The most frequent concern from people returning slips from the recent Chaddesden Focus leaflet was the state of Chaddesden Lane.
I’m not surprised. The road has been uneven and pot-holey for years, but the cost (£650,000) for the renewal of drainage and deep resurfacing will have been challenging to find. The good news is that work is now to start before the end of February.
I went to the exhibition in Chadd Park today, designed to tell local people more about what is planned and to provide more information about the works and how it will impact on them. The council had prepared a useful handout with answers to the most likely questions. There were also plans on display showing the drainage layout and diversion route for the nearly 6 months of the works.
Amongst all the information being provided, there was (for me) one gaping hole – the impact on cyclists.
After six years of being a cycle demonstration town, encouraging young people and families to take up cycling, there are increasing numbers of cyclists on Derby’s roads. The council’s ‘Cycle Derby’ initiative continues to promote cycling, even though the extra funding has ended. But sadly it appears that staff in the highways department are not yet thinking ‘cycle’ automatically.
Despite the Sustrans regional ‘Route 66′ going through the work area, no thought had been given to what signage would be provided, or whether cyclists would be diverted separately to motorists.
Cyclists will be allowed to walk through the works area, but discouraged from cycling ‘for their own safety’ due to possible debris on the ground. Are cyclists more likely to fall, than pedestrians trip, on stones or soil from excavations?
And about three years ago I attended a meeting with members of the local Motor Cycle Action Group. They had a campaign running – ‘Get a Grip’ - calling for local highway authorities to use composite manhole covers. They are not slippery in wet weather like cast iron ones covers – and also have no scrap value. I sent the City Council information at the time. Would the manhole covers in this section of road be replaced with composite ones?
Sadly the information seems not to have reached the project team. While the contractor’s representative knew about such things, the council’s project engineer did not. I have sent an email through, with links to further information…
When I got home, I also spoke to my contact from the East Midlands Motorcycle Action Group – who lives in Derby – to tell her about the exhibition. And I emailed committee members from Derby Cycling Group, whom I suspect had not been contacted about these works either.
Maybe soon cyclists and motorcyclists in Derby will be able to celebrate the arrival of the first non-slip manhole covers on our streets, as they are doing in Plymouth!