Update: One of the councillors has stated that the scheme has now been stopped due to feedback today and the council will be working with Chris Boardman’s team to develop a walking and cycling route along the length of Hyde Road! Fantastic news.
On the tables were plans of the road, as well as photos of the new bridge (below), and other schematics to do with the bridge and walls.
- Narrow the lanes to 3.25m and remove the central island. This not only frees up an additional 1.3m for the shared path which is space that can be used for a cycleway later, but also has the benefit of reducing traffic speeds which is vital around the crossing. 3.65m is the worst possible lane width for close passes on cyclists too, drivers think they can squeeze past without going into the other lane. Not only that, but a shorter crossing with no central island is better for pedestrians as they have less distance to cross, but also for traffic as the green man doesn’t need to be as long. This was what I was most adamant about and in fairness, MCC said this might be a possibility.
- Remove the stairs and add a ramp. A ramp is realistically not much more than stairs. The land is owned by Sustrans as far as we know. The council said it wasn’t possible to have a ramp due to land ownership, but they did not know who Sustrans was.
- Have continuous pavements over the side roads. The side roads are dead ends or low traffic. Continuous pavements would slow turning cars and give pedestrians priority over turning traffic. The MCC officers had never heard of continuous pavements and didn’t see the point. One said “why not have a zebra?” I said a zebra on each would be very welcome, but I didn’t see them spending the £20-40k for each one. Despite several of us explaining continuous footways and showing an example from as close to home as trafford, they were adamant that it’s not in the design manual and so can’t be done.
- Ensure the diversion is accessible. If there are any barriers on the ramps and underpasses that would discriminate against people with trailers, nonstandard bicycles etc, then remove them and replace them with single bollards. On the ride home along the Fallowfield Loop there were several access points which were easily accessible to motorcycles, so motorcycles should not be an excuse to make the diversion inaccessible. It’s already bad enough that a bridge crossing that takes 5 seconds currently will now take several minutes. MCC said this might be a possibility too.
Unfortunately this event gave me the impression that pretty much everything was set in stone. It wasn’t really a consultation at all. Despite the promise that lessons were learned from Great Ancoats Street and it would not happen again, the exact same thing is happening again. Cycling is being locked out because there isn’t the ambition to do it correctly now. I’d like to see the scheme put on hold, and Bee Network funding properly applied for so this section can be done. The people there did not know that Hyde Road is a future “busy bee” scheme and would need doing at some point, so it makes sense to do this section now.
I wonder when we’ll finally start to see all council schemes actually include cycling from the very start, and include locals too. The past few schemes (MSIRR, Princess Road, Great Ancoats Street) have not had consultations, they have had sessions telling us “we’re doing this”. I hope future schemes can be more inclusive.