Cycling the A1159

I took the day off today. Think I had crammed four or five days’ worth of work into three, so needed it. Decided to go for an explore and do a recce for one of my routes for this page. Also an excuse to try out my new  handlebar phone holder.

So: the A1159. I have mixed views. Ignoring the traffic it is a nice route to cycle on, bar the hill around Priory Crescent. If cycling on it I prefer the single carriageway bit (even though it has the hill) to the dual carriageway bit. I can only think that cars travel a bit slower perhaps? But, there is a lot of traffic and roundabouts that (it seems) you have to cycle through rather than there being shared space around them. I believe there’s space for segregated routes along most of it.

My ride today consisted of cycling on the road, unless there was an obvious cycle provision, in both directions. I then tried out alternative routes.

 

from port
Click for more detail on Strava

From the airport

I started at the airport and headed south. This is quite a wide single carriageway. Cars park on it and it doesn’t impact traffic flow. At Cuckoo Corner you are directed on to the pavement to traverse the roundabout. Soon after heading round to the A1159 exit you are directed back on to the carriageway (between a hedge… which I nearly missed).

It is on the road all the way and at the roundabout with Sutton Road there is no cycle provision. Luckily, when I arrived there was no traffic and I simply went through. But this is not a nice roundabout to cycle on – lots of traffic and it comes round quickly. You can use cars as cover – but hoping they aren’t turning left and not signalling… It would be suitable for some Toucan crossings and shared space (especially since the pavement here is quite wide on the approach!).

Safely across the roundabout you hit dual carriageway and you’re on it until the roundabout with Fossetts Way. Here you get directed on to the pavement but crossing isn’t great since, again, lots of traffic and it zooms round the corners. Toucan crossings would be good here. At this point you can join a mixture of painted cycle lane and shared space that is traffic free and runs all the way along the road pass Cecil Jones until the Garon Park roundabout.

Here you need to use the Toucan crossing to get to the other side of the road, cross

great akering way
Archer Close, seen from Royal Artillery Way shared path. No cycling provision to allow linking up with the estate.

Hamstel Road so you can join a shared space path that runs along Royal Artillery Way. This is fairly okay, but it misses out on opportunities to join up with some of the side streets that are along there (Archer Ave, Archer Close, Vallance Close) to improve connectivity and just ends at Bournes Green. I will put together a post about this junction another day but the point here is that the cycle provision just ends.

The main thing I would say about the entire route is a lack of signage to indicate where the cycling routes are. I have seen cyclists (and got caught myself) end up cycling on Royal Artillery Way. In my case, when first cycling around town, it was because it wasn’t clear that one should cross over. Where I say signage, I don’t mean the blue cycles to indicate if it shared space and so on, I mean directional signs, just like one gets for cars.

I have a fuzzy (don’t know why) time lapsed video of the route here.

 

to port
Click for more detail on Strava.

To the Airport

The route back is fairly similar. At Garon Park, there is the old Eastern Avenue alongside the McDonald’s and I follow that for two reasons: 1) it gets me off dual carriageway and 2) I wanted to double check something. Along here there is wide pavement and so it would easy to have something along here. In fact, there is something that looks like cycling provision but doesn’t appear on any maps!

This ends as the Eastern Avenue approaches Lewes Road but the road is all kerbed off.

a1159 westbound mcd lews
Two pavements on Eastern Avenue, heading west.

This is a shame – you could have a cut through for bikes and other non-motor vehicles to access Lewes Road. At this point, Temple Sutton school gets in the way. Here you could tolerate shared space since on the other side of Temple Sutton there is a path down to the old Eastern Avenue. Most people cycle on the pavement here, anyway… For me, though, it is back on to the carriageway.

As I went along here I started to be concerned I would have to cycle through the roundabout at Fossetts Way, but then the old Eastern Avenue appeared and so I slipped in to that. This completely by-passes the roundabout but you rejoin the dual carriageway and you back on to the road for the rest of the trip, except at Cuckoo Corner where you are directed on to the pavement.

end lewes
Eastern Avenue, heading west, blocked off at Lewes Road.

