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.
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:-
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.
I went to have a look at how the junction works were coming along and clearly things are starting to take shape where the new slip road will be going in for traffic to access the M58 west to Switch Island:-
This shot is taken from where Giddygate Lane presently joins the junction but that lane is being diverted as part of the works. The new pedestrian steps and cycle path can clearly be seen.
And whilst I’m on about that junction, regular readers may recall me saying how unsafe I thought the end of the cycle path around this very same motorway junction is. Here’s my original post about it from April 2018:-
Well this is how things look now!:-
I feel like saying to Sefton Council and Highways England ‘I told you so’ – the cycle path ends too near to the junction and in my opinion it’s still dangerous.
Click on the photos to enlarge them
Having spent 12 years representing Melling on Sefton Council (up until 2011) I’m well aware of its worsening public transport options over a long period now. The knotty problem has been withdrawal/reduction of bus services, which is in no way unique to Melling but has had a significant and detrimental impact on this predominately rural community.
One part of Melling that could do with a positive public transport move in the right direction is that along Prescot Road from the Pear Tree Pub to wards Maghull – it presently just has an hourly 133 bus. It’s been suggested that with the opening of the New Maghull North North railway station there’s an opportunity to provide a regular connecting/circular bus service which could serve the rural parts of Melling. Possibly this could be done by amending/extending the run of one of the present circular bus services that covers Maghull/Lydiate?
This sounds like an idea that’s worth pursuing to me so I’m hoping that Merseytravel will at least try to see if such a move can be seriously investigated/trialed. I’m happy to add my voice to those calling for a better bus service for Melling.
Well it seems so as Sefton and Knowsley Councils are planning to construct one.
It will effectively run from the site of the new Maghull North railway station, over the Ashworth Junction of the M58 (where there’s already a short section of cycle path taking cyclists around the busy motorway junction) and on down Prescot Road towards Kirkby. The photo below shows the end of the present cycle path as you go around the junction heading towards Melling Mount:-
Sefton and Knowsley Councils are still developing proposals for the cycle track but the project has funding secured. Construction is scheduled for 2020 as I understand it. However, construction of the first section adjacent to the junction will take place soon as part of the contract to build the new westerly slip roads to the M58 junction. This move should alleviate the cyclists problem on the Kirkby side of the junction which I have previously identified.
I’m also told that on the Maghull side of the motorway junction, there will be a requirement on the developer/s of the proposed business park and housing development to continue the cycle path across the whole of the north of the site alongside School Lane. What is being referred to here is Maghull’s urban extension on the Maghull East site. The map below may assist in understanding the geography of what i an blogging about:-
The large red area is the ‘Maghull East’ urban extension. The M58 Junction 1 is in grey – with Prescot Road running north to south on the right of the map. School Lane runs across the northerly edge of red area. The yellow area is the presently being constructed Poppy Fields, Pavilions housing developments and new station site
More news when I have it.
Being a cyclist I get used to cycle paths ending in odd places (probably where the money runs out!) but one place in Melling just past Junction 1 of the M58 is a real pain and it’s potentially dangerous too. Below is a shot of the ending, where the cycle path rejoins the road:-
The motorway junction is behind the camera. The effect of the cycle path ending here is that a cyclist has to look right around behind them to see if the traffic is clear before rejoining the road. But the joining place is too close to the roundabout in my view, so you can’t easily see vehicles coming around it or off the M58 slip road, at speed, at all clearly.
I’m pretty sure the highway engineer who picked this spot for the cycle path to end could not have been a regular cyclist.
However, I may well have some good news about the cycle path being extended towards Melling Mount and beyond soon. Watch this space.
Click on the photo to enlarge it