Progress on the Wilmslow Road Cycleway – April 2016 (Part 1)

This is a follow-up to my previous progress updates in October and December 2015. Given the amount to cover, this is part 1 of 4 posts and covers the section from Didsbury to Withington.

The other posts can be found here:

I don’t live locally to Wilmslow Road, so don’t get to ride along it that often. Though I used to live in Fallowfield and I do ride it occasionally, travelling in from Cheadle to Manchester, and I’m aware of many of the problems.

I also used to go to college in Rusholme many years ago, and commuted along here on my Orange Clockwork, bought from Neil Walton’s in Didsbury, in the days you would very rarely see anyone commuting on a bike. So in some ways, it shows how far we’ve come.

Didsbury to Withington

In Didsbury, things don’t get off to a good start. Just past the Barlow Moor Road junction, there’s a newly painted advisory cycle lane in the door zone for some parking spaces and a bus stop. Why this has been put down I don’t know, but it puts those on bikes in direct conflict with cars and buses. This is dangerous and should be removed. Having nothing would be better in my opinion.

Door zone cycle lane conflicting with parked cars and buses

Fortunately, things soon improve with stretches of kerb-separated cycleways. The length of the kerb-separated sections vary along the route, as do the presence of double yellows. At junctions and driveways, the cycleway changes to mandatory or advisory lanes as you’d expect.

The quality of the cycleway surface varies along the route. As you’d probably guess, the newly laid sections are much smoother than the sections that retain their original surface from before. It’s a real shame the whole route wasn’t treated to a new surface.

Section of kerb-separated cycleway

I was really pleased to see lots of the bus stops getting good quality bypasses. These will really help make cycling along Wilmslow Road a much more pleasant and safer experience and is something we should see more of across the whole of Greater Manchester.

One of the bus stop bypasses along the route

I was also pleased to see the cycleway given priority at junctions, with the side roads getting give way markings. These could be better though. I’d like to see raised tables and more visual indicators of priority, as it’s not actually that clear.

Cycleway priority at a side road

Along the route, the cycleway switches between being on-road with kerb separation to being pavement level, with separators. This is mostly successful, particularly compared to other sections of the route, but it would have been better if it was more consistent. The separators are very forgiving though, and I think provide enough of a separation.

The section at The Christie is quite poor though, with bikes coming into conflict with cars parking. Being in front of The Christie, there’s obviously some limitations on what you can do, while providing access. But this is quite a busy section of road and would benefit from some further work.

At The Christie

Things take a turn for the worse when you reach Withington and the junction of Palatine Road. If you want to continue right along Wilmslow Road, you have to use the ASL to get into the right hand lane. This is a problematic junction and would really benefit from a separate cycle phase.

Junction with Palatine Road in Withington

Apart from the issues at either end and at The Christie, this section of the Wilmslow Road Cycleway is generally successful. I doubt the treatment would be that suitable for busier sections of the route, but given where it is, I think it works in proving a safe, convenient route.



Next to part 2 – Withington to Fallowfield

One thought on “Progress on the Wilmslow Road Cycleway – April 2016 (Part 1)

  1. The section at the junction of Wilmslow Road and Palatine in Withington is more problematic than your report allows. The cycle lane fills up with water every time it rains.

    Spare a thought for pedestrians too. The cyclists have been helped to the detriment of pedestrians. Getting off a bus with a buggy on those islands is not easy and some of the pavements are now so narrow, double buggies have no chance.


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