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Hedge-blog: Southampton's bad cycle infrastructure design

1st March 2014

Southampton has produced a piece of cycle infrastructure at a redesigned junction which is spectacularly bad. Their video explains how to navigate it (they have disabled video embedding, so I can't add it to this page). They say, 'This video shows the correct use of the new Dutch-style junction of Itchen Bridge and Saltmarsh Road in Southampton.'

The main feature of the junction is that cyclists turning right are expected to do so in two different phases.

At the time of writing, the video has twenty 'dislikes' and no 'likes'. The comments on Youtube are about right. They include:

Skellum: 'Any junction that requires an instruction video to show how to use it has failed.'

Cab Davidson: 'This is not a Dutch style crossing for cyclists. It is, without any shadow of a doubt, the single worst new idea I have encountered in cycle facility design in years...'

James Ash: 'The design and idea of this junction are preposterously awful...'

Jon Spencer: 'I would question whether a junction that requires two cycles of lights for cyclists to navigate (when turning right) whilst other traffic clears the junction in a single cycle merits the description cycle friendly.'

Meanwhile, Cambridge County Council is showing how new cycle infrastructure should be designed - in consultation with cyclists, and without cutting corners. 

Cambridge is to spend £4.1m from its Cycle City Ambition fund on improvements to Hills Road (A1307 south east) and Huntingdon Road (A1307 north west), which are major arterial routes used for commuting. 

There are currently around 4000 cycle journeys a day on Hills Rd, and 2800 on Huntingdon Rd. 55% of accidents on Hills Rd, since 2008, involved cyclists, and 65% on Huntingdon Rd. The council wants to make it safer to cycle on these routes, and encourage people to commute by bike to work, college, and school. 

There is going to be a consultation between 4th March and 7th April 2014 on the scheme. There will be a new cycle lane on both sides of Hills Rd, and city bound on Huntingdon Rd. They want opinions on the different options, which are cycle lanes segregated by a kerb, lanes raised above the height of the road, but below the height of the pavement, or a combination. Either way, the cycle lanes will continue behind bus stops, so that stationary buses are not an obstacle to cyclists.

In my view, having cycled in Cambridge recently, they are a long way ahead of the rest of the UK in cycling provision. They're not perfect, but they are listening to cyclists, and making significant changes to benefit cyclists. Southampton should take note.

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