A time lapsed video of the route is here.

Alternatives?

As I mentioned above, I don’t mind the single carriageway bits. It is mostly wide and with some remarking could facilitate a cycle lane on both sides. Indeed, on Manners Way there are side roads running parallel that could be utilised in some way. Cuckoo Corner’s arrangements are okay, but does push bikes and pedestrians together in some tight spots (outside the RC church in particular).

Most of the dual carriageway element is side stepped by the shared space by Cecil Jones the the path alongside Royal Artillery Way. So, it is really only the element from Sutton Road to Fossetts Way that is an issue.

There are alternative routes but whether they are any safer is debatable. You may avoid fast cars on a dual carriageway but you use smaller roads with parked cars (so the car dooring threat) and traffic from both directions. It also utilises Priory Park – which can only really be used in daytime.

Here they are anyway.

From airport: I followed Manners Way until Thornford Gardens and turn left past the

alt from port
Click for more detail on Strava.

Ecko Social Club and into the new housing. Following this you end up on a path taking you past the new Havens Hospice on to the A1159. This path could be pavement or shared space… who knows? No signs… (I sometimes work on the basis if there is nothing to say no cycling then it is okay.)

Here, use the Pelican (perhaps one day it will be Toucan) crossing to cross and navigate the narrow gate to pick up the Priory Park cycle path. My views on this path will feature on another blog. This gets you to the junction with the A127, where I turn left on to Priory Crescent, joining the road, and turning right on Priory Avenue and then join East Street at Prittlewell Station.

At the roundabout with Sutton Road I take the first exit. I hate cycling on roundabouts and still astonish myself I do it, but if I can just nip through to the first exit, I do. I turn right onto Wentworth Road, cross over Bournemouth Park Road and join Royston Avenue all the way along to its junction with Eastern Avenue.

e ave a path you cant cycle on to a cycle crossing
The path from the road to the Toucan crossing is pavement, not shared.

Here, you can ride up to a Toucan crossing across the A1159 that joins up with the shared space alongside Cecil Jones. The interesting thing here is that the path from the road to the crossing is pavement so technically I am not allowed to cycle the few feet there to get to a crossing designed for both pedestrians and cyclists.

To airport: you can easily reverse the route above, though I find I stay on Royston Avenue and brave the roundabout at Sutton Road to join East Street (this is because if I have gone via Wentworth I have to take the third exit on the roundabout and that is spending far too long on it for my liking). However, you do need to go down St Mary’s Road and then Hill Road to get to Priory Park.

An alternative from this point is to cross the A127 and use the Prittlewell Path briefly to

alt to port
Click for more detail on Strava.

get to Prittlewell Chase and turn right on Hobleythick Lane, following the old road to Rochford. This route is a little busy at times and does cross the A127 carriageway but it is all traffic lighted and I have always felt safe crossing it. After crossing the A127 the road widens and runs like that all the way to the airport. I noted some parallel running side streets which I will investigate in another blog as part of another route.

What could be done to improve the A1159?

From the airport to the hill over the railway line the single carriageway is quite wide. I believe there is room to bring the two lanes of traffic closer together. Many parts of it have white diagonal lines in the centre of the road. Remove those and there is room for a segregated cycle lane either side of the carriageway.

The dual carriageway areas are trickier and it would require redesign of some roundabouts. If cost was no issue you could remove the bits inbetween the carriageways and move them closer together. This creates room for a segregated route to run alongside. This could work all the way along to Garon Park. But that would be massive work and remove some greenery.

“Back Street” alternative to Victoria Avenue

IMG_E4375
Heading north, click for more details

This is a route I have used from time to time but I have habitually used the A127 route when heading north. There is some benefit in this route – it is on road but it is quiet and links up with the Town Ring Road. It is obviously a route the council want cyclists to take since some junctions have cycle lanes marked out.

 

Starting at the top of Avenue Road you can cross London Road via a Toucan crossing and head north on Brigthen Road via a contraflow cycle lane.

