The Northern Route; between Yelverton, Southway and Crownhill
This is a very important route into the city and the proposal would be for cycling provision at least as continuous as the road it follows, free from the fragmented, confusing, slow and complex cycle lanes in place now.
- The northern corridor into the city from Derriford down Tavistock Road then Mannamead road and through Mutley Plain is key for a number of reasons:
1. This is a major route into the city which is ideal for commuting by bicycle. Currently the fragmented nature of the cycle pathways is a major impediment.
- I strongly believe we need a cycle path to run along the A386 from plessy roundabout to Yelverton. Cyclists are on the road which is dangerous for them and quite frankly there is a wide area of verge which is perfect for using as a cycle track. It would make commuting much safer. A lot of people are out off cycling because the designated cycle route isn’t direct.
- I cycled from Woolwell to the City Centre via Milehouse recently. Notwithstanding the poor or non-existent standard of infrastructure, I didn’t see any signs indicating cycle paths on the narrow stretch of Tavistock Road between Runway Road and Derriford roundabout. The Northern Route description mentions a shared path through here (across Powisland Drive) – this is news to me. There was also no signage apparent on the inbound side through Derriford/Crownhill to show any cycle routes under the Manadon flyover, which from memory used to exist. I knew the route to be poor, but was surprised by how bad it actually is.
- The Northern Route: The actual cycle path starting under the flyover at Crownhill and leading up to MacDonalds and Windsor House is very ‘ tree root damaged and not a smooth running path – apart from the odd dead deer ( unfortunately seen on Wed morning and dealt with promptly by ‘the powers that be’ ) there are always shards of freshly broken glass on the path. Likewise, the state of Tavistock Road, leading – this time – from Crownhill towards Manadon roundabout, is shocking and very dangerous to cyclists. The cycling line is pitted with very deep and random pits, one of the pits has two black wires showing through the road surface, not sure what they pertain to.
- I feel that the section from The George to Plessy roundabout is adequate if a little narrow or disjointed. There is at least an off-road option and on-road the lanes are wide enough for cars to pass.
Plessy to the Dartmoor Diner is simply awful. On fit days I ride on the road and feel intimidated by the passing traffic, especially when some motorists view the hill as a “last chance” to overtake slower vehicles.
On slower/family rides I use the pavement that takes a lot of skill and is arguably less safe than the road with it being so narrow!
Between the Diner and Yelverton Roundabout is unpleasant. The road/commuter ride feels unsafe and intimidating. I have never experienced an accident (and in fairness I don’t know the safety stats) but the buffeting of trucks and buses and tight overtakes do nothing to enhance the experience!
I appreciate the Moor and respect the need for its preservation but I wonder just how healthy the flora and fauna is adjacent to this busy road anyway? I would support sacrificing a narrow strip for the development of a cycle path parallel to the A386 primarily for faster road rides/commutes but it would link nicely with the fantastic Drakes Trail & Plym Valley Line for MTB/Leisure/Family making a nice circular option in/out of the city for locals and visitors alike.
A flavour of what cyclists encounter from Yelverton to the City Centre.
Most commuter cyclists travelling in from Yelverton to Roborough and beyond use the main A386 which is very busy and dangerous. There are plans afoot to continue Drakes Trail from the top of the hill at Clearbrook and lead cyclists out to the Green Cafe or down into Bickleigh and then back up to the Plassey roundabout. I have ridden both proposed routes and in my opinion they are non-starters for other than a leisure ride. A dedicated cycle path could easily be laid alongside the A386 from Yelverton to at least the Green Cafe. Sue Jennings I believe is going to speak with David Incoll who may have further information on plans for that area.
From the Green Cafe one comes down the hill and through a cycle access route into Roborough village and then out alongside Tesco’s on a segregated cycle/footpath where at the Woolwell roundabout one is directed to the right across the road using the traffic lights and onto a shared path that leads across the junction for Boundary Place. The path narrows there opposite Turners of Roborough owing to vegetation encroaching onto the path. It is not signed as a shared path at this stage. The path then widens out on to segregated path alongside the Toby Carvery. There are 13 cycle lockers at the Park and Ride of which 3 are said to be in regular use. From the P & R ‘All Routes’ north for walkers and cyclists are shown back along the A386 on the Turners of Roborough side but within a few hundred metres the path comes to an end. The sign has probably been interfered with as all the signs in that area are attached to circular posts and can be moved around at will. They need a screw through the retaining band into the post.
Proceeding towards Crownhill one then has to turn down Southway Drive and cross using the green cycle and walking man controlled lights – four buttons and a lengthy wait at times. Most commuter cyclists use the main A386 roadway.
We then continue on the segregated path towards Crownhill but within a few hundred metres this comes to signs on both sides of the A386 ‘END OF ROUTE’. There is no option but to revert to the roadway unless one uses a narrow footpath on either side of the A386 but the hedges are often overgrown.
Keeping to the right hand side of the road we then come to a shared path, one sign on a post showing if you are coming from Derriford! This path is in very poor condition with some potholes and leads across Powisland Drive and Honeyford Close opposite the Mercedes Benz garage where it becomes very narrow. It is this section where improvements are planned but the path will still not link into the section leading from the Robourough junction. I am sure that with a little engineering the link could be made as without it cyclists will simply use the main road.
One then crosses Looseligh Lane, again using the lights, and we are then back onto a segregated path although the cycle lane has a green telephone junction box obstructing it somewhat which is dangerous in the dark. From the plans I see his box is to be moved.
We next have to negotiate the lights so that we can cross the access road into B & Q and M & S. Again this is time consuming.
Further on we have to be careful of cars entering and exiting the car wash and then immediately after that we have to cross the access road into McDonalds and Kwik Fit. More waiting at the lights.
We then continue down to Crownhill village and although there are no signs for the City Centre if one follows the cycle path to the roundabout in Budshead Road beside the police station you can follow the well marked path ( as a result of my request to Plymouth Watchman – although there is a little more to be done in the area) through two underpasses to Meavy Way and across the traffic lights at St Boniface Lane and on towards The Lawn where the route ends.
Unless one takes the A386 intending to turn left to Manadon roundabout or go across the flyover towards Morrisons and Outland Road you have to continue down the hill on a narrow road to join the Manadon roundabout or St Peters Road towards Honicknowle.
Beyond the roundabout one travels along Mannamead Road, Mutley Plain and North Hill into the City Centre. The only concession to cycling on this busy section is the provision of some lengths of Bus Lane!
The route northwards from the City Centre is just as bad. A cyclist using all of the cycle paths will spend an inordinate time waiting to cross roads or reverting to the roadway where there is no option.