Cyclists blast 'embarrassing' new cycle track - which has trees in the middle
PUBLISHED: 16:25 23 September 2019 | UPDATED: 08:10 24 September 2019
A new cycle lane put in as part of a £2.75m Norwich city centre shake up has been branded as an "embarrassment" by a cycling group - because it has trees in the way.
Norwich Cycling Campaign has hit out at the Prince of Wales Road track - because it has tree pits in the track.
They say they are appalled at the "incompetent way" Transport for Norwich, a partnership between Norfolk County Council and Norwich City Council, is building the track.
They say it is not the high quality route which was promised and said it would be unusable.
But those behind the work say it is too early to pass judgement on the final scheme.
A spokesman for TfN said: "Comments are being passed on a scheme which is still under construction.
"The trees are at the edge of an extended pavement which will be levelled off providing a much wider area for cycling and the designs which were consulted on widely have passed all necessary safety checks.
"The London Cycle Design Standards acknowledge the constraints of the local environment and are applied to all Transport for Norwich schemes whilst taking the needs and safety of all users into consideration.
"The route is uphill and in a busy city centre location so is not designed to be used at speed, but seeks to minimise issues with pedestrians and parked cars whilst improving the overall appearance of the area, reducing our environmental impact and providing direct access to the city centre."
Richard Bearman, spokesman for the Cycling Campaign, said: "It is beyond belief that planners think cyclists or pedestrians will find this new cycle lane remotely acceptable.
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"This new route is likely to be very popular, providing as it does a contraflow along Prince of Wales Road and offering for the first time a direct route from the station to the city.
"But it is so obviously totally unfit for purpose. This is in a very high profile place and has the potential to become a defining meme for inept design.
"Spending thousands of pounds of public money on unusable facilities will make the council and our fine city a national laughing stock."
Richard Jennings, chair of Norwich Cycling Campaign, said: "Council Officers have repeatedly stated they are following London Cycle Design Standards, but nowhere can I find a statement that says a tree pit in the middle of a cycle lane is good practice.
"This design and construction should never have been approved by the Norwich Highways Agency Committee.
"Norwich has an increasing number of people cycling, improving their health and reducing air pollution for everyone, yet wasting public money like this is an embarrassment for the city."
Work in the Prince of Wales Road area of Norwich started in November last year.
The work has already seen King Street closed to traffic and changes made in Cattle Market Street and Rose Lane.
Direct links are also being created between Mountergate and Prince of Wales Road.
Overnight closures of Prince of Wales Road for further work started at the weekend.
More than £2.3m of the money for the scheme is coming from the first phase of the government's Transforming Cities Fund to continue improvements in the area.
There have also been contributions from the New Anglia Local Enterprise Partnership's Local Growth Fund and £235,000 from local developer contributions.