This article was published in 1999, in Newsletter 25.
|Gilbert Road (top) and Stretten Avenue (bottom)|
Being a long suffering user of Gilbert Road, I was delighted with the results achieved by the changes to that road’s junction with Stretten Avenue and Carlton Way. The Council has replaced the traffic signals and altered the junction layout. The two narrow approach lanes on either side of Gilbert Road have been replaced with a single main lane and a cycle approach lane with an advanced cycle stop box in both directions.
The advisory cycle lane which runs along much of this road used to end 20 m or so before the traffic signals, at which point the main traffic lane split into two narrow directional lanes. This created conditions in which motorists pulled up to the junction side-by-side and very close to the kerb. This left very little room for cyclists, and left us prone to being cut up by motorists eager to take their place on the ‘starting grid’.
Now, the advisory cycle lane grows a solid line close to the junction, and continues right to the advanced stop box. This allows cyclists to cycle to the junction unimpeded and without conflict with other road users. The new arrangement has benefits for the motorist too since it removes the temptation to try to beat other drivers away from the signals and endanger other road users. As both a cyclist and a motorist, I find the whole experience far more civilised.
Well done to the council for making such a worthwhile improvement to this junction.
Before work began on this junction, the County Council told us that it would be impossible to continue the Gilbert Road cycle lanes up to the new advanced stop lines. It was a pleasant surprise to find that lanes were installed after all. I believe the junction works considerably more smoothly now, with its more responsive traffic lights and sensors. Most motorists respect the new red surfacing, though the approach lanes on Carlton Way and Stretten Avenue could perhaps have been longer. The new pedestrian phase on the lights also makes it considerably easier to cross the road. So, yes, thank you very much for a positive set of changes.
Still on the subject of Gilbert Road, we’ve heard that there should be a public meeting about the advisory cycle lanes in the not too distant future. This will discuss the possibility of making one or both sides mandatory, in the hope of stopping cars parking in the lanes just when they are most needed. We’ll get in touch with Campaign members in the area when we have the details.