Seven Dials, the missing bits.

Seven Dials is now finished but I think from what I can see, £1.2million of Cycle City Ambition Grant money bought cycling in Bath a new cycle-able door zone and a very exciting collision point outside Flan OBrien’s that is going to get somebody seriously injured. I also like the way BaNES painted in subtle hints that a contraflow may or may not exist enabling people to grumble about cyclists and how they are riding the wrong way up a road.

Let me explain.

The map of the zone.
The map of the zone.
The plan of the work. Note that Monmouth Street and New Street contraflows are not implemented. All contraflows are also poorly identified which will cause unnecessary conflict between cyclists and pedestrians.
The plan of the work. Note that Monmouth Street and New Street contraflows are not implemented. All contraflows are also poorly identified which will cause unnecessary conflict between cyclists and pedestrians. Note the obvious route/desire line along Westgate Building to Lower Borough Walls that could not be done as it was “too hard”.
Seven Dial original proposal showing Westgate Buildings contraflow. This is what the money was awarded for.
Seven Dial original proposal showing Westgate Buildings contraflow. This is what the money was awarded for.
View along Westgate building where the requested cycle contraflow was rejected as it was too hard too move a taxi rank and disabled parking.
View along Westgate building where the CycleBath requested cycle contraflow was rejected as it was too hard too move a taxi rank and disabled parking. This naturally flows down to Lower Borough Walls.
View from Flan OBrien's towards Westgate Street. Existing contraflow in place. Note tyre marks showing how tightly cars are taking the corner directly into the path of cyclists coming down the contraflow from Saw Close. Cars need a wider line of attack.
View from Flan OBrien’s towards Westgate Street. Existing contraflow in place. Note tyre marks showing how tightly cars are taking the corner directly into the path of cyclists coming down the contraflow from Saw Close. Cars need a wider line of attack.
Saw Close Contraflow. Note that the widened paving is unnecessary and a better protected cycle contraflow would have been better to protect cyclists from cars coming along Westgate Buildings.
Saw Close Contraflow. Note that the widened paving is unnecessary and a better protected cycle contraflow would have been better to protect cyclists from cars coming along Westgate Street.
The WTF moment. Saw close contraflow stops and cyclists erm...well they give way or something.
The WTF moment. Saw close contraflow stops and cyclists erm…well they give way or something.
The MISSING Monmouth Street contraflow. Not parking within the shared space. This needs should be a  No Parking 24/7.
The MISSING Monmouth Street contraflow. Note parking within the shared space. This needs should be a No Parking 24/7.
MISSING Monmouth Street contraflow into the shared space.
MISSING Monmouth Street contraflow into the shared space.
View from Trinity Street up New Street (Kingsmead square). No markings for the cycle contraflow.
View from Trinity Street up New Street (Kingsmead square). No markings for the cycle contraflow.
MISSING cycle contraflow on New Street.
MISSING cycle contraflow on New Street.
MISSING cycle contraflow on New Street.
MISSING cycle contraflow on New Street.
Hint of a cycle contraflow on New Street
Hint of a cycle contraflow on New Street
Cars parked in the unmarked cycle contraflow on Avon Street.
Cars parked in the unmarked cycle contraflow on Avon Street.
The cycle contraflow on Avon Street that SHOULD have been a RADICAL moving of parking into the centre of the street and creating a protected cycle track.
The cycle contraflow on Avon Street that SHOULD have been a RADICAL moving of parking to the left and using parked cars to create a protected cycle track.
Avon Street Cycle Contraflow almost clearly marked. Again missed opportunity to create a cycle track protected by parking.
Avon Street Cycle Contraflow almost clearly marked. Again missed opportunity to create a cycle track protected by parking.
The Combe Down Roundabout. Paint in red shows the cycle lane. This should be used (or something similar) to mark out explicitly the cycle contraflows. It's crazy not to.
The Combe Down Roundabout. Paint in red shows the cycle lane. This should be used (or something similar) to mark out explicitly the cycle contraflows. It’s crazy not to.
Cycle track protected by parking that should have been used on Avon Street
Cycle track protected by parking that should have been used on Avon Street

