Maghull & Lydiate’s ‘Berlin Wall’ & the ‘Bible’ of cycling infrastructure

In response to a previous posting about cycling infrastructure in Sefton Borough a Twitter responder (Clive Durdle) pointed me (and indeed Sefton Council) towards something called CROW. Yes, I wondered what it was too but after some Googling I realised it’s pretty much the ‘Bible’ for building cycle friendly/safe roads. And surprise, surprise (NOT) it’s a Dutch publication.

Here’s a blog posting about it:-

And here’s a link to the publishers – by gum it’s not cheap!

The new Alt JUnction

Of course, the obvious question is what manual were Sefton Council using when they designed the new junction in Maghull – A59/Northway-Liverpool Road South-Dover Road (The Alt Junction) – as I struggle to see how cycling through this brand new junction was considered at all! Frankly, I’ve yet to hear a good word about it from the pedestrians, cyclists or drivers whom I’ve spoken to. Yes, I realise it’s new and we generally don’t like change so we’re often sceptical about many new things, but this junction could start to become almost as unpopular as its much bigger brother just a few hundred yards away from it – I refer of course to the now infamous Switch Island ‘Home of traffic Accidents’.

The reason this new junction is important is because there are few crossing places across Maghull & Lydiate’s ‘Berlin Wall’ otherwise known as the A59/Northway dual carriageway (and even fewer safe ones) for pedestrians and cyclists. These are they south to north:-

* South end of Maghull adjacent to River Alt – A good pedestrian/cyclist safe crossing with traffic lights.
* The Alt Junction – Brand new but in my view far from being cyclist friendly & it’s a long walk for pedestrians.
* Hall Ln Junction – Pedestrians have high-level bridge to cross but it’s disability/cyclist unfriendly(steps).
* Damfield Ln Junction – Another high-level safe walking bridge but it’s disability/cyclist unfriendly (steps again).
* Westway/Eastway Junction – A pedestrian subway which cyclists are discouraged/banned from using.**
* Dodds Ln Junc’ – A good pedestrian crossing with traffic lights separate to the non-traffic lighted junction.
* Kenyons Ln Junction – Traffic lighted but no pedestrian phase & lights often do not recognise waiting cyclists.
* Robins Island – Traffic island with no pedestrian crossing facilities or safe access onto cycle paths.

The distance between the most southerly A59 crossing and Robins Island is @2.25 miles the vast majority of which is through two highly populated suburban communities, except the Kenyons Ln – Robins Island section. What’s more a large proportion of community facilities – Town Hall, Leisure Centre, Library, Frank Hornby Museum, Police Station, Health Centre, Industrial Estate, Recycling Centre, Main Shopping Centre and Lydiate Village Centre – are all on the western side of it. Maghull’s 2 railway stations being on the east side together with 2 of the 3 local high schools*. My point being, there are many reasons why Maghull & Lydiate folk have to cross this busy major road each and every day and the crossing facilities for pedestrians and cyclists are far from adequate.

We all know we should be walking and cycling more to help us to be fitter/healthier and of course to save the planet but the way Maghull & Lydiate has been set up/planned in effect encourages vehicle use simply because of the lack of safe/accessible crossing facilities associated with it’s very own ‘Berlin Wall’.

On that basis why has the most recently rebuilt junction on ‘The Wall’ been built with cycling facilities all but excluded? Has Sefton Council got a copy of CROW and if so is it simply gaining dust on a shelf in some out of the way storeroom?

* The local primary schools are split 4 on the east side, 5 on the west

** The pedestrian only subway looks like this:-

It could be adapted for pedestrians and cyclists like this one in York:-

I would be interested to hear what others think about shared space subways in cycling unfriendly Maghull, Sefton Borough or elsewhere.

2 thoughts on “Maghull & Lydiate’s ‘Berlin Wall’ & the ‘Bible’ of cycling infrastructure

  1. CJ says:

    Thanks Tony, good article that, and apologies I’m late to see it.

    First off, I hope you’ve emailed the SMBC Planning dept about this. But I also hope you email Simon O’Brien (the LCR cycling commissioner) ( He’s a really nice guy and I can safely say he is very ambitious in terms of what he wants to see, and the general improvement of standards, which you rightly raise in your post.
    I’d also like you to email the local Councillors and MP with regard to the Alt crossing, for a couple of reasons:

    1 – I’m not allowed to! (not a SMBC resident)
    2 – I’ve raised the issue of the new Aldi planned there with Bill Esterson and a local Cllr over Twitter a few months back. My main concern, naturally is two fold : Traffic is going to increase (induced demand) next to one of the busiest motorway junctions in the Northwest, and secondly, peds and cyclists are [again] going to get left behind.

