Dear Mrs Walford,
Thank you for your letter of 25th June 2018 addressed to Mr H. McClintock of Pedals.
On behalf of Pedals, I am writing to inform you that we very much welcome a reduction of the speed limit on Trent Valley Way between its junctions with the A6011 Radcliffe Road and The Green as detailed in your letter of 25th June 2018. However, it is our view that the speed limit should be reduced yet more – to 30mph along its initial section and to 20mph where there is currently no separate provision for pedestrians and cyclists, including The Green (thus slightly extending the section under consideration beyond Holme Lane). Our primary argument for such a reduction is that the main function of this route is as a “recway” – a route used almost exclusively for recreational purposes.
More detailed arguments on specific sections are given below.
0. General Remarks
Objections may be made that the route is used only by a limited number of – mainly adult – pedestrians and cyclists. Young families, for example, typically use the car to reach the car parks at Holme Pierrepont, from where they engage in a variety of recreational activities.
It is indeed the case that the number of pedestrians and cyclists is lamentably low, and far less than its potential. However, in the view of Pedals, this is the result of a lack of vision by Nottinghamshire County Council when Regatta Way was refurbished some years ago. Had the council recognised the road’s potential as a “recway”, it would now teem with pedestrians and cyclists, young and old, children and parents, grandchildren and grandparents, especially on weekends and in holiday periods. Instead, the council created conditions that encourage very high speed driving – a wide road with a speed limit of 60mph. With the exception of Regatta Way (from the A52 to the junction with Adbolton Lane), motorists who use the route do so, primarily, for recreational purposes.
Consequently, any objections to our proposal on the basis of current limited usage by walkers, runners and cyclists, in particular families with children, are entirely irrelevant.
1. Trent Valley Recway
We use the name *Trent Valley Recway* to refer to the entire section that includes Adbolton Lane (from the junction with Regatta Way and Trent Boulevard), Holme Lane and The Green. Our use of “Recway” rather than “Way” emphasises its (almost exclusive) function as a recreational route.
Pedals view is that the entire section of Trent Valley Recway from and including the junction of Adbolton Lane and Holme Cut (the first entrance to the Water Sport Centre) to The Green should have a 20mph limit.
The Green is a short residential street where the conditions mean that most drivers will naturally drive at speeds of less than 20mph. Such a limit is therefore not an imposition on the residents and is in line with current public opinion on speed limits in residential areas. From The Green, along Holme Lane, past Holme Pierrepont Hall and along Adbolton Lane as far as the entrance to the Water Sport Centre (the last entrance in a east-west direction, the first entrance from the direction of Regatta Way) is de facto a shared space – there is no footpath and/or separate provision for cyclists, walkers or runners.
A 40mph limit is much too high, because motorists will regard this as official confirmation that such a speed limit is an appropriate speed at which to travel, which is clearly not the case for a shared space. This section of the route is heavily used by walkers, runners and cyclists, and there are blind bends. Also, apart from the residents and employees of the small number of houses and businesses and those who use the road as a rat-run to avoid the A52 (who should be discouraged from the practice in any case), all the traffic – including motorised traffic – is entirely recreational (camp-site users, visitors to the Water Sport Centre, dog-walkers, etc.). Moreover, some sections of the road are so poorly surfaced that motorists already drive at a speed substantially less than 20mph. (This may be deliberate in order to reduce the number of rat-runners, but we do not know. In any case, we heartily support such a policy.)
In line with Pedals vision that this section of road is officially designated as a “recway” – a route that prioritises vulnerable traffic, where motorists are welcome as guests but must accede priority to other traffic at all times – we feel that a 20mph limit is both desirable and appropriate. The effect of the reduction in speed will have no economic downside and will contribute to an enormous improvement to the look-and-feel of the area, with potentially very significant economic benefit to (current and future) small, local businesses.
With regard to future plans, we would point out that Trent Valley Recway is already used for several large-scale, organised events and has the potential to be used for many more. However, this year CycleLive changed the route for longer-distance cyclists in order to avoid the poorly surfaced section close to Holme Pierrepont Hall. The new route is arguably much less desirable because it takes cyclists along busy arterial roads into Nottingham. It is quite possible that in future years this will lead to conflicts with motorists. (Very fortunately, CycleLive coincided this year with a World Cup football match which meant that, at the time that many cyclists were completing this section of the ride, the roads were abnormally quiet. Such conditions are very unlikely to be repeated in future years.)
