ACER response to WBC Woodley Cycleway Proposals
(Please note that since ACER’s submission, there has been a heated Woodley residents meeting and this particular scheme has been dropped, but will be replaced with a similar scheme)
19th February 2022
ACER, the Whitegates Residents Association, supports the concept of demarcated cycle lanes provided they are practical to use and there is a clear incentive to the cyclist to make use of them. ACER regrets it cannot support the current scheme as detailed below.
ACER notes that a major part of the route passes through Whitegates, from Woodlands Avenue to Church Road, then either down Palmerstone Road or Anderson Avenue to Culver Lane, then under the road and rail bridges to Palmer Park Avenue and Palmer Park, the last two of which come under Reading Borough Council’s jurisdiction.
1)The proposed one-way system approaching Woodley Shopping Centre will be seen as a disincentive to make quick shopping trips for many Whitegates residents.
2). The proposed two-way cycle lanes alongside the two-way section of Woodlands Avenue up to Church Road would not be conducive to cyclists, due to the number of junctions and having to negotiate special cycle crossings at Church Road, all of which could be avoided by cycling down the normal road and negotiating the roundabout at Church Road.
3).The pedestrian crossings across Church Road and Woodlands Avenue are very good news and have been needed for a long time, particularly for those escorting young children to St Peters School in Church Road, when the roads are very busy, plus Bulmershe school pupils.
4) The bund and bollards physical deterrents need to be retained in Woodlands Avenue to prevent sudden and costly incursions of Travelers onto Bulmershe Open Space.
5) The scheme will diminish the visual appeal of Woodlands Avenue and its avenue of trees, with the wide grass verges to be replaced with tarmac, thus making the road appear wider and more urban. Cars always tend to travel faster down wide roads, regardless of the speed limit. The proposed 20 mph limit will appear unnecessary and will therefore not be respected.
6) Palmerstone road (Option1) is very unsuitable for a cycle route. It is a cut-through route used throughout the day. Cars are parked both sides of the road, Cars often travel at speed and there is a blind bend at the top. Cyclists and two-way vehicular traffic will be competing for the same piece of tarmac for much of its length. The second risk area in Palmerstone Road is the exit to Culver lane, which is next to the corner shop where customers park. Their cars frequently block the view at the corner, thereby causing a risk to road users and pedestrians alike.
7) Anderson Avenue ((Option 2) is far more suitable than Palmerstone Road, as it is not on an all-day traffic cut-through route and it comes out at the end of Culver Lane, next to the rail and road bridges leading to Reading, thereby obviating the need for a cycle lane along Culver Lane from the high risk corner at the shop at the bottom of Palmerstone road.
8) To reduce the traffic flow under the Road and Rail bridges at the end of Culver lane to a single lane will be courting disaster. This isan extremely busy route in rush hours and there will be many drivers who will not give way to oncoming traffic, leading to stationary traffic and angry drivers. The cycle lanes will be used by desperate drivers, even if kerbs are erected.
9).Alltraffic coming from Reading towards Culver Lane has to turn right out of Wykeham Road, However the proposed road markings will make that very difficult due to the halted cars going towards Reading partially obstructing the turn when stopped at the give- way markings.
10) For cyclists to cross the traffic at the busy junction with Wykeham Road at the end of Palmer Park Avenue is high risk, due to motorists concentrating on negotiating cars and the junction, and therefore will not immediately register the presence of cyclists.
11) It is highly unlikely that Reading will approve the loss of residential parking outside the houses next to the bridge in Palmer Park Avenue. Residential parking for this street full of terraced houses is at a premium, even with the use of Residents Parking Permits.
In Summary, apart from the very welcome pedestrian crossings at the junction of Woodlands Avenue and Church Road, plus the suitability of Anderson Avenue as part of a preferred Cyclist route, there is nothing to commend this scheme, as the routes are not practical and there is no clear incentive to the cyclist to make use of them.