    My main concern re cycling/walking is this: SMBC will receive a portion of S106 money from Aldi to spend on some sort of ‘sustainable infrastructure’ improvements. It probably won’t be much, but I don’t know. Perhaps a FOI request would settle that. Anyway, as you say, there is a Berlin Wall separating the proposed site (the former car showroom), so anyone from the Dover Road estate will be deterred from going there on foot/bike straight away, despite it being a 10/15 min walk for most people on that estate.
    Then on the western side of the wall, which is my main area of focus for the S106 money, there is a truly fantastic opportunity to finally – well and truly – revolutionise the whole area to the back of the proposed Aldi, aka the Jubilee Woods area, with – what would be – the creation of THREE new cycle routes.
    Let me explain them:

    1 – Dover’s Brook. Look it up on Google Maps (in satellite mode) and you’ll see how it runs parallel to The Crescent from where it meets Melling Brook and the TPT, down to the proposed Aldi site. The purpose of this route is to a) Open up access to Fouracres with the little cul-de-sac opening near the Brook (increasing permeability), and b) crucially, open up the Aldi to the Sefton Lane estate – both the employment area and the actual housing area (i.e. Gainsborough etc), inc Maghull High School. Further afield, it also opens up access to all the [horrible] new housing off Green Lane near Parkhaven. This is, of course, another new housing development aimed at the motorist, with no easy access to the TPT, even though it’s within a stone’s throw.

    2 – Melling Brook. This is not directly related to the new Aldi opening, but is long overdue. The idea here is for a new route to follow the existing footpath (the old railway) from the existing toucan crossing near The Pies bridge. This route not only gives that more crossing more purpose, but it also seamlessly links in the Moorhey estate with the TPT, Maghull High and the Sefton Lane employment area. It utilises an already well-trodden path as well as linking in with the footpath to east of the A59, where it meanders under and over the M58 to [eventually] the Canal, via Brewery Lane. What a great off-road connection that would be, hey? From Ainsdale to Melling/Kirkby in one direct line, all off-road. LCR: Are you listening?

    3. The TPT. Aka NCN 62. How overdue is the resurfacing of this path from near the River Alt towards Maghull High? And how well used is it? The answer: Very! We all know its very well used, of that there is no doubt. But just how popular? Well, according to Strava Metro, 4,530 cycle trips were made along this stretch last year – and that’s only counting people who use Strava to record their ride, i.e. its a *minimum* number. That’s compared to 1,250 for the previous year, which works out at an increase a 262% in the space of a year. Not bad for a crappy gravel path completely impassable to road bikes. Needless to say, this is a crucial link between the Brooms Cross Road severance and the long section north of Sefton Lane. It’s where the TPT badly loses its way, and is in desperate need of upgrading.

    To make life easier, I’ve created a Google Map to help visualise what I’ve outlined above. It also shows how this mini network has immense potential to branch out to other parts of the PROW network in order to create a truly world-class, cohesive, well-connected cycle network that stays well away from traffic. You’ll notice how, with a bit of engineering ingenuity, there is ample space to create a new path from the A59 toucan crossing all the way down to the Asda, which as we know is, from a Maghull perspective, is perhaps the most inaccessible supermarket that has ever been built if you want to access via walk or bike. Completely boxed in by two motorways and severed by the Alt and railway, it could not be more of a severance to those living on the Moorhey estate. In reality, as the crow flies, the edge of the estate is less than 700m from the Asda (less than half a mile!), and yet completely inhospitable to anyone who can’t drive. If we ever needed a bigger example as to how disastrous the British Planning system has turned out to be for society, this truly is the one. If anyone has any more obvious examples, please do let me know!

    This is the link:

    Please let me know if you have any access issues or difficulty viewing it at @buejoll on Twitter.

    Thanks, and please share with anyone who may be interested. Councillors and Planners are especially welcome!

    PS, if the above link doesn’t work, please try this:

    I’m still quite new to Google My Maps.

    • Thanks CJ, I have provided my ideas to Cllr. John Sayers a while back and I’ve also raised the incomplete cycle path on the A59 next to proposed ALDI site with Cllr. Tony Carr who is one of the ward ouncillors for that southern part of Maghull. Yes will share with Simon O’Brien, thanks for that suggestion.

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