 

 

 

junction on north road
North Road/Tudor Road junction

This then joins North Road. At the junction with Tudor Road, you follow cycle lanes that take you into a contraflow up Tudor Road to West Street.

Ideally, you would simply cross West Street and go into Shakespeare Drive but the flow of traffic there is against you and there is no contraflow, so you have to turn left on to West Street briefly to turn right into Gainsborough Drive which you can follow all the way to Prittlewell Chase. Here you can join the route for the A127 I outline here.

 

IMG_E4374
Heading south, click for more details

 

 

Once at Prittlewell Chase I tried to reverse the route. Due to the Chase being dual carriageway you can’t just turn back to Gainsborough Drive. So I used Cleveland Drive to head south, using Shakespeare Avenue to get back to Gainsborough. At Fairfax Drive, Gainsborough becomes one-way and so to continue heading south you make a dog leg to the left down Shakespeare Drive, and then simply reverse the route.

 

 

shakespear drive dead end, but within bridge-able distance of path
The path within a stone’s throw from Shakespeare

When I did this, I briefly headed north on Shakespeare Drive to see if it connected with the Prittlewell Path, my thinking is that you can get on the path from Gainsborough and so cut out the bit on Fairfax Drive. Alas, it doesn’t: the Prittlewell Brook and a fence gets in the way… Perhaps this could be opened up with a bridge to the path…?

All in all though, it’s not a bad little route. I will have to try and remember to use it a bit more. Perhaps it is a route the council could look to develop.

Alternative A127

In a previous post I highlighted some of the issues around cycling on the A127. Today I tried my alternative and in doing so perhaps identified some ideas for a lane to make it a bit more off road.

IMG_E4372
To Kent Elms, click for more detail

I started at Victoria Circus like before and followed this route to the start of the cycle lanes at Kent Elms. I then returned making use of the same route, to confirm it could be used in either direction. I recovered ground I described in the previous post from Victoria Circus to the junction with Priory Park. The main difference here was that I needed to turn left into Fairfax Drive and so had to try and cross the carriageway before the lights – since the lane ends there!

IMG_E4373
From Kent Elms, click for more detail

Got a few funny looks from people in cars – perhaps they thought I should stay on the pavement rather than use the lanes as they have been (poorly) designed to be. Once there I waited in the queue for the lights to go green so I could turn left and right into Prittlewell Chase joining the painted cycle lane there.

This has been put in place, presumably, to help school children at the High School, but it is along side parking (so car dooring always a possibility) and a bus route. I cycled on it recently with my 7 year old and did worry a little as a bus went passed us. However, I tend to try and use lanes that are provided even if they aren’t great…

This lane ends soon after the school, however the road is dual carriageway and fairly wide so I don’t have a problem cycling on it. I stay on Prittlewell Chase until Eastbourne Grove where I turn right and then a dog leg to the left to enter Northville Drive.

As I cycled along Prittlewell Chase I could not help but notice the gap between the two carriageways – from Fairfax Drive all the way along. There is scope here for a cycle lane to wind itself amongst the trees between the carriage ways and take cyclists off the road along this route – a busy one with two schools and the hospital. It would eradicate the need for the painted lane mentioned above.

top of northville
North end of Northville

At the north end of Northville Drive you join the shared space arrangements around the Tesco roundabout. I followed this as before, joining Exford Avenue (note 1), which runs parallel to the A127, and using this all the way until turning left into Mendip Crescent.

You can then loop round, using Mendip Road, Bridgewater Drive, Hurst Way and Broomfield Avenue to get back to the A127, just west of Kent Elms and join the cycle lanes.

The benefits of using Exford Avenue to Broomfield Avenue? You stay off the fast A127 and don’t have to use pavements etc. There is a lot of space around the route and so there is potential for an off road cycling lane, if well thought out (having used some lanes in London I have noted that lanes don’t have to stay immediately adjacent to main roads all the time), rather than pushing a lane through Kent Elms – which is pretty backed already.

The downsides? It is a rat run – Exford should probably have speed bumps – and there are a lot of parked cars which obscure your view around corners etc. However, I think I would rather it to staying on the A127.

