Sherford-Plymouth Cycle Expressway
COMMENTS SUBMITTED TO PLYMOUTH CITY COUNCIL BY PLYMOUTH CYCLING CAMPAIGN RE A PLANNED ROUNDABOUT ON BILLACOMBE ROAD.
This proposal is bad news for the Expressway. Please feel free to use the points made in our submission below. The more comments received the better. You can continue to comment through June 2018.
The date for submissions on the PCC website has officially passed but you can comment via email to email@example.com
The plans can be viewed on the PCC website
This what we said:
We strongly object to this proposal which places the needs of motorised vehicles above those of users of sustainable transport. This is contrary to the policies currently espoused by national government.
The PCyC has worked with PCC over the last few years on the concept of a protected quality path between the City Centre and Elburton/Sherford as a major link in the Plymouth Strategic Cycle Network. We have seen our joint efforts rewarded in that there is now a quality shared use facility, 4 metres wide for much of its length, between the Old Laira Rail bridge and Broxton Drive. The plan is to continue this facility towards Elburton, with the next 300 metre section already planned and the final section currently aspirational.
This proposal, if passed, would see a major obstacle to this process. Although there is provision for a cycle lane (only 3.5 metres not the 4 m standard with additional footway), it is designed to direct cyclists travelling eastwards off the A379 into the new road to the housing development where they will have to wait twice at a double Pelican crossing before rejoining the A379.
Because the roundabout and the Pelican Crossings appear to be at a higher level than Billacombe road cyclists will face a diversion and a climb to reach the Pelican Crossing and a ramp will need to be provided. All this places an obstacle in the way of cyclists making good progress, important to the commuter cyclist.
The construction of this proposed roundabout could have a major impact on the eastward extension of the path. The proposed roundabout will be set to the north of the existing line of Billacombe Road and at a higher level. This could compromise the planned 300 metre extension to the existing route and therefore the onward aspirational extension to Colesdown Hill. Both these sections would be subject to a probable increase in costs and difficulty of construction.
The extension to Colesdown Hill has recently been the subject of an ecological survey, and my understanding is that it is expected that any ecological concerns can be overcome, as they have been on previous sites with similar issues. Plymouth City Council owns all the land involved.
We know that the prime reason for people not cycling as a means of daily transport is the fear of traffic, especially at junctions, and most of all at roundabouts, which are a real and perceived danger to cyclists. If cyclists choose to ignore the convoluted Pelican crossing route, and many will, they will need to negotiate a dangerous left turn lane for cars in order to progress eastwards along the A379 – an accident waiting to happen. Conversely, cyclists who are not willing to undertake this risk will face an unnecessary climb and a frustrating wait to cross two sets of lights. None of this is likely to encourage a greater uptake of cycling along this already overcrowded corridor.
Plymouth suffers badly from air pollution and this will be exacerbated by the additional traffic generated by Sherford and by the new quarry housing estate. This pollution will be significant in the approaches to, and on, Laira Bridge, an already polluted environment, so there is an urgent and vital need to provide safe infrastructure to encourage more people to cycle. Cyclists must be able to safely flow along this corridor if they are to play a part in making Plymouth a city with less pollution and a healthier population, not to mention reducing congestion on this busy route.
This proposal places a badly thought-out roundabout, presenting a significant obstacle to cycling, on this important route and will not encourage the modal shift away from cars towards sustainable transport which is the desired aim of local government, national government and international organisations such as the WHO.
ePetition: A petition to support the expressway
Please add your name to the hundreds who are calling for change
Sherford is a planned development of 5,500 homes 5 miles to the East of Plymouth City Centre. Planning consent has just been received and work is expected to start soon. Together with significant increases of housing in the South Hams, this is likely to increase pressure on the existing busy roads. the Plymouth Cycling Campaign has researched and proposed a dedicated cycle expressway linking Sherford to Plymouth and improving links to Plympton, Plymstock, Elburton, and Brixton.
The expressway would provide a viable route for cycling and mobility traffic free from cars, trucks and other motorised transport and with a separated pedestrian section. It would increase transport capacity without the need for new road building, largely following the line of the defunct Plymouth Brixton railway. At 5 miles, the distance between Sherford and Plymouth makes cycle commuting and travel a practical option, however the existing road links are likely to restrict cycle use to a minimum. The proposed new route is designed to link up with transport developments which are already going ahead, such as re-opening the disused rail bridge across the Plym at Laira. This will keep costs down and help to make sure the expressway links well with other cycle routes.
Plymouth City Council, Devon County Council and South Hams District Council have been involved in discussions on the development of the Expressway proposal. Plymouth Cycling Campaign is urging these authorities to seize this opportunity to achieve a major traffic improvement. As well as linking Sherford with the City of Plymouth, the route would meet the call for better transport links for the popular areas of Plympton, Plymstock and Elburton as well as Brixton and Yealmpton, avoiding the busy A379.
This proposal offers Plymouth and South Hams a low cost way to build for the future and deliver a project which would be amongst the most advanced in the country. You can help to make this happen.
Update; Details of the recent Stanborough Cross Proposal are here
What you can do
For this proposal to succeed we need evidence that the route will be used and that it would attract significant numbers of cyclists away from their cars. If you are someone who could be persuaded onto a bike if there is a fast segregated route let us know; add a comment below or show your support by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org. Then let your councillor and MP know; the more support the better
Support, questions, suggestions and objections are all welcome, just add a comment below or email
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