Maghull/Lydiate – Cycling the A59/Northway

This is a subject I’ve blogged about quite a few times previously. It’s one where progress is being made yet some confusion seems to surround it (as well as some significant gaps) so I’ve taken up a number of queries with Sefton Council once again. Here’s the current situation as I understand it to be:-

Starting at Switch Island the cycle path/track has been upgraded over almost all of the stretch to the traffic-lighted junction with Liverpool Road South (Alt Junction) yet odd things have clearly not been done. There’s a stretch of maybe 100 yards over the River Alt where the track/path has not been widened yet either side of this isolated stretch has been. Moving towards the Liverpool Road Sth junction there’s no signage showing cyclists how to safely cross L’pool Rd Sth to access the safe cycling route (or for drivers to be aware too) along the service road to reach Hall Lane junction.

When you reach the Hall Ln junction, having used the service road, again there’s no signage for cyclists to access the recently widened footpath/shared pedestrian/cycle space northwards towards the newly rebuilt Damfield Lane junction. Indeed, there are no signs to say that the widened path is indeed a shared pedestrian/cycling space.

Looking southwards towards Maghull Town Hall/Hall Lane junction with the new and widened shared space path.

There’s presently no cycle track/path north of the Damfield Ln junction to the Westway junction so we’ll leave that section out for now pending Sefton Council finding the resources to provide such.

North of the Westway junction there is a safe cycling route, again using the A59/Northway service road, to the Dodds Ln junction and beyond that but not as far as the Kenyons Ln junction so there’s another missing link. An aside here is that a traffic engineer tells me that they’ve tried to tweak the traffic lights at this junction so that the pressure pads better recognise cyclists.

Kenyons Ln junction

North of the Kenyons Ln junction, again there’s no safe cycle facility to the next junction at Robins Island, however, whether I like it or not (and I don’t) the agricultural land abutting this section of the A59/Northway (known locally as ‘Tyson’s Triangle’) is to have a new housing estate built upon it. However, the silver lining here is that it throws up the distinct possibility of Sefton Council being able to negotiate with the developers via what is termed a Section 106 agreement. It means the developer will need to pay for some local infrastructure improvements and I’ve thrown my two penneth in along the lines of some of that money being used to create a safe cycling route between Kenyons Ln and Robins Island. I’ve also asked Sefton Council to extend the cycle path, which is already in place north of Robins Island, back into Liverpool Road so that cyclists are no longer forced to use either the pavement or Robins Island. This is really a minor piece of work but it will make a significant difference for cyclists.

So there you have it. The goodish news is that I’ve been able to engage in a dialogue with some of the traffic/highway engineers at Sefton Council to discuss these issues and I’m pleased to say that we seem to be on a similar agenda. Indeed, I was delighted when one of the engineers told me that he is a fellow cyclist so he clearly understands things from a cyclist’s perspective.

I don’t know how long it will be before there’s a clearly built and signed cycle track/path alongside the whole of the A59/Northway corridor from Switch Island to the West Lancashire boundary, which is just north of Robins Island, but I’m more hopeful than I have been for a long time that the campaign to have it constructed is making slow if steady progress.

More news when I have it.

2 thoughts on “Maghull/Lydiate – Cycling the A59/Northway

  1. CJ says:

    Tony, thanks for contacting SMBC, and I’m glad to hear they got back to you. My experiences have been somewhat mixed over the years. They do seem to be aware of our issues, and in principle support active travel solutions, but cycle/walking infrastructure in this part of Sefton is so dire, it’s a disgrace its been left alone for so long. Much infrastructure investment has been ploughed into Southport over the years, as well as bits and bobs in Bootle and Crosby, but the whole area between Aintree and Lydiate may as well be invisible to the Planners. Its little wonder car dependency is so high with 3/4 cars outside almost every house in Maghull these days. Why more people don’t take the train into town – with TWO stations – is beyond me, but this is what car dependency does to people. Its an addiction.

    Regarding the section north of Kenyons Lane, you say you’ve provided some input as to how the S106 money should be spent, but how, when and where? I’d like to provide some input too. I’ve previously written about what needs to happen along that stretch, although Liverpool Road could/should also be a safe route too. When riding south, 99% of cyclists will always choose the route over Northway – I certainly do 100% of the time! Why there are always cars parked outside on the road I’ll never know because some of the driveways along that road are massive, but this is the way it is today – its the same all over the country, not just this corner of Sefton.

    But without a doubt, the Robins Island roundabout needs a fresh look by some experienced Highways Engineers in accordance with LTN 1/20. Its an appalling junction to negotiate by bike. I dare say there should even be a toucan crossing north of the the roundabout, where there is currently a ‘refuge’ in the central reservation. But with cars flying round at 60mph, its little wonder why most cyclists avoid this junction altogether, instead choosing to go a longer, quieter route via Pygons Hill Lane, or even via Brookfield Lane. So just remember, the next time a self-centred, self-entitled driver spits their dummy out at the thought of a low-traffic neighbourhood “making them go the long way round”, just remember the lengths that cyclists have to go to in order to avoid the most dangerous, incoherent roads.

    My old commute to Aintree from Aughton should have been a direct 5 mile down to Northway, but no, I had to add 2 or 3 extra miles, either via Sefton Lane, or via Brewery Lane, in order to avoid Switch Island altogether. So don’t DARE come at me with the old “I pay road tax” crap!

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