Hammer Lane Junction
On the north side of the junction, the cycle route crosses the road leading to Chase Farm. The junction is shown with swept corners, encouraging high speeds at the crossing point. Any argument about a low amount of traffic is not applicable - it only takes one vehicle to cause a problem. The junction would be better formed with sharp corners to slow vehicles down and is is very important that local landscaping or vegetation does not obscure the view for someone crossing the junction on foot or cycle.
High Pitfold Underpass
There are three 'Cyclists Dismount' signs. Two are at the entrances to the underpass and are unhelpful as they will be widely ignored, particularly with the long length of the underpass. It would be far better to manage the underpass to create a safe situation for all users and minimise the risk of conflict. There are four 90° corners, each of which should be generously radiused on the inside edge to improve visibility. Large (unbreakable) mirrors on the outside of each corner may help also. Signing that shows a shared route and asks cyclists to ride slowly may help too.
The 'Cyclists Dismount' sign at the Crossways Road junction is not necessary if on-carriageway provision exists.
Should the signing for the underpass include acknowledgement of use by equestrians too?
Hazel Grove Junction
It is difficult to believe that a route between a residential area and local schools should have to cross such a major junction without any special provision for pedestrians and cyclists.
It is strongly recommended that even at this late stage Toucan light-controlled crossings are installed on the four arms of the roundabouts that display such liberal use of eight 'Cyclist Dismount' signs. These crossings should control both directions of road traffic flow together on a single button push and should react immediately to a request in order to reduce the risk that people will not wait for the lights to change. There will be a problem of road traffic stacking on the roundabout itself for which solutions will have to be sought.
Where 'Cyclists Dismount' signs are currently specified they should be replaced by a sign with specific meaning. For example, this could be a cycle icon and wording that states "Care - fast traffic". If specific DfT permission is required, this should be sought. On the ground should be the common signing of an arrow and "Look left" or "Look right".
In addition, cycle traffic on the south side of the current A3 has no obvious route to go as it approaches Hazel Grove. The better solution would be signalling and route provision on the eastern side of the junction. A poorer solution would be signing advising use of the marked route on the western side of the junction.
When travelling south, on the south side of the junction the cycle route comes to an abrupt end. A structure is required here to position cyclists at 90° to the carriageway to encourage them to rejoin the correct side of the carriageway.
The island in one arm of the northern roundabout must be wide enough to allow a full length cycle to be accommodated.
The use of on-carriageway provision for cycles would remove the need for Cyclist Dismount signs.
The profile of the arms of the roundabout should be changed to slow the traffic, in particular to reduce the risk to cyclists travelling south on the current A3 and wishing to turn right into Headley Road. Each half of each arm should only be one lane, the roundabout should be the continental style to allow use by long vehicles, and the Headley Road arm should be re-oriented for the last few meters to meet the junction at 90.
The use of a double mini roundabout at this junction is very hazardous for cyclists. Such combinations of roundabouts typically cause confusion for motor vehicle drivers as they require rapid side to side observations to observe traffic from disparate directions. The small profile that a cyclist presents is very likely not to be seen in this process. The developments at the Devil's Punchbowl less than 200m away are likely to result in a much greater number of cyclists using this junction than at present.
Traffic requirements for this junction are likely to vary dramatically over a typical week, with commuting times seeing high peak volumes of work traffic, and weekends seeing high volumes of leisure traffic. The former will not use the road to the Punch Bowl at all, whilst the latter will use it extensively. The suggestion is to tighten the existing road layout to present a simple crossroads with single lane arms and control the flow either with traffic signals or a small continental-style roundabout. The use of a left filter lane from the current A3 going northwards and travelling towards Beacon Hill should be resisted, as it will immediately compromise the safety of cyclists on that arm of the junction. There is enough room on the current A3 to allow northbound traffic to queue there.
Use of an on-carriageway solution for cycle traffic will remove the need for Cyclists Dismount signs.