This short section of the A38 has a 40 mph limit as it goes between two roundabouts, at Ashbourne Road (A52) and the ‘grand canyon’ where it joins the A5111 Derby ring road. At busy timesslow moving queues can reach all the way along the road between the roundabouts, in both directions.
The A38 cuts Mackworth ward in half. There are two main ways across the road; one at either end of this stretch. There is a pelican crossing at the A52 for pedestrians (and cyclists) and Brackensdale Avenue goes underneath close to the ‘grand canyon’. Particularly for pedestrians these can be a long way round (depending where one’s come from or going to).
The Highways Agency look after the A38 as it is a trunk road. Their priority is people travelling along the road, not those wanting to cross. But the government IS also interested in more sustainable travel and that means walking and cycling.
There is a crossing point for walkers and cyclists conveniently at the top of the hill between the low points of Ashbourne Road and Brackensdale Avenue, however for much of the day the constant stream of traffic makes it slow and dangerous to use. The route to it is also lacking some lowered kerbs for wheelchairs and pushchairs.
Ideally this crossing point needs a pelican or toucan crossing. This would give cyclists and pedestrians the ability to cross safely, and to cross without waiting for 10 minutes or even longer, which is often the way at the moment.
There is a small chance that this could happen.
The Highways Agency has a project to put traffic lights on the Ashbourne Road roundabout. This will create natural breaks in the flow of long distance vehicles travelling south along the A38. And for traffic travelling north, it will be possible to anticipate which vehicles will be required to stop at the roundabout – and stop them earlier.
Their project would, I think, need to be extended. The new lights, and their controls, would need to be designed to incorporate the pelican in their timing. A job for the Highways Agency.
It is also the Highways Agency (HA) which needs to be asked to add a pedestrian crossing to the out of town side of Ashbourne Road by the A38 junction – and upgrade the one on the city side to a traffic light control one. The existing zebra will become even less satifactory with more, and faster traffic using this roundabout.
And while the HA is doing this, I’d like the City Council to do a little work too. Working together, I’d like both organisations to make it easier to cycle from Ashbourne Road by the petrol station and McDonalds along the northwest side of the A38 to Brackensdale Avenue (and of course back again) linking Markeaton Park more directly with Mickeover.
The A38 / Ashbourne Road junction improvements is one of many issues which Derby Cycling Group has campaigned on to improve the situation for cyclists and cycling in Derby.