The Stretford Cycleway has been a long time coming, it now seems an age since it was first discussed at the Trafford Cycle Forum. Its origins are from a very different time, prior to Greater Manchester having a mayor or cycling and walking commissioner and Trafford Council changing leadership. Funding was from the old CCAG2 pot, with the financial limitation having quite an impact on the scheme.
Well, I’m pleased to say that work is now finally under way on Talbot Road and Stretford Road. With the works on Stretford Road more advanced, probably due to them being more significant.
Work has just started on Talbot Road, with patches of the existing cycle lane being resurfaced. This is very welcome news.
All through the planning stage, we kept raising that the Trafford Cycle Forum that it was key that the road surface was improved before any segregation was introduced. Trafford and Amey were very noncommittal on this, so it’s great to see it going ahead.
At the moment, just the section between the Chester Road and Great Stone Road junctions is being worked on, on the inbound side of the road. It’s unknown what the scope of the resurfacing will be, though I hope it includes the outbound side as there’s some particularly bad sections on that side too.
The following are the designs for Talbot Road section of the Stretford Cycleway. Download the original PDFs.
As I mentioned, the work on Stretford Road is at a more advanced stage, most likely because the work is more significant, with parking bays and bus stop bypasses featuring on the plans.
Starting at the junction with Chester Road, minimal improvements have been carried out at this point. I believe this is due to the upcoming West Point scheme to improve this junction, by introducing a two stage right turn for cycling. This will definitely be welcomed by less confident riders as it currently can be challenging to get into the right turn.
Not far from the Chester Road junction is the first of the bus stop bypasses. While this is a welcome addition, it definitely feels like it’s been done on the cheap. The cycleway is quite narrow, the angles are sharp and there’s only paint to separate the cycleway and footway. I can only assume it’s been done this way for financial reasons.
Further on, there’s a section where the on-street parking has been moved out to provide a cycleway with parking protection as well as Wand Orcas, which haven’t been fitted as yet.
Although the parking bays have been painted on. Drivers are obviously unsure what to do and are parked in what used to be the old bays. Hopefully, this should stop once the Wand Orcas have been fitted.
Wand Orcas are due to be used along both Stretford Road and Talbot Road. These are classed as light segregation as they are cheaper and easier to install than fully protected kerbs, which require much more significant work. They are obviously not as robust as fully protected kerbs, but they have their uses, particularly where there’s limited funds available or as part of a trial scheme.
I would have preferred to have seen fully protected kerbs on the Stretford Cycleway, and given the resurfacing work that’s now being carried out as part of the scheme, maybe kerb protection could have been included after all? But there clearly wasn’t the appetite at Trafford Council at the time to do better. Hopefully, with the new leadership, times have changed.
There’s two key issues with Wand Orcas I can see and that I’ve raised previously. First is the question of how robust they’ll be long term, particularly next to parking bays, where they’re more likely to be hit. The second is the spacing of the Wand Orcas on some parts of the scheme, which leave enough room for vehicles to be able to still park in the cycleway.
Both of these issues can be addressed longer term, so I’m not too worried. I’m hoping with Beelines coming along and with a different attitude at Trafford Council, there’s scope and access to funds to refine Stretford Cycleway after it’s been completed. I also hope we get some action from Trafford Council on enforcing double yellows along cycleways.
The next bus stop bypass has had much more money spent on it, and it shows. There’s clear separation between the footway and cycleway and the angles approaching and leaving the bypass appear to be much more forgiving. This bus stop bypass has parking bays before and after, so we’ll see how well this works once it’s completed.
As you carry on, the cycleway weaves about to make way for more parking bays. Overall, this is fine, though some of the angles look a little tight.
Carrying on further, there’s another bus stop bypass that’s currently being constructed. This one is one of the better types with clear separation. The island is quite narrow, so the bus shelter will remain on the main footway, meaning people will cross the cycleway to board a bus.
This configuration seems fine to me, though I wait and see what others think of it. There’s a possibility of conflict, but as there’s a clear crossing point, I think it should be fine.
While looking at the construction here, it’s possible to see that standard kerbs have been used, which is a shame. Using more forgiving sloping kerbs would have enabled the full width of the cycleway to be used. This is quite important as the cycleway is quite narrow at points. Particularly when the Wand Orcas have been added, as they will take space away from the cycleway.
At this point, there’s nothing much more to see on the inbound side of the Stretford Road. Crossing over to return, you can see that a new mandatory cycleway line has been painted on. But at this stage, that’s all there is to see.
The following are the designs for Stretford Road section of the Stretford Cycleway. Download the original PDFs.
While the Stretford Cycleway has always been a less than perfect scheme, I’m pleased to see it going ahead. I still think it would have been better to hold off and push for additional Beelines funding to make it better. But if we need to build it now and improve later, then I can live with that.
There’s still areas that need improvement, including the Great Stone Road junction on Talbot Road and the section between White City Way and Seymour Grove. The latter has been included in the first batch of Beelines schemes, which sounds positive. Though talk of shared space for cycling and walking is less positive.
The question still remains whether the work carried out will persuade people not currently cycling to cycle along here, probably mostly as part of a commute. As the scheme stands at the moment, I’d say not without improvement at either ends.
The Chester Road / Talbot Road junction where the Stretford Cycleway starts is significant barrier that needs addressing. This is a well known problem, as you can tell by looking at the number of comments on the Beelines map.
Where the Stretford Cycleway ends at the Manchester border in Hulme is also a significant problem. While the plan is connect this up to the Chorlton Cycleway, it’s not much use if you want to continue along Stretford Road to reach Oxford Road, which many people do. This is a good example where Beelines needs to be able to break through council boundaries to deliver joined up routes.
My other half would love to be able to cycle to work on Oxford Road, but is put off by the roads and the experience of one of her colleagues who was significantly injured when he was knocked off his bike on Stretford Road, Hulme in a dooring incident with a parked car.
Though overall, it’s just great to see something happening for cycling in Trafford. I’ll return and update on progress over the upcoming months.