One Small Step…

…and they remembered to put the dropped kerbs in this time.

Out in Bandit Country, in the People’s Democratic Republic of Westfield, a new little bit of pedestrian/cycle infrastructure has just been installed.

It’s a new Toucan crossing, replacing a Zebra crossing, over the A367 Wells Road. You can see the old Zebra crossing in the Google satellite view, below.

Screenshot 2016-03-18 13.12.44

The reason for installing a Toucan was, at first, a little unclear as to how cycle users were expected to use it.

Approaching from the Radstock direction…

2016-03-18 12.21.31

…no obvious indication that this is cycle infrastructure.

More becomes clear from a different angle…

2016-03-18 12.22.15

Cycle users appear to be expected to mount the footway via the dropped kerb by the grey grooved paving slabs – note the “shared use” sign beyond.

So, it would appear, here, that the intention is to attract children from the Waterford Park area with a safer route to the nearby schools, all of which are on the North side of the A367.

2016-03-18 12.22.41One suspects that the “desire line” after crossing will be to continue through the Methodist Chapel car park, as has been the norm for the past several decades.

However…

2016-03-18 12.22.59…the footway opposite has been designated “shared use”. Note that the black cabinet there makes the 90 degree turn a bit more awkward, thus ensuring that the “desire line” through the (private) car park on the right of the picture more likely to be used.

The purpose of the next bit is unclear.

The road markings are suggesting bike users take a left turn down a new bit of path into Wesley Road here. Quite why anyone would bother because the junction into the housing estate is a few yards further back, just beyond the bus bay. A minor detail and rather pointless. But at least a dropped kerb has been provided.

The purpose of the new little bit of path becomes more obvious here…

…enabling children to access the new arrangement a bit more safely.

So, in summary, a potentially useful little bit of infrastructure which gives youngsters and others a bit more mobility than before. It’s a bit messy with the shared footways which will always cause conflict, but nothing more than we can expect from British highways planners who continue to have minimal budgets and scant understanding of how cycles are used in everyday trips.

” A bicycle way that is not safe for an 8-year old is not a bicycle way.”. – Enrique Peñalosa.

 

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