Heading back to town, I used a cut through I spotted on the way from town between Bridgewater Drive and Mendip Road. This took me through garages. Probably not the best cycle route…

top of somerset room for a lane to start here
Corner of Somerset Avenue and Exford Avenue

After that I reversed the path I had come. What I noticed heading back was how much space there was around Exford Avenue. There is space for a cycle lane, but even if you made use of Exford Avenue as the route, when it becomes Somerset Avenue it could spur off through the free space and join up with the shared space arrangements at Tesco.

This route worked fine for returning to town and kept me off the A127 carriageway throughout, apart from when turning right from Fairfax Drive to head south towards town. Here I had to be on the carriageway until I could merge with the painted cycle lane on the pavement going up to St Mary’s Road.

I feel it is a safer and more scenic route (in places) and provides just as much connectivity to other parts of the road network for travelling around town. I have tended to use this in parts whenever I travel around, particularly to and from Rochford.

Note (1) – on the AtoZ Map of Southend I use this road is referred to as Exford Avenue but I note that Google images have it as Prince Avenue. When I am next in the area I will check what the street signs say!

The Town Ring Road (Clockwise)

Yesterday I had the joy of the ring road anti-clockwise. Whilst the route is the pretty much the same in the clockwise direction I thought I may as well try it.

IMG_E4376
Click for more detail on Strava

Most of my thoughts from doing it anti-clockwise are the same in this direction.

Pier Hill was not as bad as I thought it would be. I am in no way fit etc but it is doable, but I felt the after effects for a while. This just confirms  my comment in my earlier post.

When you get to the end of Hamlet Road you take a different route to the anti-clockwise route. In this direction you follow the one way street Avenue Road. This takes you up to London Road with a designated cycle lane (below) at the junction to allow you to turn right (motor vehicles can only go left). On bin day though, this path is often blocked by a pile of bin bags. One can, at least, cycle round it since the area is shared space but it does demonstrate that not much notice is paid to the lane.

top of avenue
Top of Avenue Road

At this point one can head north up Brighten Road – there is a Toucan crossing and cycle lanes to help with this. I have cycled this and done a little post about it.

However, the ring road heads east back towards Victoria Circus, along shared space. You can go either side of Queensway so this time I went along the south side. This has some signage to indicate it is shared space – but small.

Something I noted going in this direction was that traversing the roundabout junction with London Road seemed safer than when I went anti-clockwise – I was heading against traffic – so easier to spot cars leaving the roundabout. However, a Toucan crossing would still be of benefit.

Is it a cycle path?

In a previous blog, I noted a stretch of pavement which, according to the map I have, is a cycle path. I did not recall seeing anything at the site to confirm this, but today, since I was in the area, I went and looked.

A photo of the map (with my scribbles) is below. It has a thick purple line – the key says this is a cycle track/bridleway/byway – so, not pavement. You can ride on it legally.

It starts at the junction with Short Street and runs to Sutton Road. But there is nothing there to mark it as not pavement – so it is assumed as pavement. The shared space of Victoria Circus stops at Short Street and to get on to this cycle track/bridleway/byway you need to cross Short Street, but the crossing there is pedestrian only (based on the lights). This suggests you cannot cycle beyond this point unless you go on the road.

This is another example of how signage is poor. I still feel reluctant to ride along it.

It is another example of poor connectivity – the end of Coleman Street is adjacent to it but is all blocked off with kerb. Why not have a ramp there to allow cyclists to join it safely from Coleman Street?

 

The Town Ring Road (Anti-Clockwise)

 

 

File 16-05-2020, 6 08 55 pm
Click for more detail on Strava

Cycle Southend has created a ring road around Southend town centre. Cycling on the High Street itself is banned (a rule more honoured in breach…) but there are lots of side streets with cycle parking to allow access to it. I presume the ring road is there to help cyclists avoid the High Street when travelling somewhere other than the High Street (although you can use Heygate Ave (west to east) or Tylers Ave (east to west). This afternoon, with my 7 year old, I cycled the route, anti-clockwise, to get a feel of how it is laid out. I had cycled on every bit of it at some point but never as a complete circuit.

