The S4 scheme maintains 2 lanes in each direction, but generally does not provide for a central reservation. The lanes are considerably narrower than DMRB standards, being 2.75m each rather than 3.65m each. The official proposal had moderated this to 3.65m + 3.4m.
The clear evidence that this is sufficient width is the lack of actual problems in the existing road, where a total of 10.2m has accommodated 4 lanes of traffic (albeit over but a short stretch) without incident for many years. Such narrow lanes do not leave safe room for bicyles.
Our proposal includes specific provision for cyclists in the form of a shared-surface with pedestrians. We offer this in preference to a cycle lane in the carriageway, so that the kerb upstand will provide a real inhibition on speed.
If the 1.5m cycle lane width were added to the 2.75m traffic lane, the net effect may be little different to the regular DMRB lane and we fear that speeds would grow back accordingly. A further benefit is that the recommended 3m shared surface (we actually propose 3.5m to include "edge-shyness" and "road-shyness" allowances) is more economical of space.
Overview: Hall Lane & Towerlands (Map 1)
Since there are only 2 through lanes, bus-stops would be provided with lay-by spaces. With the lower speeds, it will be easier for the bus to pull out into the main stream than in more conventional arrangements.
Overview: Jubilee Dr & Marmaduke St (Map 2)
As well as the single through lane, there would be additional lanes for both right and left turning traffic.
Overview: Hall Lane & Towerlands (Map 3)
A pedestrian (Toucan) crossing at the high point, and on the natural route between Kensington Fields and St Mary's (or Kensington Fields and Kwik Save for that matter) is preferable to losing height to cross at either Marmaduke St or Mason St. Towerlands St is to be one-way, exiting Edge Lane only.
The kerb alignment and pedestrian island will prevent right turns for eastbound traffic.There is a concentration of cycle lanes here as it is the top of the hill. Cyclists will want to keep close to contour routes, such as following Empress Rd, Towerlands St and, to a lesser extent Hall Lane.
Overview NS4: Jubilee & Marmaduke (Map 4)
If the petrol station remains, it will be possible to use the right turn lane to gain access for west-bound traffic. (Whether it should remain, may be a different matter.) Inserting the right-turn lane will require shaving some land from the front gardens of the properties on the south side of Edge Lane. The total road width (including cycleways and footpaths) is slightly wider than the existing, and a smoothing of the curvature leads to some land-take on the north side of Edge Lane - comparabvle to that required by the LLDC proposal. Staggering the side roads prevents direct crossing for motor vehicles, but makes the pedestrian route more direct. We would envisage this as Toucan crossing.
Overview NS4: School Lane & Dorothy (Map 5)
The total requirement for carriageway (including right-turn lane), cycleways and footpaths is wider than the existing road here, and some land will be required from front yards of the buildings on the north side of Edge Lane, both east and west of Holt Rd. The front yards will have to be reconfigured, including rearragemnet of the stepped access in some cases. The rebuilding of these front-of propoerty structures offers an opportunity to signal the regeneration of the area.
We have biased alignment for Edge Lane to the south, so as to increase the pavement width in front of the Hindu Centre. This might be a suitable place for a public art work (balancing that on the south side of Edge Lane.) The exit of Botanic Road is narrowed, to make pedestrian movement along Edge Lane better. This makes a natural forecourt in front of the gates.
Overview: Botanic, Cameron (Map 6)
Extensive right-turning into these roads could be a problem for the main flow of traffic. It would be possible to prevent this by use of a central reservation. Botanic Place, however, is a short dead-and road, so the amount of traffic likely to turn into it is small, especially considering the numbers of vehicles desiring to turn right into it in the morning peak. Further: it can not be made one-way. It is worth seriously looking at leaving it unrestricted.
Deane Road is much longer, and might be seen as a route towards Kensington / East Prescot Road. If permitted, right turns into it would probably cause significant disruption. Strategies are to make it one-way (southbound) as indicated here or to provide a complete central reservation opposite it.(or a partial barrier, which could permit exiting traffic to turn right).
We accept that there are potential difficulties in this. For example, a textured (rumble) strip might lead to an unacceptable level of environmental noise for a residential area, particularly as the worst noise-effects may arise in the middle of the night.
Research will be needed or perhaps an experimental installation. Otherwise, the speed is managed, firstly by providing on-street-parking, which will serve as an inhibitor, and secondly by the use of co-ordinated traffic lights, so that a speed of 35 kph will be most beneficial to the driver.