7 September 2017
Here is the Green Party council group's response to the recent city centre cycle and loading consultation in full:
Green Party councillors’ response to cycle access consultation
On cycle access and loading:
We broadly welcome the expansion of cycle access in the city centre. However, streets such as Haymarket and the section of London Street from Bedford Street to Exchange Street are very busy with pedestrians during the day, and it would rarely be possible to cycle on them at these times. It will therefore be misleading, particularly for visitors who may not know the city, if these streets become labelled as part of the cycle network. While we generally welcome measures that widen the cycle network, there is now plenty of evidence that ‘shared space’ is not the way forward and is generally unpopular with all road users, and it is very important that it does not become the norm. Allowing cycling at busy times on these streets is likely to lead to a degree of antagonism between pedestrians and cyclists.
Disability groups in Norwich have repeatedly stated their concerns about ‘shared space’ because it can cause people who are visually impaired or have limited mobility to feel unsafe. This is clearly not a desirable state of affairs even if actual accidents are extremely rare.
There is, however, a need for a cycle link running east-west across the city centre. For this reason, we propose that Bedford Street and the eastern end of London Street (from Bedford Street to Bank Plain), which has lower pedestrian flows, be open to cyclists at all times. This would provide a clear and safe continuous cycle link from Pottergate to the east of the city centre. In the future, it may be worth considering segregated cycle access from the top of Bedford Street to Bank Plain, and a proper junction or widened access to the signalled crossing so that cyclists can better access Bank Plain.
It is also important that the link to Theatre Street is maintained through 24-hour cycle access on St Peters Street and Millennium Plain.
In conclusion, we generally support Option 1, which increases convenience for cyclists at times when cycling is a realistic option, while avoiding conflict at the busiest times. We would, however, suggest that the exceptions set out above, as recognised cycle routes, should be treated differently and cycling be allowed at all times, with clear signage.
On contraflow cycling:
We are strongly supportive of the principle of making cycling as easy and accessible as possible to encourage more people to do it. We are generally very supportive of these proposals provided that clear signage and lines are included. Most of the streets in this case have low traffic flows and speeds and are therefore very safe for contraflow cycling.
We have concerns about some streets where contraflow cycling has already been introduced: notably Essex Street, where parked cars block the road, visibility is poor and signage minimal, leading to conflict between cyclists and cars as well as cyclists and pedestrians; and Magdalen Street, where the traffic light phasing puts cyclists at risk from cars turning right on to Cowgate. We would not therefore support further contraflow cycling on busier roads unless road markings and signage are extremely clear.
A number of ward councillors are intending to respond separately regarding specific streets in their wards.