Maghull/Lydiate/Melling – Simple cycling fixes for Sefton Council to undertake

It’s a given that the UK’s cycling network is well behind many European countries and that we seem to struggle to catch up. Major investment is required and whilst some progress is being made the pace is painfully slow.

But sometimes you know there are fixes that are easily done but which get overlooked. Here’s the obvious ones for me around Maghull, Lydiate & Melling:-

* Junction of Moorhey Road & Northway, Maghull – a dropped kerb for access to the cycle path along Northway towards Switch Island.

Just a dropped kerb and a bit of tarmac required at junction of Moorhey Rd and the Northway Service Road.

* Robins Island, Lydiate – add a small length of cycle path from Liverpool Road around the corner to the long established cycle path northwards along the A59.

Around the corner just out of shot is the present start of the cycle track. Start it in Liverpool Road where there’s presently just a narrow pavement.

* School Lane, Maghull – a dropped kerb is needed to access the new cycle path to Park Lane along side the new Maghull North Station.

A simple dropped kerb is all that is needed here on School Lane.

* Park Lane, Maghull – exiting the new cycle path from the station direction and turning right into Park Lane can be dangerous as cyclists vision is obscured by the railway over-bridge and the curvature of Park Lane. Whilst the speed limit is only 20mph on Park Lane in reality speeds can be well over 40mph. Sleeping policemen required on the approach to the bridge me thinks.

View at Park Ln end of cycle track. Cyclists can’t see speeding vehicles & they can’t see cyclists.

* Junction of Prescot Road and School Lane Melling – the new cycle path/track down to this junction from the Ashworth M58 Motorway junction finishes abruptly just before the junction as the new and still being constructed cycle path to Kirkby switches to the other side of Prescot Road. But what about the cyclists turning the corner into Prescot Road to head north? The present layout actually means that cyclists should join the road just before the junction! All that’s required is a few yards of cycle track around the junction corner.

Cycle path ends and the implication is to go on the road. A few yards of additional cycle track around in to Prescot Road would solve the problem.

What’s more I’m sure that there are many more simple cycling fixes across Sefton Borough, Merseyside and indeed the whole UK that would help tip the balance of cycling safely in favour of those of us on 2 wheels. It’s not always that grand schemes need to be the goal. And that reminds me that a similar problem applies to our railway infrastructure – simple fixes like reconnecting the Burscough Curves have been overlooked for 40 years or more.

The Burscough Curves are in West Lancashire. This historic shot of them is from when they were in place, in 1960’s.

Click on the photos to enlarge them

Melling – Those unique sandstone bus shelters again

I blogged a couple of weeks ago about the seeming demise of one of Melling’s unique sandstone built bus shelters – The one close to the Pear Tree Pub on Prescott Road. Here’s a link to that posting:-

tonyrobertson.mycouncillor.org.uk/2020/03/17/melling-prescot-road-bus-shelter-what-on-earths-going-on/

Moving on and on one of my solo fitness cycle rides during our lock-down a couple of days ago I saw this:-

This is the bench right next to the other Prescot Road sandstone bus shelter that’s near the junction with Cunscough Lane. You can’t see the shelter in this shot but this is it:-

A view from inside the shelter of the bench on Prescot Road taken quite a while back.

What I don’t know is why the bench has been so colourfully decorated with stuffed toys but maybe you do. Anyway, in another life a few years ago I christened this seat ‘Andrew’s Bench’ because I would pick a mate of mine up there now and again. Sadly, the shelter no longer has any buses call at it since the 345 bus to Skem was cut back, although I have been known to take shelter in it a couple of times during heavy rain when cycling in that part of the world.

A cycle ride of contrasts – Spurriers Lane – Outlet Lane – Melling & Simonswood

I’m still cycling during our health crisis although always on my own and not stopping at cafes etc. anymore….

A lane I cycle now and again is Spurriers Lane/Outlet Lane which joins Prescot Road at the Animal Sanctuary in Melling (Merseyside) and then goes through to Simonswood Civil Parish (Lancashire) to join Simonswood Lane. It’s single track lane for its whole length but traffic is light to non-existent virtually all the time.

Sadly, and probably because of the remote nature of the lane it is often a site for fly-tipping. Sights such as this are far from unusual sadly:-

What is it about fly-tippers using their junk to block steams at the side of such lanes? They love tipping in water for some bizarre reason! As you can see this is basically domestic rubbish that simply needed taking to the nearby Sefton Meadows Recycling Centre. I despair I really do.

The lane also has what is turning out to be a near permanent flood (close to Hesketh Farm) which I have nick-named ‘Simonswood Swimming Pool’:-

I’ll give Lancashire County Council a nudge as it’s been like this for quite some time now and is clearly an obstacle for pedestrians and cyclists.

