Maghull – More on that new cycle track into the Town from Switch Island

I posted a few days ago about the new cycle track being constructed from Switch Island alongside the A59 (Northway) towards Maghull and the need for it to reach Liverpool Road South as opposed to just to the cycle/pedestrian (Toucan) crossing just by the A59 River Alt bridge.

Following discussions with Sefton Council I can now add to the original posting. The first part of the project, which is presently being constructed, is funded by Highways England who are taking the works to where their responsibility ends at the crossing. From there to the Liverpool Road South junction is Sefton Council’s responsibility and I am told that funding has been identified to continue the works but that it is not available until the financial year 2019/20.

The photo above is of the stretch that Sefton Council will reconstruct to a similar standard as the lead photo in this posting in 2019/20.

Maghull – New cycle track from Switch Island towards Maghull on A59

I have commented before about the narrow and completely inadequate cycle/footpath out of Maghull towards Switch Island and it seems someone has been listening as construction work on a much wider path has been taking place in recent weeks from Switch Island up to the pedestrian/cycle crossing just before the Maghull boundary.

I do hope that the highway powers that be Highways England and Sefton Council are going to keep the new path construction going to the junction with Liverpool Road South as there’s no point in stopping at the cycle/pedestrian crossing. This is view from the crossing towards the Liverpool Road South junction – still a very narrow path at present but I will have more news soon on it:-

Of course what Maghull and Lydiate really needs alongside the A59 Northway is a safe cycle route from Switch Island through to Robins Island and Lydiate Parish Council has acknowledge this need in its draft Neighbourhood Plan.

Click on the photos to enlarge them

Lydiate – More work on that Neighbourhood Plan

Yes I know it seems to go on forever, putting one together for Lydiate Civil Parish that is. And yes I’m still a skeptic of them, seeing NP’s as of little or marginal benefit only, at best.

But whatever I’m doing my bit to help put together the Lydiate one.

Our last Neighbourhood Plan meeting went into all kinds of detail but two particular areas really interested me, the lack of a cycle path on the A59/Northway through Lydiate and the poor state of the canal tow path through Lydiate.

What have these issues got to do with a Neighbourhood Plan you might ask. Well the connection is that when house building does takes place in Lydiate developers have to provide money to support local infrastructure. Presently that’s via a process known as Section 106 agreements. They may be morphing into CIL – Community Infrastructure Levy – but Sefton Council can’t seemingly make up its mind whether to make the change or not. But whichever process is used it means that the Parish Council can try to direct how up to 25% of that money is spent.

The two major areas that we have identified, via our NP process, are upgrading the tow path of the Leeds Liverpool Canal tow path through Lydiate and addressing the lack of a cycle lane alongside the A59/Northway through Lydiate.

The following 2 photos from 2014 show the canal tow path as little more than a rut in the grass alongside the canal:-

Looking north from Pilling Lane bridge along the canal

Looking south from Pilling Lane bridge along the canal.

It’s still the same now and we want it upgraded so that cyclists and pedestrians can make greater use of it. A wider hard wearing surface is required.

With regard to the cycle path along the A59/Northway, it comes to an abrupt halt at Robin’s Island. North of here there are cycle paths on either side of the dual carriageway through Aughton Civil Parish. We would like to see a safe cycle path/route coming into Lydiate. Here’s a photo of the end of the cycle path as you reach Robins Island from Aughton direction:-

A59 Cycle path becomes narrow pavement at Robins Island.

So there are a couple of our stated ambitions in the draft NP for Lydiate. Lydiate folk will get to vote on the plan, via local referendum, before it is finalised I might add.

Click on the photos to enlarge them

Maghull – The narrowest cyclepath/footway you can imagine – A59 – Northway

Cycling or indeed walking around Switch Island to go to say Aintree Village or ASDA from Maghull is a bit of a performance because you have to go around the island in an anti-clockwise direction and out of your way.

This huge vehicle junction where 3 dual carriageways, 1 single carriageway road and 2 motorways join has evolved over time rather than been planned or so it seems. It’s far from being pedestrian or cyclist friendly, indeed its a dangerous place altogether as the numerous weekly vehicle accidents prove. Highways England are you listening?

However, if you know your way around it you can just about survive walking, cycling or driving but one odd quirk of the planning of the pedestrian/cycling route is on the A59/Northway as you leave Maghull heading for Switch Island.

A cycle/pedestrian crossing was installed over both separate carriageways of the A59 some years back so that you are taken to a path alongside the northbound traffic flow. Trouble is this path is very narrow, yet it is supposed to be for pedestrians and cyclists. It is not possible for one cyclist and one pedestrian to pass each other without one standing aside.

I have raised this matter with Sefton Council and have noted that in recent weeks all kinds of spray painted makings have been placed along the path which seem to indicate that some work is going to take place. Not sure what the work is but I hope this completely inadequate path is going to be widened.

Here’s a shot of the crossing and a view towards Switch Island. The path in question runs alongside the northbound carriageway where you can see the dog walker. The narrowness of the path can also be seen:-

Click on the photo to enlarge it

Maghull – Pedestrian bridge receives camouflage make over

So what’s with the pedestrian bridge across Northway (A59) getting a camouflage make over?

I think Sefton Council needs to cut back the trees that are taking over this bridge, alternatively they could issue tree loppers to locals to do their own hacking back before the bridge becomes impassable.

With thanks to Lydiate resident Keith Page for the lead to this posting.

And yes I have asked Sefton Council to take some action.

Maghull – Recalling John Major’s Cones Hotline

Poor old John Major will be forever be remembered as the chap who thought a Cones Hotline was a great idea for drivers to call up when they were in a queue of traffic surround by cones but today it made me wonder.

I joined a queue/traffic jam on the Bootle side of Switch Island this morning and it went all the way to Maghull Square shopping centre on the A59 – that’s a long way! And I could not have been the only driver wondering what on earth was going on as all we could see was cones and pretty much nothing else – No workmen, no machinery just cones taking out one lane all the way.

It was not until we crawled to the A59/Westway/Eastway junction that we saw what it was all about – cutting the grass in the central reservation. But the majority of it does not even have any grass on it through Maghull! Surely to goodness the job could have be better organised than the way it was today by Sefton Council and its contractors.

Now where’s the number for the Cones Hotline and I wonder if John Major will answer?