How to Deliver Permanent Safe Cycling Routes Quickly
Glance through the pages of local newspapers across the country and you’ll notice some common stories – ones that discourage the growth of cycling as an everyday means of transport.
Typical issues include: poorly designed cycle lanes where drivers frequently park illegally and block the route; emergency pop-up lanes that create friction with businesses, taxi firms and some residents; and lanes that all but the most experienced cyclists don’t feel safe negotiating.
Most towns and cities urgently need permanent cycle routes that people feel safe using. These must reflect the reality of multi-modal transport. They must also be part of a transport infrastructure that promotes a cleaner environment while supporting local economies and communities.
The Advantage of Speed
Being able to put safe cycling schemes into effect quickly has a number of advantages. First, it builds on the momentum created by the Covid-19 pandemic. Cycling became more popular as people avoided crowded public transport. As this happened the benefits of cleaner air and less traffic became apparent. It would be a shame to lose this opportunity if people don’t feel safe cycling as traffic levels return to normal.
Rapid implementation also opens opportunities to integrate schemes with other highways projects. This saves time and cost as well as reducing the overall disruption for road users.
Rapid Implementation in Action
Osborne recently completed five safe cycling routes within a three month period. The schemes included the A500 Etruria Widening Cycleway and the A38 Uttoxeter Road in Mickleover, Derby.
Rapid completion was possible because of close collaboration with Highways England and supply chain partners. This enabled short design approval periods while controlling important risks that included:
- Lead in times for TTRO applications
- Availability of key materials
- Liaison with local councils, landowners and authorities
- The operational impact of COVID-19 on safe working practices and material supplies.
The A38 Uttoxeter Road Cycleway is a good demonstration of how this collaborative approach worked. The design included a new bridge parapet over the A38. Design and supply partners from our nearby A500 Etruria widening scheme were appointed to save time and ensure continuity.
Active team engagement quickly identified and resolved the design issues to avoid any surprises during the project execution. Progressing from an instruction for a feasibility study to a signed off permanent works design took under 3 months.
Trust and collaborative working are essential when rapid implementation is needed. Objectives must be clear and there must be robust identification and mitigation of the scheme risks. The recent schemes delivered show what is possible when these factors are in place.