Only yards away from this flooded part of Outlet Lane there’s a sharp left turn and in the distance there are quite a few old brick built buildings which are well spaced out. I’ve often wondered what purpose they serve or used to serve:-

They clearly have flat roofs and a gander at an Ordnance Survey map shows them to geometrically spaced with connecting tracks – around 8 of them and the nearest noted building to them is Basford Farm. Just out of curiosity does anyone know what the buildings were erected for?

When I reach Simonswood Lane I usually turn left and head towards Royal Oak where there’s a crossroads with Cunscough Lane. Royal Oak is part of Bickerstaffe Civil Parish. To reach Royal Oak you have to cycle over the M58 Motorway:-

From single track road to motorway within a few yards. In fact Spurriers Lane/Outlet lane effectively parallels the Motorway. the photo is looking towards Skelmersdale.

This was just a part of my circular route from my Lydiate home through Maghull, Melling, Simonswood, Bickerstaffe & Aughton Civil Parishes – around 10+ miles to keep the old legs turning and to get a bit of fresh air in these troubled times.

Click on the photos to enlarge them although the first one is probably frightening enough without enlargement!

Melling – Prescot Road bus shelter – What on earth’s going on?

Whilst I was away on holiday last week a Melling resident contacted me regarding the removal of what looks to me and indeed the resident like a perfectly good and substantial bus shelter yards away from the Pear Tree Pub. This is it:-

The poster advertising the potential removal is on the bus stop sign and this is what it says:-

I took the photos today when I went to have a look at the shelter. Apart from perhaps a bit of pointing the sandstone built shelter is in excellent condition and it’s one of a number of similar shelters erected around Melling Civil Parish by Melling Parish Council quite some years ago. Indeed, I’ve blogged about the shelters a while back (January 2018) and here’s a link to that posting:-

tonyrobertson.mycouncillor.org.uk/2018/01/24/melling-its-rather-grand-sandstone-bus-shelters/

After I penned that posting I realised I missed out a 4th one, also on Prescot Road, i.e. the one now under threat of replacement.

So, why do the powers that be want to exchange it for a modern shelter? What’s wrong with the historic one? Are they going to try to get rid of all of Melling’s sandstone shelters? Is the construction of a cycle path alongside this incredibly busy road a factor in the proposal?

But really, there’s nothing at all wrong with the shelter at face value, so how about just keeping it and the other ones too – just in case someone somewhere has the eye on them as well for ‘modernisation’.

Melling – New Cycle path from M58 Ashworth Junction?

Firstly let me say that I’m delighted that Sefton Council is, together with Knowsley Council, creating a safe cycle route from Melling to Kirkby, but, there’s always a but……..

Have a look at this photo:-

What you can see is the end of the brand new cycle path where it crosses over the dual carriageway to continue on the other side of the road in the Kirkby direction. From where it ends the narrower original pavement can be made out. Beyond that is the junction with Prescot Road.

My question is what are cyclists supposed to do if they are heading northwards along Prescot Road? Answer – they either have to stay on what becomes pavement or rejoin the traffic coming off the motorway junction. Both options are hardly desirable so why hasn’t the cycle path also been continued (on the side as in the photo) down to the Prescot Road junction and around into Prescot Road for a short distance to facilitate safe cycling?

Obviously I don’t know the answer to my question but I highlight the matter as, in my view, highway engineers who are not themselves cyclists or who do not know the routes cyclists take in a community can end up (with all the best of intentions I might add) not really resolving safety issues for cyclists as their cycle routes do not end in appropriate places.

Melling’s M58 Motorway junction to Knowsley by bike – Coming soon

A while back I posted about proposed plan to build a safe cycle path/route from the M58 at Ashworth alongside Prescot Road and into Kirkby. Here’s the relevant post from May 2018:-

tonyrobertson.mycouncillor.org.uk/2018/05/02/maghull-to-kirkby-via-melling-a-cycle-path-for-prescot-road-school-lane/

Well things are starting to move and the photos in this posting shows the scene on 27th October. The shot immediately above is looking back towards the M58 junction and you can see where the present highly dangerous end is to the cycle path around the junction. I say dangerous as it’s just past the end of the bend where someone thought it would be great place for cyclists to rejoin the road with them being unsighted of vehicles doing high speeds around the junction. Suffice to say that having tried to do the right thing a couple of times on my bike and seen how dangerous it was I have since continued along what is actually pavement a while longer before regaining the road. I would add that this is the only section of pavement I cycle on locally but it seems I won’t have to now.

My understanding is that the first section of new cycle path is being constructed by the contractor who is building the M58 slip roads. The remainder of the cycle route will be constructed in the next financial year (2020/21) once the legal agreements have been completed for the land transfers.

My thanks to Sefton Council highway engineers for the update.

Click on the photo to enlarge it.