Over the past few weeks, we’ve been contacted by residents and road users of Stanningley about the new road layout in Stanningley Bottom following the completion of the works there. Residents have been concerned about the width of the carriageway, the junction near Richardshaw Lane and the lack of road markings through the area.
Space is limited through Stanningley Bottom and the changes made are intended to provide a better balance between the needs of people travelling through the area, the needs of local businesses, and the well-being of local people. There is insufficient space for a fully segregated cycle track and the alternative design of ‘shared space’ was taken as a design option for Stanningley Bottom following a series of consultations with residents and business owners.
Instead of segregating bikes, cars and pedestrians, the scheme aims to reduce speeds through the area by narrowing the lanes, removing road markings and road signs, and introducing a junction with ‘roundels’ instead of traffic lights or roundabouts. These provide a combination of psychological measures to influence driver behavior to establish an environment which takes the attention of drivers away from road markings and signage and reliance on signals and allows them to make their own decisions by reading the situation. This reduces speed without causing significant traffic delays – the optimum speed to move the highest number of vehicles through an urban area is not high, at around 20mph.
Similar schemes, such as one in Poynton town centre have been successful in both these regards, as well as improving the place, exchanging noisy traffic accelerating through the junction with slower, more consistent and quieter traffic – which has had a positive effect on local businesses, who’ve seen an increase in footfall. Accident statistics from Cheshire East also support that the junction has been made safer by reducing the number of accidents deemed ‘serious’ – dropping from 6 incidents in the three years before the scheme, to no reported ‘serious’ incidents since completion. There was little change between accidents deemed ‘slight’ pre- and post-implementation. To compare, in the 4 years from 2011-2015, there has been 5 serious accidents and 15 slight accidents in the area around Stanningley Road and Richardshaw Lane.
This video below is worth a watch to see the before/after effect of Poynton's Shared Space.
We understand that the changes are currently unfamiliar and this may take some time to adjust to for those who’re used to it in a previous form - there is also some extra signage to be installed to mark the start of the shared space which will feel more like a 'Gateway to Stanningley'. As with any scheme, the area will be subject to scrutiny and this scheme in particular is the first to use the ‘roundel’ concept at a major junction. The safety of the scheme has undergone a safety audit from an independent team and following completion, a further audit will take place. Recommendations will be considered for implementation and further safety audits will be undertaken, 12 and 24 months post-completion – which will review any available accident data.
CityConnect isn’t just about building the cycle route. The Stanningley Bottom scheme is about improving places: streets busy with fast through traffic, pollution and noise are not places where people want to spend time. The shared space scheme in Stanningley Bottom is a first step towards this