Updated highways design guidance for Warwickshire

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Warwickshire County Council has released updated design guidance aimed at developers and designers for the creation of new or improved highways infrastructure. As part of this, the new guidance specifically makes reference to providing good quality cycle links and infrastructure designed in line with the latest guidance from the Department for Transport in LTN 1/20 (or its replacement should it be updated in the future).

One important section for cycling notes that “Developers will be expected to ensure that new developments are connected to the local cycle network by safe, convenient and attractive cycle routes to enable residents to cycle to town centres, rail stations, educational establishments and other key destinations. Developers should refer to current Government Guidance LTN 1/20 (or successor guidance) for designing high-quality, safe cycle infrastructure when planning their sustainable transport strategy”. (Bold emphasis added for this article)

Another paragraph is dedicated to the provision of dedicated cycling infrastructure, again noting that designs should comply with LTN 1/20 and that routes should be connected to the broader cycling network. This is all good and positive – though there is a “get out” where the guidance notes that shared use provisions may be appropriate at times (without specifically quantifying when it would be sufficient) and that designs should be “guided by the principles and design guidance” but designers should consult with the Transport Planning Unit to tailor schemes to specific local requirements.

On-route obstructions are also given similar treatment. The official line is that Warwickshire County Council “does not support the introduction of staggered guard rails as a method of reducing cyclist speeds at the interface between a cycle route and carriageway” and that other measures should be used such as signage and/or road markings. However, it does not make reference to the use of barriers for other purposes (e.g., prevention of unlawful access) and also notes that the use of barriers may be considered in exceptional circumstances.

The new document replaces previous local guidance that was last reviewed over twenty years ago in 2001. Overall, it is positive to see up-to-date standards for cycling being incorporated into the new Design Guide and this will be an important tool in, for example, consultation feedback. It will hopefully mean an end to awful designs such as the recently installed junction to the north of Higham Lane, Nuneaton (pictured under construction, above). It is now important that the Council takes on the spirit of this guidance to push for high quality infrastructure from developers and that it doesn’t simply revert to or accept the bare minimum such as 3m shared use paths.

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