Maghull – Cycling the A59 – Alt Junction to Switch Island

I mentioned recently my concerns as a cyclist (and those of pedestrians) about how the Alt junction has been reconstructed and here’s a link back to that posting:-

tonyrobertson.mycouncillor.org.uk/2020/05/26/maghull-a59-alt-junction-reconstruction/

Sefton Council had told me that two additional pieces of work were to be undertaken along with the junction ‘improvements’ to improve cycling access. So far with contractors having left site one has only been partially done and the other has not been done at all.

The major cycling work is to extend the cycle path/route which comes from Switch Island so that it reaches the Alt Junction. Clearly some works have been undertaken but a section over the River Alt bridge has been left just as it was, a narrow pavement – see photo below. Why?*

The other item is such a small change one wonders why it had not been sorted out years ago. It’s at the junction of Moorhey Road and the A59/Northway Service Road where a cycle route starts taking cyclists towards Switch Island. However, at the very start of it there’s no dropped kerb, which I’ve complained about before and been told by Sefton Council it would be attended to during the Alt junction ‘improvements’. So far, as you can see, the job remains outstanding:-

And yes, I’ve brought my concerns about both these matters to the attention of Sefton Council’s Highways Dept.

* After I wrote this posting but before publishing it I became aware of the plans to redevelop the former Motor Range site for an ALDI etc. so the curtailed works to the cycle path/track could possibly be associated with the changes required should that proposal gain planning permission? Just a thought.

Maghull – A59 Alt Junction Reconstruction

A couple of locals had mentioned to me that they thought this new junction was, in the eyes of a motorist too messy to navigate and in the eyes of a pedestrian a long walk, so I thought I’d cycle through it to see for myself.

I firstly approached it from Liverpool Road South and stopped to try to work out where a cyclist should be to cross over to Dover Road. I worked it out but had my reservations about it being a safe cycle route. I then attempted it from the Dover Road side trying to get to Liverpool Road South. I gave up thinking it was too dangerous and followed the pedestrian route which, as I’d been told, is indeed a long walk.

What strikes me about this junction is that it has been designed for vehicles but sadly pedestrians and particularly cyclists seem to have been very much an after thought. How on earth in 2020 can you design a new junction without incorporating a safe cycle route through it?

The A59 is already a Berlin-type wall right through Maghull and Lydiate and the addition of this new junction has sadly, in my view, only made this situation worse.

Click on the photo to enlarge it

Merseytravel to deliver 2 new stations for Merseyrail (plus 2 new Mersey Ferries)

The present end of the line for trains from Wigan, the Merseyrail service to Liverpool is accessed under the bridge. The new Headbolt Lane Station will see the Liverpool – Kirkby Line extended to it.

The Liverpool Echo has the article on its website – see link below:-

www.liverpoolecho.co.uk/news/liverpool-news/merseyside-set-two-new-train-16838844

If delivered this is good news indeed, my only reservation is that Merseytravel has a history of big promises but being less than good at delivery as previous blog postings on this site have detailed.

My old friend Cllr. Andrew Makinson (member of Liverpool City Council) will be delighted to hear that St. James Station is seriously back on the cards as he tried to get the project going quite some years ago when the then transport authority were not listening to him.

On the cycling front there may also be good news because at present the cycling facilities/safe cycling routes across the City Region are generally very poor/non-existent indeed, with a few notable exceptions.

A cyclist’s life can be a trying one!

Cycling is now pretty much mainstream activity for commuting, leisure, fitness etc. and with us staring down the barrel of environmental disaster called climate change it is set to become an activity that the vast majority of us are going to have to engage with because it’s carbon neutral.

But unlike places like Holland our cycle networks are at best poor or absolutely bloody inadequate would probably be a better description. Of course I’ve highlighted such problems on this blog site previously and I’ve also commented on the tussle between vehicle drivers and cyclists too. On this latter subject just try to get your head around this:-

twitter.com/buejcoll/status/1125118323048505345

Frankly the ‘accident’ looks more like premeditated attempted murder to me and how the cyclist survived is close to miraculous. One can only hope the car driver is permanently off the road.

