COUNCIL PROPOSALS FOR A CYCLEWAY FROM KNOWLE TO SOLIHULL

The Society has formally responded to the proposals as follows:-
We fully support investment in the development of safe cycling and walking routes in order to achieve a long term reduction in car use.

  • We are cognizant that the emergence of e-cycles presents an opportunity for wider use of cycling for commuting, shopping and leisure journeys, providing people consider routes to be safe to use.
  • We recognize that a safe route for cycling from Knowle to Solihull Town Centre is in the above context highly likely to generate demand for use and achieve migration from car use to cycling, thus relieving pressure on Solihull Town Centre infrastructure as well as reducing carbon footprint.
  • Nevertheless, we consider that the proposals outlined in this consultation do not represent a satisfactory safe route along the Warwick Road between the Wychwood Avenue junction and ‘south of the M42’, which is a critical element of the proposal, for the following reasons:
    • The present cycle lanes along Warwick Road are not used generally by Knowle residents because they are not considered safe, the road being insufficiently wide for two large vehicles to pass confidently without straying into the cycle lanes. A high percentage of vehicles traveling between these points and vice versa currently fail to stay out of the cycle lanes and larger vehicles regularly do so along much of its length.
    • Placing temporary obstacles between the cycle lanes and the vehicle lanes, as proposed by the consultation, will not engender greater confidence for use. Whilst the aspiration may be to calm traffic, we foresee that the reality would be collisions between large vehicles and those barriers with a consequential risk to cyclists.
    • Confidence to use a cycle lane along this section will only be achieved if a more substantial barrier between cycles and vehicles is provided, for example, raised kerbs, which no doubt require a widening of the carriageway. Whilst recognising that this would be a far more expensive and permanent solution, we take the view that the provision of this temporary approach would be a fruitless deployment of public finance.
  • Furthermore, the option of an alternative route via Knowle Park and Newton Road between Knowle Village Centre and Wychwood Avenue would be wholly unsatisfactory. In particular, Newton Road is a narrower road than most in Knowle and any safe separation of cyclists and vehicles would be impossible to achieve.

Accordingly, we advocate that further consideration be given to this matter before proceeding.