ongoing drainage issues. Our initial concern was that money allocated for active travel was being syphoned off into more generic roadworks and only a small proportion directed to cycling-related infrastructure. The scheme having been deferred due to these costs rising even further, we are now worried that the money will be leached away without discernible benefit to the cycling community for whom it is intended. Cycle Winchester has a meeting with the council early in January when we hope to clarify the situation and gain some assurances. We will keep you abreast of developments.
We are contributing to Worthy Road designs
We have recently been giving further input into designs for a section of Worthy Road: from Dyson Drive to the change of speed limit heading out of town – which includes two crossings, one of which is a parallel crossing. This is one phase of a much larger scheme. Quite a few of our comments on earlier designs have been taken into account. On balance we are keen to see this go-ahead. It is an important east-west crossing of a very busy road with some other associated improvements for cyclists both direct and indirect eg traffic calming measures including the reduction of the bell-mouth on Stoke Road and removal of white line markings on Worthy Road. The main benefit, of course, for the majority of cyclists will only be realised once the full scheme is implemented, assuming it is carried out to an appropriate standard.