Charles Church Proposals and Response

The City Council has invited responses to their proposals re the Charles Church interchange redesign. The closing date was October 2nd. Our response is below.

Charles Cross is the existing primary entrance into the city centre for cyclists  from the eastern corridor and much of the northern corridor using National Cycle Network Route 2.  However the existing access is substandard and requires significant improvement.  It is too narrow and has poor access into the city centre.  As such, it suppresses cycling significantly.  We ask that you note these policies.  PCyC policy is that segregated cycle routes are required for inner city locations and that Quietways may be acceptable elsewhere.  The Council’s policy is “Locally we’re also developing our Strategic Cycle Network (SCN) – a plan of cycle routes, paths and lanes that we aim to create in the city that’s suitable for cyclists of all levels”.  These policies are consistent with one another as segregated routes are the only method of design attractive to cyclists accepted as safe and coherent. For evidence of council policy please see https://www.plymouth.gov.uk/parkingandtravel/transportplansandprojects/cyclerouteimprovements.  For motorists please see IAM Roadsmart policy, https://www.iamroadsmart.com/media-and-policy/research-and-policy/policy-details/promoting-safer-cycling.  These are our comments:

  • We oppose widening of the existing roundabout between Charles Street and Exeter Street.  The reason is that this leaves no room for cycling and we ask that a segregated cycle lane is provided instead. (9)
  • We ask that a cycle/pedestrian crossing is provided to cross Ebrington Street to replace the subway (10)
  • There is no cycle access into the city centre shown on the drawings.  We ask that this is added to the scheme by providing a cycle/pedestrian crossing at an appropriate location (see below)
  • We ask that a segregated cycle lane is provided beside Charles Street.  If there is not enough space, we oppose widening of Charles Street (8)
  • We do not support shared bus/cycle lanes as these are accepted only by a minority of experienced cyclists.  On the contrary, we ask that segregated cycle lanes are provided.

The wider context for cycle routes for the city centre is that PCyC is encouraging growth of traffic should be by bicycle and to reduce cars, especially at peak times.  This is to reduce traffic congestion, save money and promote healthy lifestyles.  Charles Cross is a strategic junction.  Traffic planning for cycling should take into account access into the city from National Cycle Route 2 and from Sherford which will become primary arteries.  We are also aware that the city is evaluating plans to redevelop the centre to include improved cycle routes.  None of these appear to have been taken into account on the consultation drawing

For evidence where good cycle planning is provided, please see the attached Velo-City.  Please note that at peak times 41% traffic are bicycles while 30%  is public transport and only 24% is by car.  This is the strategy we introduced to the council 4 years ago and we ask that you amend this project to take account of this.

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