Cycling Fail for Junction Redesign

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Between the villages of Ansty and Shilton, near to the north-eastern border of Coventry, the B4029 meets the B4065 – a rural junction that was originally a straightforward uncontrolled T-junction arrangement. For cycling, it was noteable for me at least as travelling northbound presented as a significant climb, making for slow progress in traffic; rarely heavy when I would ride, but potentially including larger vehicles. Still, I found it manageable, though would always wish for some infrastructure to take the pressure off the climb.

In 2022, Warwickshire County Council Highways redesigned the layout. Instead of a basic T-junction with a one-up, one-down arrangement on the B4029, the road would be widened to provide three lanes – northbound to turn left, northbound to turn right, and southbound – and traffic signals. Dedicated lanes were also provided on the B4065. However, NO infrastructure for cycling was provided. Not even painted lanes and advance stop lines (ASLs; much as I’m not keen on them). The notion that anyone might travel by cycle here has been entirely ignored by the County Council – despite the adjacent golf centre, nearby industry and hotels, and it forming a useful route to Coventry’s Coombe Abbey Country Park, Brinklow, and Rugby for those who wish to ride further afield. While Strava may have a sporting bias, its Heat Map clearly shows these roads as well-used routes.

Strava Heat Map showing a bright, near-white line along the route of the B4065 and B4029, across the junction near Ansty. Other nearby roads are darker, indicating that this route is well-used.
Strava heat map showing a well-used north/south route on the B4065/B4029 near Ansty

The junction redesign was surely an opportunity to provide some reasonable infrastructure to assist cyclists moving through the area – if nothing else, a cycle lane on the northbound (uphill) section would have been useful, to allow riders to move slowly without the pressure from motor traffic, and to be able to stop if need be. Instead, I would go so far as to say the new layout is worse for cycling. When travelling northbound on the B4029 to join the B4065 towards Shilton, riders must now take the centre lane – a much more intimidating prospect with the risk of vehicles cutting across a rider’s path.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uUP5f4RxGHs
B4065/B4029 Junction – Before and After the Redesign (June 2020 vs January 2023)

There is one improvement – the removal of a traffic island on the B4065 east of the junction which presented as a pinch point and could be a source of conflict between cyclists and drivers. But as far as I can see, that is it. Everything else is bad.

As far as I recall, I didn’t see the plans for this design before development and so missed the opportunity to object on the grounds that the Highways Authority has entirely ignored active travel here. Whether that would have done any good is questionable of course, though I do know of at least one local road design in Nuneaton has been postponed due to a need to revisit cycling facilities. Still, it looks like we’ll be stuck with this shambles for the foreseeable – unless someone appropriately senior sees sense and commits to revisit the junction and retroactively provide at least some infrastructure to improve cycling safety and attractiveness here… but I don’t see that happening!

Throughout 2022 we’ve seen positive signs of Warwickshire’s apparant desire to improve cycling, including draft versions of its Local Walking and Cycling Infrastructure Plan, and a new Local Transport Plan (though neither of these have been finalised yet), so the notion of providing better infrastructure is clearly there, at least with some in the local authority. However, we are evidently a long way from seeing on the ground improvements. If Warwickshire wants to be taken seriously as an county that has a commitment to providing for non-motor transport, it has got to demonstrate that commitment and confine abominations like this junction to history.

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