Leigh Road/ Kerb

Heres a post from the ground where it all actually happens, special Kerb Nerds edition today not for the feint hearted. You can get proper information on this blog, mine is just opinion pieces from 35 years using British roads.

Right now the Leigh Road scheme is being built in its first phase, the East end towards Canford Bottom, remember this is the first of the Transforming Travel schemes with all the official links and fancy pictures on it here. I wanted to write a bit about how it is on the ground, and the sort of problems occurring between where office designs are made and the ground. There are 3 sections of work on this couple of kilometres length. Back in July 2015 I was writing about  how it might seem easy to place a cycleway down on the ground, its just tarmac isnt it? but roads arent all flat… The photos on here show how Dorset Council are making entrances to homes on Leigh road, run across the footway and cycleway which are to be seperated. Its a 2 metre wide cycleway, (I checked its width all the way) and has loads of entrances. Theres some sexy kerbs that shift along their length, allowing better use for bikes or wheels (I dont know the type?) and strangely also a couple of sections where the builders are placing dropped kerbs as well- even though there arent any entrances? This is whats interesting – the gap between what designers do in the office, and what ends up on the ground. Its also why we need to be there in pre-consultation with the Engineers, because theyre just making it up now, no really they are. With the biggest chunk of money ever seen in the area for doing exclusively Active Travel work. Lets have a look at the work so far and go onto other aspects of the Transforming Travel Project, you can have a look at load of the type of things I share with them from around the country- that are proven and working.

the beginning of Transforming Travel, Wimborne

Sexy kerbs

looking towards Wimborne

looking back east towards Canford Bottom

flat sections where theres no entrances?

All good, this will be a stepped track. we hope the levels will be perfect, there will be run off for rain and the drains work. All very elementary you would think? no tree difficulty, a few Utility boxes and thats it, easy.  Have a look at recent work in Poole Park and youll find that best laid plans dont always materialise, every time it rains theres a huge puddle by the War memorial and several sections of the footway are unusable due to waterlogging- in a brand new piece of roadwork…

Its mid February., at the end of the month theres going to be public launch of further consultations on Transforming Travel routes, these will be firstly the 4 Cycleways, and then at the end of March, the 2 Connectivity routes, (which will be Bus- centred improvements with cycleways too) glad to say Ive been at Stakeholder meetings x 3 so far, with another this week- they are a first chance for groups such as Friends of Hamworthy Park, Bournemouth University, Dorset Equine Society and BH Active Travel to give first user perspective on new designs. The above section of Leigh Road looks easy in comparison with the size of some of the things Im seeing, some up to 7 sections of work, the logistics of co-ordinating contractors, utilities, materials outside of talking to nerds like me is pretty staggering. I hope that the pre- consultation notes and photos add more meat to the over 100 contributions I wrote on the initial T.T web consultations, this is due to be published as well soon. Do take any of the photos from the links above and use them in your next contributions- there is still the need to make the case that without changes to the built environment – people wont change behaviours. Quietways arent quiet without Modal Filtering, but you knew that already, and so on. Most of the upcoming schemes are multi-stage, and will link localities within them, so rather than being say Bournemouth to Ferndown as one journey prospect- Westbourne to Uni will be one likely section that is ridden or walked much more easily in the future. Its all very exciting, or it will be for future generations, its just a shame the the oldest people living in the area cause the Council the most difficulty enacting the instructions of its own Government. No Cones or Barriers were harmed in the making of this post.

Jason Falconer

Orienteering coaching, cartography, teacher training, Head Coach at Wessex Orienteering Club. Cycling coaching level 2 BC, Track, Trail/ Tech MTB leader, Bikeability, Safer Urban Driving Instructor, E-bike Instructor.