In 2017 a group of Letchworth cyclists came together to produce a proposal for a cycle network in Letchworth. Recognising that implementation of a complete network would take some time, the cyclists behind this proposal have been influencing local planning bodies to encourage them to incorporate elements of this network into their plans with the long term ambition of seeing a completed network.
Transport planning involves balancing the needs of different groups and in 2018 Herts County Council launched the concept of Sustainable Travel Towns, encouraging the redesign of towns transport networks to increase the proportion of sustainable transport journeys. This new vision for transport provides a big opportunity for providing safer walking and cycling routes.
The initial cycle network proposal for Letchworth was made with the expectation that it would be hard to get support for reducing the space available for car travel, and so on busier roads opportunities for segregated cycle lanes or shared path and cycle tracks were proposed. However, if there are opportunities for parts of the road to be re-allocated to cycle lanes this could provide a more cost effective, and therefore quicker way to implement a cycle network.
Letchworth was built before car ownership was common and so there was no need for segregated cycle provision as cycling on the road would have been relatively safer than today. The growth of the car has led to some issues for Letchworth’s transport network which include:
a) busy roads, that many do not feel are safe to cycle on; evidenced by the number of cyclists observed to use the pavements.
b) heavy on-street parking, which on some roads only leaves sufficient space for one stream of traffic or very tight passing, for example, Cowslip Hill, Ridge Road, West View, Icknield Way.
If a shift can be made to sustainable transport, roads that may currently be challenging to cycle may quieten, allowing them to be incorporated into a cycle network without any changes. However, there are some key roads and junctions that will need to be redesigned to persuade sufficient people that cycling and walking are a safe option.
To help move Letchworth forward we want to explore some of the roads and junctions whose redesign should be included in a sustainable transport plan and to produce proposals that would address the concerns of walkers and cyclists whilst leaving an acceptable network for other vehicles. To this end we are going to explore the ‘tricky’ roads and junctions on the proposed cycle network one at a time, showing the proposal from the initial cycle network plan and inviting other ideas on how the area could be reconfigured. We start below with Broadway Gardens and will gradually post up other junctions. Email us with your thoughts on which junctions and roads you would like to see discussed and to share your ideas for how to improve a junction / road. We will collate these with the aim of sharing our findings with the planning authorities.
(You can click on the Road /Junction name to download a copy of the junction picture). Maps source is OpenStreetMap.
Current Issues: Difficulty crossing to gardens at busy times, cyclists not always seen by motorists pulling out onto roundabout and motorists stop to let pedestrians cross which causes confusion and can put them at risk.
Initial Idea: Between Sollershott Circus and Broadway Gardens a two way cycle lane should be introduced on the grass verge on the east side (this does not interfere with the school and involves less crossings at the roundabout to reach Spring Road through to the A505). Install a pedestrian / cycle crossing onto Broadway Gardens between Broadway and South View and provide a cycle lane round the outer perimeter of the gardens on the Library side with crossings from the gardens linking to Gernon Road, the central reservation path to the station and the cycle lane through to Broadwater Avenue.
Alternative 1: Keep the existing cycling lane on the west side of Broadway as well as adding one to the east between Sollershott Roundabout and Broadway Gardens.Turn the flower bed island at the south end of Broadway Gardens into a traffic island which links new pedestrian / cycle crossings from the east and west side of Broadway to the gardens. South side remains as in initial proposal.