We started at the junction of Queensway and Short Street. This is all shared space, according to maps, but there isn’t much signage to indicate this. Some of it is just pavement that has been re-designated, but the Victoria Circus junction is laid out better with this in mind (below, far left).

Crossing the junction you follow the Queensway east on what appears as shared space on the map, but isn’t signed as such. There is nothing to indicate that cycling is allowed here (below, right).

You get to the roundabout with London Road which you traverse crossing the roundabout’s exits (see below left). The shared space, according to the map I have, continues either side until Brighten Road.

The ring road in this direction turns left into Park Road (above right). There is no signage I could to see to indicate this was a suggested route, it is only because I had marked it out on a map that I knew this. Cycling here is on the road, but the road is one way and is a 20mph zone, so fairly traffic calmed and I was happy for the 7 year old to cycle in front of me. You follow the one way system around here until you get to Hamlet Road. Here the ring road turns left but you wouldn’t know except for a tiny blue sign, well above eye level (below left).

Shortly after, it is right (again not well signed, above right) over the railway line on a on-road painted cycle lane (below left) – this could be improved greatly by adding kerb between the lane and the road. You then cross Scratton Road to join a contraflow cycle lane on Milton Place. My main gripe with contraflows is that as you reach a junction cars coming in their direction can cut corners. This one seems to have been improved with some kerbage to protect the cyclist at the junction (below right), but due to the parking alongside you couldn’t segregate it.

The lane then goes onto Runwell Terrace, again as a contraflow lane (below left), before going down the west side of Prittlewell Square. Along these stretches the main indication of the route was cycles painted on to the road or pinkish road colouring. Once at the bottom of the square you join the carriageway proper on Clifftown Parade, which at least is a nice wide road (below right). There is space here for a proper lane – not just something painted.

This comes to a dead end for motor vehicles but pedestrians and cyclists can use a link to Royal Terrace (below left) and join a poorly marked contraflow lane (below right). You’d be forgiven for not realising it was a cycle lane. This runs along the Royal Terrace and down Pier Hill.

At the bottom of Pier Hill you join the shared space (below left) on the sea front before turning left at Hartington Road. As with the rest of the route there is no sign to indicate that the ring road goes up there or that this a route back up to town (below right). At the north end of Hartington there is a shared space path that runs alongside the bottom of Queensway, and then runs north alongside the Queensway dual carriageway.

This shared space path runs all the way back up to the junction with Short Street.

Main comments?

  1. Signage is poor in indicating shared space areas. To be fair, there are bollards indicating the shared space starts at entry points and so on, but there are long stretches with nothing to indicate it. For example, the path heading north alongside the Queensway – there is nothing from the roundabout at Southchurch Road round to Chichester Road on the actual path (see above). Another example: I have always believe the shared space starts at the Short Street junction since the crossing there is pedestrians only. But the map I have, indicates a cycle path running east on the north side of the Queensway from Short Street round to the bottom of Sutton Road. There is nothing (to my knowledge) indicating this and why not link Coleman Road up to this (see below left)?
  2. Signage is poor to indicate the actual ring road route. Tiny blue signs are the best you get and they are easy to miss. The best areas are the contraflow paths west of the town since they have to be marked on the road! Since the council make a big thing of the route on their website I’m surprised there is nothing to highlight it out and about.
  3. It is a fairly safe route. I was happy for my 7 year old to cycle it. The on road bits were very quiet. The main snag was traversing some roundabouts with the speed some cars come round the bend, some exiting without signalling etc. Very few of these have a crossing with traffic lights.
  4. There are lots of little routes off the ring road to get into the High Street, but no signage. There is an obvious thinking that cyclists will investigate routes on a map before making a journey or just follow the routes one does in a car.
  5. Some of these little routes could do with a ramp or cut through for a bike, eg Portland Avenue – cut off for motor vehicles but could easily be a little bike route (below top right).
  6. Why make use of Pier Hill? It’s fine anti-clockwise, but I am not looking forward to it the other way. I would have routed the ring road south of the Royals car park and round to the Queensway via Church Road and Chancellor Road (below bottom right).

