New cycle lane on Sweetbrier Lane Exeter

When will the cycle lane be removed/fixed?

The scheme will be discussed by Members at Exeter Highway and Traffic Orders Committee (HATOC) in October to decide whether further changes are needed. See also response below about the Committee meeting in October.

How much has it cost exactly?

We do not hold this information as the final account is still to be agreed; however the final outturn for the construction of the scheme is likely to be between £80,000 – £85,000 for the cost of the works.

Why was it measured incorrectly?

The concept design was based on OS mapping, which indicated a typical residual width of available carriageway for cars in the region of 6.2 – 6.4m. When cars are parked in the street, this width will be reduced by 1.8 – 2.0m, leaving a gap of 4.2 – 4.4m, which according to Manual for Streets (Figure 7.1) can accommodate two cars passing. Although theoretically possible for two cars to pass, widths of between 4.0 – 4.5m are generally not favoured as they can lead to uncertainty amongst drivers as to whether there is sufficient room to pass or not (i.e. anything wider is adequate to pass and anything narrower then they definitely cannot pass). It was therefore necessary to obtain full survey details so that the design team could be sure what the exact widths would be. This survey showed that the actual widths of the carriageway were marginally narrower than the OS mapping previously used, therefore reducing the width for passing. The scheme was delayed until the survey could be undertaken, which was in January of this year.

How did it go ahead with the mistakes which were made?

Reflecting on the survey carriageway data, it was envisaged that most passing manoeuvres would be made using natural gaps along the eastern side of Sweetbrier Lane where parking was not possible (i.e. drive entrances). Design teams had already undertaken a survey of these entrances to establish whether these provided adequate gaps for passing to take place. It was agreed to monitor things once the scheme was introduced, with a fallback position to introduce short lengths of parking restrictions if needed. The team did not want to introduce any new parking restrictions unless it was entirely necessary. Although not a direct objective of the scheme, one benefit of narrowing the carriageway is a reduction in excessive speeds along Sweetbrier Lane, which will further enhance safety.
It was unfortunate that the recent partial closure of East Wonford Hill (major city radial route) coincided with the completion of the scheme, when more traffic used Sweetbrier Lane as an informal diversion.

How were all the public informed of the revised plans so they could have the chance to review it and raise any objections?

The public were consulted upon the original HATOC-approved scheme, which included a consultation Summary letter, which was sent out on 10th November to those who responded and provided contact details. The committee approval gives the Head of Planning, Transportation and Environment delegated powers, in consultation with the Chair of HATOC and the local member, to make amendments to the scheme details. The local Member and Chair of HATOC were advised by email that the 3.0m bidirectional cycle lane would not allow passage of two-way traffic alongside parked cars and were presented with 3 options: i) to retain the layout that has been implemented; ii) narrow the cycle lane by 0.5m or iii) restrict all on-street parking along the stretch. Email confirmation agreed to go with option i), also reviewing the location of the southern two bolt down kerbs which appeared to be out of alignment with the original plan and monitoring the changes to see if any further action required in future. Further discussions are due at Exeter HATOC in October.

Finally the committee meeting in October is discussing something about it, what is it – will it make a difference?

Recognising the concerns raised by some local residents, it is intended to discuss the scheme at the next meeting of Exeter HATOC in October to decide if further changes are required. This will allow for local views to be understood and also allow time for users to adjust to the new layout as well as traffic conditions in the local area to return to normal after the East Wonford Hill closure, which will have impacted on the route.