Magdalen Road frequently asked questions
What is the purpose of this consultation?
Feedback on the temporary changes has been mixed, with strong views both for and against. The changes under the temporary traffic order have however given residents, businesses, and users of Magdalen Road an opportunity to see how Magdalen Road could be different and how the pedestrian environment could be improved.
Given the temporary measures on Magdalen Road are likely to remain in place until social distancing is no longer a requirement or until a decision is made by Devon County Council (DCC), now is a good time to consider longer-term aspirations for Magdalen Road, and how you would like the street to look and function if permanent changes were made post COVID-19.
We would welcome feedback on what is important for the future layout on Magdalen Road. We would invite you all to feedback on the initial options set out in the consultation and engage in the conversation.
What will happen with the data collected during this consultation?
We will analyse the feedback provided through this consultation process and a consultation summary will be produced and made available in Spring / Summer 2021.
If there is support for permanent changes to Magdalen Road, a more detailed consultation will be undertaken later in the year on the preferred option.
Why were the temporary measures delivered?
As initial lockdown measures were lifted, local authorities were required to support safe pedestrian distancing and provide additional facilities for cyclists. With public transport capacity reduced due to social distancing requirements, additional pedestrian and cycling facilities have been vital in helping transport networks cope with changed travel patterns.
To accommodate safe pedestrian distancing and increased numbers of cyclists, DCC implemented a series of traffic calming measures along existing strategic cycle routes connecting key employment locations, such as Royal Devon & Exeter (RD&E) Hospital and the city centre. Details of the countywide plans are set out in the following press release.
The changes on Magdalen Road have enabled a wider pedestrian area on one side of the road to support social distancing on a key neighbourhood shopping area. The changes to Magdalen Road also form part of the low-traffic E9 ‘pop up’ cycle route, which links Sowton/Pynes Hill to the RD&E Hospital and city centre. There are approximately 50,000 jobs across these 3 locations, and this route improves access for RD&E key workers. Further information and detail on the closures in Exeter can be found here.
How were the temporary measures introduced?
Due to the requirement to introduce ‘pop up’ measures to create safer walking and cycling routes, restrictions were introduced under temporary legislation, which does not require public consultation. Section 14 of the Road Traffic Regulation Act 1984 allows the Council to introduce temporary restrictions, with immediate effect, for a maximum of 18 months. Statutory bodies are notified of the restrictions (e.g. emergency services) and a public notice is placed in the local press.
How long will the temporary measures be in place?
The restrictions in Magdalen Road were introduced by a Temporary Traffic Regulation Notice for the period of 1 June to 21 June 2020. The restrictions were then extended for a maximum of 18 months by a Temporary Traffic Regulation Order, which will expire on 30 November 2021. Please note that the situation will continue to be monitored, and if it is considered that the restrictions are no longer necessary, they will be removed before November 2021.
What has been already been agreed at the Devon County Council (DCC) Highways and Traffic Orders Committee?
Next steps for a number of the temporary changes implemented across the city were agreed at the 13 October 2020 meeting of the Exeter Highways and Traffic Orders Committee (HATOC). The committee agreed that on Magdalen Road:
- Temporary traffic arrangements remain in place until review at a future HATOC meeting
- Consultation with local residents and stakeholders on options for Magdalen Road be undertaken in Autumn/Winter 2020/21
What public consultation has already taken place?
In late September 2020 the St Leonard’s Neighbourhood Association, with the agreement of the Magdalen Road Traders, issued an opinion poll to ascertain the opinions of the community of St Leonard’s towards the Traffic Orders implemented by DCC in the shopping street of Magdalen Road. Half of the 990 responses were happy with the temporary measures and 63% of all respondents were in favour of discussions being opened into the reduction of car traffic and the pedestrian environment being improved in the shopping street on a permanent basis on Magdalen Road.
The SLNA poll collated many useful views on the desires of local residents, and these comments, along with areas of concern, have been considered as part of the development of the options proposed in this consultation, helping to co-create a space which best serves all users.
Local Consultation on Denmark Road
In November 2020, information was sent out to over 300 properties in the area regarding temporary changes in and around the Denmark Road/Spicer Road area. A number of options were identified to help address concerns around increased traffic on Denmark Road following the temporary changes to Magdalen Road. The responses on the potential temporary changes were mixed. An option to extend the current one-way westbound on Magdalen Road down to Fairpark Road was the most preferred option, especially with Denmark Road residents, however residents of adjacent streets were strongly against this, due to the expected impact on them. Many respondents chose an option to do nothing, commenting how a further temporary change would only cause more inconvenience.
Following these mixed views from the consultation and after recording low traffic levels in the area in January 2021 during another national lockdown, no changes were made to local access arrangements at the time. If there is support for permanent changes to Magdalen Road, changes to Denmark Road would be considered as part of the detailed consultation on the preferred option.
Why has a cycle lane been provided in some of the options?
The 1.5m ‘pop up’ contraflow cycle lane was delivered on Magdalen Road to provide adequate provision for cyclists travelling in an eastbound direction (travelling uphill from the city centre). This cycle lane fits within the wider strategy for a low-traffic cycle route which connects Sowton to the city centre via the RD&E Hospital and Magdalen Road.
Had we not provided a facility for cyclists, a number of cyclists seeking to visit the shops when coming from the city centre direction would likely have continued to do so. It would have invited cyclists to travel on the extended footway, or travel against vehicles with no segregation.
A permanent cycle lane would ensure the benefits of the temporary facility are retained in the longer term, and has thus been included in Options 1 and 2A.
Could the temporary footway not have been extended further?
Due to the positioning of the car parking bays, we needed to provide a minimum width of 4.2m from the southern kerb for vehicles to safely enter and exit the parking. This provides a constraint to the level of footway widening which can be achieved east of the Zebra Crossing. The approach for a consistent level of design for cyclists was recommended by traders prior to scheme delivery.
What impact are the temporary restrictions having on the local road network?
We are continuing to monitor the traffic flow changes on Magdalen Road and neighbouring streets, including Denmark Road and Spicer Road. Traffic management on surrounding streets, such as Denmark Road, Barnfield Road and Spicer Road would also form part of the consideration to any permanent changes to Magdalen Road.
Why has the cycle route not been directed via Spicer Road?
During the planning of the E9 ‘pop up’ cycle route, we considered several options and routes between the RD&E Hospital and the City Centre. Spicer Road was not considered appropriate for the following reasons:
- Diversion from the E9 route and cyclist ‘desire line’ (preferred route). Re-routing cyclists via Spicer Road / College Road / Magdalen Road is significantly longer at a much steeper gradient compared with the chosen layout (303m vs 188m)
- Utilising Spicer Road would divert flows away from Magdalen Road traders. Several cyclists would likely still seek to access the shops. If they didn’t dismount at the Denmark Road junction (as would be suggested), cyclists would travel against the traffic on the carriageway or seek refuge in the pedestrian space illegally
- Cycle provision on Spicer Road is limited to the 95m of contraflow cycle lane on the one-way section of Spicer Road
- Inclusion of the contraflow cycle lane on Magdalen Road acts as an additional traffic calming measure and gives more priority to pedestrians on the street
Was full pedestrianisation considered?
Full pedestrianisation of Magdalen Road is not considered a desirable option, as it would prevent vehicular access to the traders and businesses operating along it, and thus may detrimentally impact these businesses.