Harrogate Road Consultation Revisited: A Correction re Carriageway Width

In response to the blog published yesterday, the Chief Executive of the Council has responded questioning my “assertion that the road is 25m wide,”, continuing, “This is not the case, the width of the carriageway is the key constraint in providing a scheme which meets the needs of all users.  There is not space to provide all of:  general traffic lanes; a northbound cycle lane; a southbound bus lane; and the current levels of parking. This is the reason the options presented in the consultation showed the potential compromises required within the scheme.”

Here’s the image of the road at its widest point…25m width - Harrogate Road

He’s right about the width being less than 25 metres.  My bad.  I have corrected the original blog and noted the mistake. The width was an estimate based on Google images and Google satellite view and did not allow for the ownership of the frontage to the shops.  I have this evening braved the traffic, cheap 5m tape measure in hand, and measured the carriageway.  At the point shown in the image on the blog, the widest part of the road, the carriageway is 22 metres wide, plus 9 metres shop frontage.  At the narrowest point of the proposed scheme, the carriageway is 18.2m wide.  A one-man job with a tape too short will not be precise, but I would be very surprised if the actual width were more than half a metre less at any point.

However, even if I’m out by a couple of feet, I’ve calculated that the carriageway is plenty wide enough to accommodate what the Highways Department have declared impossible without compromise.  Below is a detailed breakdown, citing the relevant design standards, of how the total width can be used to accommodate a proper width cycle lane (wider than any in Leeds), a shared bus and cycle lane, parking, and a buffer zone to protect cyclists from ‘dooring’.  It also preserves the existing wide footways in order to keep cost down and provide for pedestrians.

Table Carriageway Width, Lane Width and Design Guidelines

I am not a highways engineer, of course, but I would be interested to understand where I have gone so far wrong in my calculations, and would be grateful for any comment in the box below.

Incidentally, the argument that “there is not space” is a very familiar one.  David Hembrow, a transport expert now resident in the Netherlands compares side-by-side UK facilities where “our roads are too narrow” with Dutch provision of high quality cycle infrastructure on similar streets.  David Hembrow runs study tours for transport professionals.  I hope Leeds’ Highways Department staff will attend one.

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7 Responses to Harrogate Road Consultation Revisited: A Correction re Carriageway Width

  1. Pingback: Leeds City Council’s Harrogate Road Consultation – Conspiracy against Cycling? | Life and bicycles in the....

  2. Allan says:

    Should one be a *Northbound* general traffic lane?

    • malaconotus says:

      Glad someone’s proofing it properly, Allan. Yes, copy/paste error. 3m general traffic lane in each direction.

  3. I’d argue that proper segregated cycle paths are physically feasible along this stretch of Harrogate Road (demand the impossible!) and I’m saddened that the council isn’t even proposing a proper pedestrian crossing outside the school.

    However, I’m sure their antiquated schemes all seem perfectly reasonable when viewed through the small town mentality of those in power in Leeds, which is very much still the “motorway city of the seventies”.

  4. Pingback: Bike paths along main roads are key | The Alternative Department for Transport

  5. Judy Hembrow says:

    Thanks for the link, we are taking bookings now. I worked in Leeds for a couple of years in the early 80’s, I drove to work every day of course. I owned a bike but it never came to mind to use it for my daily commute. I’m really fed up of the excuse that there is not enough space on British roads for cyclepaths . Come to Assen and see how its done properly.
    Thank you for your work SC

    Judy Hembrow

  6. Judy Hembrow says:

    A quick correction to my comment above. I should have said Thanks for your work on this blog, I found it via SC, The Alternative Department for Transport blog.

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