Emergency Active Travel Fund – PCyC Response:

PLymouth Cycling Campaign’s response to the Herald article on Royal Parade proposals

In response to the Covid pandemic the government set up the Emergency Active Travel Fund and invited bids from local authorities. Plymouth received £249k in phase one and £945k in phase 2, which will be allocated to 11 projects in the city including Royal Parade.

The coronavirus will continue to affect our lives and how we get around, even after mass vaccination. Capacity on busses and trains has been reduced resulting in more car use, road congestion, air-pollution causing ill health and busier roads for cyclists.

Royal Parade
The Cycling Campaign welcomes the proposal for a trial closure of the eastbound carriageway of Royal Parade to all traffic except buses, taxis, motorcycles and bicycles. This is a step in the right direction, but the problems of how cyclists safely get to the city centre remain. From the North of the city both the Tavistock Road /Mutley Plain/ North Hill route and the Outland Rd. route are not cycle friendly. You should not have to be brave to ride a bicycle.

Cyclists question whether motorbikes should be permitted in these shared bus lanes, as their speed and acceleration is so different to cyclists.

Amongst the other measures announced:
– The campaign welcomes the installation of lighting on the east-west cycle route through Central Park. Unlit cycle routes through parks discourage many from using them after dark.

– Creating a new cycle path at the southern end of the Embankment from Arnold’s point, near the rowing club to Blagdon’s Yard will make this section safer and more attractive for walkers and cyclists. But the northern section of the embankment shared-use pavement south of Marsh Mills remains unfit for purpose with 2-way cyclists and walkers plus bus queues sharing a narrow pavement.

– Improvements to the Millbay Road roundabout at the entrance to the Ferryport are overdue. The port is the start of the National Cycle Network route 27 as well as the UK entry point for the Tour de Manche, a long-distance route to develop cycle tourism through Devon, Dorset, Normandy and Brittany. This gateway to the port creates a poor initial impression of Plymouth.

– Eight new cycle contraflows allowing cyclists to travel in both directions in one-way streets. These are very welcome, provided clear signage is installed for the benefit of cyclists and motorists.

-Installation of cycle detection equipment at 7 junctions, so that cyclists can be accurately detected at traffic signals and ‘call’ the lights. Currently some sensors under the road surface do not detect cycles, so this is welcome.

-Tackling physical barriers on walking and cycling routes is necessary. Removing barriers which prevent cyclists with trailers passing and reducing street furniture, sign posts and other obstructions are all to be welcomed.

So, overall these measure are welcome and go some way to making Plymouth a more people- friendly city.