A recurring topic at the Liverpool Cycle Forum is Woolton Road, at some time in the past it was given non-mandatory cycle lanes which, as we all know, are utterly pointless and sometimes make things worse. However, the residents when asked have an overwhelmingly negative attitude to making it a mandatory cycle lane, and of course the council doesn’t have a lot of money to dedicate to infrastructure, so any solution has to be relatively cheap! At the end of this week’s meeting a member of the forum asked if I would enquire amongst the readers of this blog for any suggestions. It’s not a part of the city I really know, so with today being a very fine December morning I decided to take the opportunity to head over to that side of the city and have a look.
Here it is in streetview, it’s 2 miles long so my photos don’t cover much of it, so it is definitely worth viewing in streetview for a better idea.
My first problem was deciding what the road was for, in a typically British way it seems to fall somewhere between what the Dutch would call a distributor road and a through road. It is 30mph, it is on a bus route, it has a school, a small university campus and a couple of rows of shops, and lots of houses. The roadside varies from quite narrow to very broad, but in many places it includes large trees. On a Saturday morning it seemed relatively quite and although there were plenty of cars parked in the cycle lane there were also long stretches without any. However the proximity of the university campus makes me think it would be a different story on a weekday.
Click on the images for bigger versions.
Above, boulevard like amounts of space to play with.
But less so further on.
As we approach a row of shops more cars appear in the cycle lane.
On both sides of the road the cycle lane moves out around the offside of the parked cars and straight through the door zone.
This could be a wonderful dutch style roundabout but only at the expense of reprofiling the approach roads and shifting it to the right a little.
A familiar site at any significant junction, more ‘gave up’ than ‘give way’.
On the opposite side of the road, residents have parked cars fully square on the pavement, blocking the entire pavement despite having space in their drives. It leaves the cycle lane clear but any pedestrian, wheelchair user or parent with pushchair has to decide whether to take to the safe but waterlogged verge or the dangerous but smooth road to get past the obstruction.
Further on more cars parked in the cycle lane but also mounted on the pavement, more shops up ahead.
Down near the school, more cars and a bus stop, more residents parked fully on the pavement.
As I say it is my first visit to this road and there are clearly many different challenges to overcome before this can be considered a workable safe cycle route. On first impressions I don’t think it can be done without spending significant amounts of money and the council either proves it is committed to cycling by providing the money or it doesn’t and nothing ever changes, cycling’s modal share doesn’t increase and we hope nobody ever dies here, but as a wise man once said, hope is not a strategy.
So, to the old hands and wiser heads, is there any middle way through this problem?