Things I would like to see happen

  1. Deliver the Monmouth Street Cycle Contraflow
  2. Deliver the New Street Contraflow
  3. Use “paint” to define the ALL cycle contraflows and paths clearly. This should also extend to existing cycle paths connected to the Seven dials. Either the red they used up at Combe Down or a more sympathetic colour. Then again tarmac is bloody awful looking so red might be really nice. This will also help with people walking to identify
  4. Use “paint” to define the safe route cars should take when turning up Saw Close from Westgate buildings. In theory this could be achieved with (3) however this might give the wrong signals to cyclists that they have right of way through a shared space. It’s the turning on the corner that is the issue. We need cars to take a wider turning circle.
  5.  Avon Street contraflow to be moved behind the parking and a protected cycle track to be installed.
  6. BaNES to begin the process to deliver a cycle contraflow along Westgate Buildings. It’s crazy that this is missing. It’s a natural desire line and part of the original bid.
  7. The projects team promised work to make the access from Monmouth Street to Charles Street better as part of this. Where is this?
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7 thoughts on “Seven Dials, the missing bits.”

  1. There is no disabled parking that would be lost in Westgate Buildings. There’s also a need for a mandatory cycle lane on lower Avon Street (alongside Bath College). Currently the contraflow lane is single yellow line and disappears under parked cars off peak (cars which must have accessed it from the Corn Street end through a No Entry’ sign).

  2. Re: London Road – In the last two weeks I’ve been at the sharp end of some serious pedestrian rage, as walking commuters shout at me for riding on ‘the pavement’ . Other than the entry point onto the lane opposite Snow Hill junction and some very subtle differences in the coloring/style of the paving, there are no markings or signage on the cycle lane to indicate that it is a bike zone, and this is causing confusion, frustration and anger among some rushing to work in the morning.

    Also, yesterday, there was some car debris on at the same entry point,that looked like another collision. I hope it was two cars rather than cyclist versus car.

  3. Correction: Two signs have magically materialised on lamp posts. They appear to show shared pedestrian / cycling space on the pavement,.. i.e the Bristol (take your life into your own hands walking to work ) approach. How does that work? But they are so high up on the post I doubt anyone notices them as they walk by.. I’d also like to stress that I was and always cycle very very slowly along that stretch of cycle lane as it is so hazardous,.. ho hum

  4. Note that I have had a response that indicates that although the council have stated that Seven Dials is complete this is the construction phase and not the on road cycle contraflows.

  5. I thought Kingsmead Square – separate project from Seven dials, was going to be pedestrianised – there is no reason why it should not be. It was being driven by K/Square traders. Seven Dials is certainly not complete and you have to wonder given that the project is funded by Cycling Grant, who decided that the cycling parts should be left out.

    The Council has a design team for highways and a sort of “arms length” implementation group led by Steve Frogatt, who often employ contractors to do the job. The council’s design team should drive projects but it is often the case of “the tail wagging the dog” with Steve Frogatt’s team making the design decisions.

    Time and again an old fashioned penchant for traffic lights is demonstrated, often with a waste of public money – examples are at the top of Ralph Allen Drive where we insisted on a roundabout, at Wessex Water on Claverton Down Road – on both of these we were told that a roundabout would not work, and outside the White Hart in Widcombe, where traffic lights were also proposed.

    Traffic lights cost around £200K and £5K annual maintenance. The roundabout at the top of Ralph Allen Drive cost £41K and this included renewal of drainage at the top of The Avenue. Too much duplication in highways. The council could easily employ outside traffic designers – plenty of good up to date local firms who know the area and get cycling – and employ contractors direct. There must be pretty substantial savings to be made here.

    The council also have a major projects team that should have control of major highways projects such as Rossiter Road. Sadly Rossiter Road was given to highways. None of this is rocket science and any private business could work out a better model.

    1. Have to admit, the penchant for traffic lights is somewhat crazy in Bath. They take up an immense amount of space (turning right lane needed). London Road should be redesigned without traffic light junctions. This would suddenly provide the space for protected cycle lanes. Cold Ashton roundabout is currently being traffic monitored. It would be useful to know the stats from that roundabout. It handles an IMMENSE amount of traffic.

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