This is part 3 of 4 posts looking at the Wilmslow Road Cycleway, covering Fallowfield to Rusholme.
The other posts can be found here:
Fallowfield to Rusholme
Heading towards Rusholme past Owens Park, you’ll notice no changes to what was there previously. So you’re faced with same old problems of dodging buses and parked cars. Indeed, as I passed, there was a parked car blocking the cycleway, probably someone in one of the shops. I hope there’s changes planned for here, possibly waiting for the redevelopment of Owens Park. Certainly, given the history of accidents here, changes are needed.
Once you reach Platt Fields Park, the new cycleway starts. This is made up of a mixture of dedicated cycleways, taken from the existing pavement and shared-use paths. The route switches between dedicated cycleway and shared-use as you ride, seemingly at random.
It’s not entirely clear why it switches to shared-use at some points. I can see it’s necessary where the established trees are, due to the lack of space or a direct route through, but there’s other sections where it switches to shared-use for no apparent reason.
At the crossing for example, you approach on the dedicated cycleway that switches to a shared-use path for a few metres, then back to a dedicated cycleway, all for no apparent reason.
All this adds up to a lot of confusion for people walking and cycling, particularly as the cycleway isn’t painted, so it’s not always that clear where you’re supposed to be.
Most of the cycleway has been resurfaced to a good standard and sloping kerbs have been used to separate it from the pavement. The angle is quite forgiving and shouldn’t cause any problems if you accidentally hit it. Where the cycleway is against the wall of the park, there’s a bit of a camber, but this shouldn’t cause a problem.
There’s a couple of sections near the trees where there’s not been any resurfacing done and what looks like there’s some temporary looking tarmac ramps. I’m hoping there’s plans to finish these areas off. There’s also some examples where there’s dropped kerbs for the pavement but not for the cycleway.
On the southbound side of the road, there’s a section of advisory cycle lane with diagonal line cutting through it, that’s been dubbed the ‘racing line’ by some. Why this is there I don’t know, but it causes confusion over who has priority and will likely lead to an accident. This needs to be removed.
The two bus stops near Platt Lane have both been bypassed, which is good, but what isn’t good is the way the exit from the bypasses puts bikes into direct conflict with traffic at pinch points. These are just unsafe and need urgent review.
Overall, there’s good intentions behind what’s been done here, but it’s unfortunately let down by the execution. The constant switching between dedicated cycleway and shared-use just causes confusion. Judging by what I saw, most people on bikes are ignoring the new infrastructure and choosing to ride on the road and many pedestrians are walking in the cycleways.
Again, it seems like budget constraints have got the better of the plans here. This mostly leads to an unsuccessful implementation, and in the case of the bus stop bypasses, a dangerous one.
Back to part 2 – Withington to Fallowfield
Next to part 4 – Rusholme