 

Cycling the A127

Sunday morning I ventured out to cycle the A127. I started at Southend Victoria and cycled to the boundary of the Borough and then back.

Wherever possible I went off road – shared space, cycle lanes etc, but often had to go on the road. In some regards it is a decent route. Not too hilly, fairly direct and has a number of entry/exit points to get to other areas of town. Some of these are blocked off for motor traffic and are probably deemed pavement so shouldn’t be cycled on but people do and it wouldn’t take much to make them slightly more passable for cyclists.

IMG_4278
Click for more detail at Strava

The journey started at Victoria Circus on shared space around the station and the junction but then there is a brief and narrow bi-directional cycle lane, lowered into the pavement, running past the government offices. At this point it deposits you onto a side road of Victoria Avenue, and then straight onto a cycle lane. The route used to be marked on the ground and cycles painted on it, but when work was done there, these markings were lost. Now, there is no indication it is a cycle lane other than the blue signs on bollards, that can be missed by other users. Indeed this is often used as if pavement.

The entirety of this lane is in the photograph bottom right. It takes one to the traffic lights in shot. Here you could join carriageway but the traffic free route is to cross and use the cycle lane alongside the court house and council offices.

This is a narrow bi-directional cycle lane that runs up to Carnarvon Road. It is lower than the pavement and is generally respected by others. It can be a bit dicey when you meet oncoming traffic but otherwise fairly good.

At Carnarvon Road the lane stops and you join a wide shared space path. This isn’t too bad, nice and wide and I have never had a problem. The shot below is taken north to south on my way back but it shows what the route is like.

This path stops at East Street. From here it looks like pavement from East Street to St Mary’s Road, but Southend’s cycle map indicates it is shared space. There isn’t really room here for both pedestrians and cyclists but there is not much room to do anything with it. Once at St Mary’s Road we get a bi-directional cycle lane but it is narrow and is just painted. It is often walked on.

This lane takes you down to the corner of Priory Park (above right), but it stops short of that, and directs you onto the carriageway. If you are heading north at this stage you have to cross the carriage way before the lights. I have done a number of times and you basically wait for the lights to all go red and then cross and join the queue of traffic. The alternative is to break the law and continue cycling on the pavement down to the junction.

From here it is carriageway only. Up a slight hill, with cars going up to 40mph (or more…). To be fair I have never had a problem (you know where the cars are coming from, there’s nothing parked to deal with and no car dooring risk), but the speed of the cars can make you feel you need to cycle quicker than perhaps you want to (which I don’t, I’m happy with an average of 10 mph). And kids? No, they’d have to go on the pavement and break the law.

It is like this until Cuckoo Corner. At this point you are directed by road markings onto the pavement (so I presume it is shared space!) to use the traffic lights to cross roads to get to your desired exit. To stay with the A127, you are directed down Earls Hall Parade, a row of shops, so technically still on the road but cars are mostly stationary. Very soon though, it’s back on the road

It is on carriageway cycling until just past the junction with Hobleythick Lane. Here a side road comes up (I presume the original bit of road, bottom left) and so you remain on road but on a fairly dead one, used only by motorists that live there (except if traffic is heavy and some use it as a rat run to get a few minutes ahead).

This runs to and crosses Coleman’s Avenue where one has to rejoin the A127 carriageway (above right) towards the Tesco roundabout.

As you approach the roundabout there is a slipway that takes you off the A127 onto Prince Avenue and into a shared spaced set up that abruptly deposits you on Prince Avenue again. I tend to just use the road here. You continue and can turn left into Exford Avenue (note 1), running parallel to the A127 (below left).

Guess what, this ends just beyond Mendip Crescent (above right) and there is nothing there to indicate if the pavement can be cycled on. Most people do… but I choose to turn right at Mendip Crescent and rejoin the A127 carriageway, and approach Kent Elms (note 2).