Bad drivers make bad cyclists in my experience, if they jump red lights when driving they are highly likely to do the same when riding. I know some drivers get upset with cyclists because they slow them down, some will even overtake cyclists far too closely and dangerously in frustration. They curse the cyclist when often they are actually the problem but as I say a poor cyclist is probably a poor driver too.

And returning to safe cycle routes, there’s one on Gorsey Lane in Netherton and here’s a photo of it together with a misleading sign:-

I’m actually stood with my bike at what seems to be the end of the Bus/Taxi/cycle lane but in reality the cycle lane continues as part of a widened shared pavement space with pedestrians, so why does the sign say end of cycle route Sefton Council?

Thanks to CJ for the lead to this posting.

Stop Press:- Only 30 minutes after posting this I was out on my bike (8.50am) and at the junction of Liverpool Road North and Granville Ave in Maghull a white van all but knocked me off the road! The driver overtook me on the junction and then pulled in half on the pavement right in front of me. How I managed to stop I don’t know. When I questioned him his response was to tell me to ‘get off the road’. I realised things could get out of hand so left it to return to the row of shops he seemed to be delivering to later. Sadly, having called at all the shops in the row (10am) I’ve not been able to identify his company. If only I’d got his registration number, this was clearly a dangerous driving Police matter in my opinion but he’s got away with it.

Maghull – Moorhey Rd/Northway – dropped kerb needed on safe cycling route

Having become aware that at the junction of the Northway Service Road and Moorhey Road there’s no dropped kerb for cyclists to access the short path to the pedestrian/cycle crossing across the A59 I took the matter up with Sefton Council’s Highways Dept.

They’ve come back to me and there’s some good news – They say that the missing dropped kerb will be included as part of the Dover Road improvement scheme and will be one of the first pieces of work for that project. It seems the works are scheduled for the coming financial year but there’s no firm date as yet. Best present guess the autumn I understand.

Cycle Routes – They are generally poor

The BBC has the article on its website – see link below

www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-46179270

As a cyclist, I find this article interesting and to the point. I’ve commented before along the similar lines by highlighting local cycle route inadequacies which I have encountered.

Often segregated cycle routes do not have logical ends and are in effect bits and pieces between destinations. The route from Switch Island to Ormskirk along the busy A59 is an example. From Switch Island to the Maghull boundary there’s a brand new cycle path but it stops well short of Liverpool Road South. Yes, I know that Sefton Council intends to address this but really it should have been done in tandem with Highways England doing the first stretch.

But then moving north through Maghull & Lydiate a safe cycle route has yet to be sorted out. It’s either the busy dual carriageway or pavement for cyclists.

A59 Cycle path becomes narrow pavement at Robins Island.

Then at Robins Island, a cycle path appears again, on both sides of the A59. Generally, it is in good condition but parts of it are not – patches of grass, poorly completed surface repairs & tree roots make the later stages of these cycle lanes poor. But then as you climb into Aughton the cycle route peters out altogether just like through Maghull & Lydiate. This makes the last mile or so into Ormskirk a cycling challenge.

This was the state of the Cheshire Lines Path through Great Altcar Civil Parish in the winter of 2017 – it’s not got any better.

I could illustrate other problem routes where cycling facilities in Sefton and West Lancashire are inadequate but will settle for just one. The Cheshire Lines Path/Trans Pennine Trail. This former railway track is in very poor condition through West Lancs because since it was created there has not been the regular maintenance that is clearly required. Some of the route is now really only suitable for mountain bikes and a once wide path where cyclists could pass each other is presently very narrow in places.

There is much to do to make our cycling routes safe, logical and well maintained.

With thanks to Roy Connell for the lead to this posting