The Infrastructure Programme Manager will be in attendance to provide the Panel with an update on the Linthorpe Road Cycle Lane.
RECOMMENDATION: that the Panel determines whether further information is required.
The Infrastructure Programme Manager was in attendance and gave a presentation in relation to Phase 1 of the Linthorpe Road Cycleway.
Building more roads to support more cars was not financially viable or sustainable and therefore alternative ways for people to move around the network were needed. Approximately 10,000 vehicles travelled along Linthorpe Road every day. 1.6% of those vehicles were cycles and cyclists were more likely to be involved in accidents and suffer injuries than other vehicle users.
Middlesbrough Council had worked with the Tees Valley Combined Authority (TVCA) on various different strategies and policies including the Local Cycling and Walking Infrastructure Programme (LCWIP). Based on TVCA modelling using WSP expertise the transport corridor between Middlesbrough town centre and Linthorpe village had been identified as one of the highest areas with propensity to cycle in the Tees Valley Region.
During the Covid-19 pandemic some of the parking bays on Linthorpe Road were closed to allow more space for social distancing. An option was put forward by the TVCA to construct a cycle lane. This proposal was progressed by Active Travel England and the Active Travel Fund and the road space was re-allocated in favour of pedestrians and sustainable travel. Government guidance on cycle infrastructure design: Local Transport Note 1/20 had been updated and provided advice on how to future proof roads and make them more sustainable and accessible for people to use.
In December 2020 to January 2021, Middlesbrough Council consulted on the implementation of cycle lanes on Linthorpe Road. Letters were sent to all premises directly affected and those in the surrounding area. Whilst the consultation was online, people could also write or phone to put forward their views. 71% of respondents were not in favour of the proposed scheme and some alterations were made which included some of the bus stops being retained and some disabled spaces being added. All respondents were informed of the proposed changes and no further comments were received. The final scheme received unanimous approval by Middlesbrough Council’s Executive in March 2021 and funding from the TVCA was approved in April 2021.
Following a procurement exercise, Cleveland Land Services were employed to carry out the construction which was initially anticipated to take three months. However, due to the discovery of hard ground conditions and old tramlines, as well as increases in material costs and supply, the work took six months to complete.
An additional signalised crossing was installed and existing crossings upgraded. Surrounding public realm areas were also upgraded and existing surfaces remediated. New cycle parking was also installed.
The project was finished in September 2022 within the grant allocation.
A query was raised in relation to the traffic orcas and whether they should have been used. With regard to light segregation there were a number of different options and the Council had chosen the traffic orcas in the first instance and followed the available guidance. The Council had listened to the feedback received and had made alterations by replacing 50% of the orcas with poles. No more accidents had been reported since the poles had been installed.
It was confirmed that all emergency services had been involved in the project through the consultation and had not raised any concerns.
A camera had been installed to monitor the uptake which had shown a 36% increase since the cycle lane opened in September. It was highlighted that there were likely to be seasonal variations in the number of cyclists and the longer term trends would need to be assessed. Comparisons would also be made with other areas across the Tees Valley to gauge the success of the scheme.
Since implementation there had been approximately 30 pedestrian trips reported, and around 5000 pedestrians per day used the area. There did not appear to be any pattern in relation to these accidents although many had happened adjacent to the signalised crossing points.
Approval for Phase 2 of the scheme had been given by Executive and was anticipated to commence in 2023/2024. Phase 2 would be fully funded by a grant from TVCA. Lessons had been learned from Phase 1 in terms of the materials and construction and hard ground areas known in advance of commencing works following a Ground Penetration Radar (GPR) survey. More crossing points would be added with high friction surfacing.
A Member commented that many households now owned two or three cars and cars were become very expensive to run. In addition the lead in time for buying a new car was now about 12 months. People were starting to look at different modes of transport and the new cycle lane was an excellent start.
The Chair thanked the Officer for his presentation.
AGREED that the information presented was received and noted.