Local news website Nuneaton News has reported that works are due to start on the Calendar Farm* junction for the related new housing estate that has been under development in recent years. These works will involve widening the road, creating a “ghost junction” (right-turn filter lane), wider pavements, and new traffic control signals. They are expected to take approximately twenty weeks, however there is no mention of the proposed cycle scheme for the Long Shoot.
The original plans for the cycle scheme were under consulation at the start of 2021. That consultation closed in March this year but as yet there has been no formal update from Warwickshire County Council. A response to a Freedom of Information Act Request declined to provide updated plans and noted that the scheme is delayed with works expected to start in early 2022.
Without seeing these current plans, it is not possible to make definitive conclusions about the scheme. However, the commencement of this junction redesign (originally approved earlier as part of the housing development) appears to confirm that the cycle scheme here will not meet current design standards and that no major revisions have been made to this section of the scheme following that consulation.
This junction, and that with nearby Greendale Road, were noted to be issues with the scheme in my original review of the plans. The scheme loses its separation with pedestrians as it merges into shared use space, and crosses side roads under the control of toucan crossings – a poor experience on a major route where riders will be forced to stop and wait to cross side roads whilst main road traffic continues. Comments on this specific junction can be seen in that original article under “Issue 6: Junction for the Calendar Farm Estate“.
The Calendar Farm junction at least has one advantage over the Greendale Road junction – the crossing appears to be in a single phase, limiting awkward turns and crossing delays (Greendale Road features a refuge island and staggered two stage toucan crossing). Still, approach angles appear to be tight, visibility is unclear at this point, and there is noteable potential for conflict with pedestrians especially around the turn into Calendar Farm and waiting to cross.
While we wait to find out the broader final plans for the Long Shoot Cycle Scheme, it is certainly disappointing to discover that the County Council does not appear to have taken the opportunity to improve on the layout of this junction to better accomodate safe, conflict-free cycling both across the junction and turning into it. It stands out as being an outdated element of the new scheme before it’s even built. Ultimately it undermines the new cycle route where fast and confident riders may still prefer to remain in the main carriageway rather than be unnecessarily hindered by a badly designed junction.
Warwickshire County Council have stated that it hoped to release revised plans by the end of 2021 – a deadline that will evidently be missed – risking further delays to this important cycle scheme.
* As an aside, is it “Calendar Farm” or “Callendar Farm”? I’ve seen both on official sources. I’m using Calendar Farm in this and other articles but stand to be corrected.