Cycle friendliness of Bramford Lane roadworks

Roadworks on Bramford Lane - Holes on side furthest from the houses.

Bramford Lane in Ipswich is currently part closed for gas main works. Bramford Lane is a residential road in and out of west Ipswich in-between 2 main roads. It is signed as a local cycle route, and part of it is on national cycle route 51 (just off the part that is closed).

There are several schools and nurseries on or just off Bramford Lane and during the school run there is normally a large amount of traffic along the length of it, especially near the schools. Sometimes the traffic can come to a standstill in part due to the parking.

The roadworks are between Cromer/Eustace Road and Wallace Road, where there’s housing on one side and allotments on the other side of the road. The gas mains to properties are being replaced. All of the holes being dug on the side of the road furthest from the housing, with plenty of space to walk and cycle past most of the time.

The signage approaching the closure is saying road closed with a diversion at pretty much every side road along Bramford Lane. It’s nice to see that many of the signs are on the road instead of the pavement.

Entrance to the road works showing road closed sign
Entrance to the road works showing road closed sign

At the roadworks the closure is simply “Road closed”. Nothing about access still being open for or able to be used by people walking and cycling. The Wallace Road end is partially open so that residents have access to their properties, whilst the town end has the barriers closing it off more, requiring people to cycle or drive over the pavement to get past.

Occasionally there are vans parked or loading blocking the road, so having to cycle on the pavement, if it was The Netherlands, then cycle and walking provision would be standard through the roadworks in this scenario, with any vehicles parked in such a way to allow the walking and cycling to continue unhindered with the minimum of disruption.

Road still able to be cycled along even with the roadworks on the right.
Road still able to be cycled along even with the roadworks on the right.

Why should we emphasise that the road is open to people walking and cycling more?

  • Suffolk County Council has declared a climate emergency, and as part of that they should be encouraging as much walking and cycling a possible.
  • To help encourage people to walk and cycle shorter distances, when these temporary restrictions come up things should be done to encourage the walking and cycling of the shorter journeys, a bit like a trial for a low traffic neighbourhood.
  • We should survey residents to see what they think about the reduced level of motor traffic and noise, would they like to have that more in the longer term? Could it be a way to start a conversation to get more low traffic neighbourhoods?
  • Some diversion routes can be very long and inappropriate for people walking and cycling, yet they are rarely advertised, instead only have to guess if you can walk or cycle through, or review maps and other information for alternatives.
  • Some people find it difficult to dismount and push their bike, they use the bike as a mobility aid and so need to stay on the bike.
  • Bikes such as cargo bikes/trikes are often much easier to manoeuvre whilst sat on the bike with full control of the pedals and brakes, whereas pushing whilst on foot is a lot harder to control the bike.
  • Alternative diversion routes will often be busier due to the higher level of motor traffic. This increases the road danger for people walking and cycling on the diversion routes, hence protecting infrastructure or alternative quieter routes should be found.

I’ve notice a change in the pattern of traffic along Bramford Lane due to the roadworks. There’s a lot less traffic along the length of Bramford Lane, however the motor traffic crossing Bramford Lane is much more noticeable

What can Suffolk County Council and other councils do to ensure that the roadworks are designed for active travel, especially when it’s other organisations who are doing the road closure?

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