To enhance its vital role in such organised events, Pedals would like to see the road surface substantially improved but in a way that continues to discourage motorists using it as a through route. We would be happy to make suggestions to those concerned on how this can be achieved.
2. Regatta Way
Regatta Way acts as a link between a 40mph section of the A52 and a 20mph residential street (Trent Boulevard). As such, we recognise that there is a substantial level of non-recreational motorised traffic.
Regatta Way also acts as an important link for recreational traffic, in particular for Gamston and West Bridgford residents wishing to take advantage of Trent Valley Recway.
There is a path along Regatta Way but this is shared by pedestrians, cyclists and horses – travelling in both directions – and, occasionally, parked cars! The path – presumably provided with good intentions – is a prime example of a *motoring* facility misleadingly called a “cycling”
facility. Its purpose is to enable motorists to drive at high speed without hindrance from cyclists or other vulnerable traffic. It reinforces the view that cyclists (and other vulnerable road users) are second-class citizens by forcing them to concede priority to turning motorists at junctions, thus depriving them of the rights they enjoy on the main carriageway. Worst of all, it absolves motorists of any duty of care towards vulnerable traffic – any vulnerable traffic that departs from the footpath takes full responsibility for their actions and the motorist is entirely exonerated from any consequences.
Had good quality, safe facilities been provided at the time that Regatta Way was last resurfaced (which was not so long ago) it would now teem with families on bicycles making their way from the nearby residential areas to Trent Valley Recway and the facilities at Home Pierrepont.
Instead, this motoring facility actually makes it less safe for cyclists and walkers – because of the compulsion to give way to motorists at junctions, and because of the complete lack of any separation between the path and very high speed traffic. Pedals would not recommend families with children to use the path because of the dangers it presents; very, very few families do cycle along the footpath and it is rightly ignored by experienced cyclists. There is a real danger of falling into the road and, were the (two-way) traffic on the path to increase, this danger would become far worse.
The current speed limit on Regatta Way is absurd. Even a reduction in the speed limit to 40mph cannot be justified in the present situation.
We expect that it would be ignored in any case since the extreme width of the road naturally encourages high speeds.
It is our view that the function of Regatta Way as a link for vulnerable traffic to Trent Valley Recway should be given equal value as its link to Trent Boulevard. The speed of the traffic should be dictated by the quality of the facilities provided for vulnerable traffic. In this case
– two-way traffic on a relatively narrow footpath, shared between cyclists, walkers, runners and horses, with no separation from the main carriageway – a speed limit of 30mph is the maximum that can be justified.
A speed limit of 40mph might be contemplated in the future if and when the main carriageway is substantially narrowed (to act as a natural speed-limiting measure) and high-quality walking and cycling facilities are provided on *both* sides of the road, with priority of straight-through traffic over turning traffic (in the spirit of rule 170 of the Highway Code https://www.highwaycodeuk.co.uk/road-junctions.html), and proper physical separation from the main carriageway.
3. Initial Section of Adbolton Lane
The shared foot/cycle path continues along the initial section of Adbolton Lane up to the junction with Holme Cut. It is well separated from the road and so the dangers on Regatta Way are not relevant.
However, it is in one side of the road only making access to it at the junction with Holme Cut hazardous. Also, many cyclists prefer not to use it in order not to cause inconvenience to walkers and runners. For these reasons, a maximum speed of at most 30mph (but preferably 20mph) is vital and a higher speed limit cannot be justified.
4. Economics of Reducing Speed Limits
As a final remark, we would note that the road surface on Regatta Way is now very poor even though it was resurfaced not so long ago.
Undoubtedly, the high speeds have contributed greatly to the rapid deterioration. Cyclists cause negligible damage to the road surface but their physical safety is significantly jeopardised by the consequences, unlike motorists who primarily risk material damage to their cars.
Reducing speed limits and encouraging walking and cycling can significantly reduce the costs of road maintenance, thus making funds available to allow vulnerable traffic to enjoy a much fairer slice of the council’s budget. The health benefits are, of course, obvious – not only to the well-being of the individual but also to the economy.