WoBC has submitted a planning application to itself for stage 2 of the Winnersh Relief Road, which will connect Lower Earley Way with Reading Road by the M4 overbridge.
This is aimed at reducing congestion at Winnersh cross-roads. The decision date was originally listed as April, but now no date is listed so you may still be able to comment – search application number 180760 on wokingham.gov.uk.
The design proposals have some reasonable elements, with shared-use cycle/footways on both sides of the existing Reading Road.
For most of the design, they are 3.5m wide and lamp posts will not obstruct them. This is a fair standard although they should really be 4m wide under the M4 bridge (LTN 2/11 suggests a 0.5m buffer zone next to busy roads, and a 0.5m buffer zone next to a wall, in addition to the recommended width of 3m).
The two big problems are two new multi-lane roundabouts either side of the M4 bridge. No crossing facilities are provided on four of the six roundabout arms and Reading Road is very busy so crossing them, especially during rush hour, will be time-consuming and dangerous.
I have suggested segregated cycle lanes are included on access roads and that the roundabouts need crossing points, or should be replaced by traffic lights. WoBC Councillors and Winnersh Parish Council also raised the lack of crossings so I am optimistic changes will be made.
On the new road itself, there is a shared use cycle/footway along one side. One on both sides would have been better, if more costly, but I don’t expect many people to use it because it’ll be so polluted by traffic above it on the M4 embankment (Winnersh is already an Air Quality Management Area).
Winnersh Parish Council pointed out that the new junction with King Street Lane doesn’t have a ‘Toucan’ crossing so, legally, you’ll have to get off and push or cycle on the road through the crossing.
The reduction in traffic owing to the relief road would make it possible to complete the existing cycle lanes on Reading Road so they run uninterrupted from the M4 bridge all the way to the Showcase roundabout.
I hope that WoBC will be adventurous enough to do this. The photo is from phase 1 of the relief road and appears to highlight how bad cycle facilities can be (do I get off and push for 2m?).
However, I believe the signs refer to the crossing path, not the shared-use path itself, so I’ll turn them by 90 degrees when I pass.
Peter Howe, WoBC campaigner for RCC