Shortly after Kent Elms you can get off the carriageway and join cycle lanes, dating back to the 1930s. These are now used (and marked out for) residential parking but they remain cycle lanes. Alas, one can find cars double parked and blocking them.

In this direction the lane is fairly decent, well marked out and you can have a decent run to the Borough boundary. At junctions you have to give way, which in itself isn’t a problem but due to travelling in the same direction as the cars you have to look back – only a glance back is possible to ensure you keep an eye on where you’re going. As such, it actually makes sense to travel opposing traffic (eg head west on the lane next to the eastbound carriageway).

IMG_4277
Click to see more detail at Strava

Heading back, there is a decent lane running all along to just before Kent Elms. This used to abruptly stop at a bus stop, depositing you back on the carriageway. Now, it just disappears into pavement – the recent widening of the road at the junction saw to that. It’s not clear if this pavement is shared space – but there isn’t a ramp down to the carriageway at the end of the cycle lane so one naturally carries onto the pavement  (below left) whether you’re meant to or not.

From Kent Elms it is on carriageway all the way but on the approach to Tesco, road markings direct you onto shared space which carries on all the way round the roundabout. This allows cyclists to traverse the roundabout traffic free until a crossing over the A127 where you can head south. This is all fairly decent and joins up with a traffic free route to Rochford.

It wasn’t clear if the shared space arrangements around the the roundabout continue, so I went back onto the carriageway. I noted a bit further down the road a shared space sign and inspection of Southend’s map, once home, indicated it is shared space all the way along.

Shortly after, this shared space becomes a cycle lane marked out on the pavement that weaves in and out of driveways and side roads. The markings are worn and cars park across it. This runs until Denton Approach, at which point you are back on the carriageway and all the way to Cuckoo Corner. The shame is there is potentially space for a cycle lane between the pavement and the carriageway (above right).

At Cuckoo Corner, one has to remain on the A127 carriageway heading south. At the traffic lights at the junction by Priory Park one can join the cycle lane mentioned previously, via a ramp from the carriageway and then up the hill to St Mary’s Road and basically reverse the initial stage of the journey.

Thoughts

Except for the lanes near the boundary, the provision for cycling isn’t great. Chopping and changing between the road and shared space delays the journey and means the route can’t be used in its entirety in the same way one would drive it, and not by young cyclists you wouldn’t want on the road. Having said that, the shared space around the Tesco roundabout is fairly decent and isn’t just pavement that has been designated as shared space (like Victoria Avenue between East Street and St Mary’s Road).

Could some sort of continuous cycling provision be created?

There are two key bits: between Kent Elms and Tesco and then between Tesco and Priory Park.

Heading into the Borough, the separate cycle lane stops at Kent Elms but shortly after that there is Exford Avenue, which joins up with the shared space at Tesco. There would just need to be a bi-directional lane installed from the 1930s lane to Exford Avenue.

On road you can use Broomfield Avenue, Bridgewater Drive and then Mendip Crescent, looping back up to the A127 and joining Exford Avenue. Alternatively, a path could be pushed through the Kent Elms junction in some way. It was  shame such a route was’t considered with the recent tinkering of the junction – something could be provided for and given its own turn in traffic lights.

After that you need something to bypass  everything from Tesco to Priory Park via Cuckoo Corner.

A possible route could be: Prittlewell Chase, Eastbourne Grove and Northville Road up to Tesco. Prittlewell Chase is a good route since it is dual carriageway and a nice path among the trees inbetween the carriageways could be installed. This also allows a cycling provision to the hospital.

Soon, I will cycle this route to check it…

Note (1) – on the AtoZ Map of Southend I use this road is referred to as Exford Avenue but I note that Google images have it as Prince Avenue. When I am next in the area I will check what the streetsigns say!

Note (2) – I’ve later learnt from maps that Exford Avenue becomes Elms Court – a new group of houses tucked away. The maps and satellite images suggest a path from Elms Court to Bridgewater Drive but I suspect this pavement. In any event, you would then have to head north on Bridgewater Drive and turn left at Kent Elms using the carriageway briefly before getting to the cycle lanes.