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Strange Road Planning Kirkstall Road

joparijopari Posts: 84
edited August 2013 in Commuting general
Bit of a long one, sorry.
Kirkstall Road in Leeds which is v popular with cycle commuters, has just had a new £24m pound bus lane and carriageway widening scheme, which has improved things for us cyclists.
However.
There's an odd bit of traffic management. At the end of the long section of new bus-lane just after the Total petrol station (going into town) there are traffic lights. They are set to Red by default for bus lane, (with the normal 'car' carriageway set to green), but are triggered by busses, so turn green to let busses through. ok?
So, two points:
1. Bikes don't trigger the lights, so you either run a red light (which most do), go into the 'car' lane and go through on green (what I do), or wait for a bus to trigger the sensors (which I've seen people do; could be waiting a long time!)

2. There's a bus stop JUST BEFORE THE LIGHTS. So a bus comes along, triggers the lights to turn green (and red for car traffic), but the bus then stops. By the time people are on board, it's gone red again for the bus, and I'm not sure how it's then triggered to go green again (not hung around long enough to find out).

Anyone else seen this? What do you do? What would you do? Is it something that a cycle group needs to bring up with the council?
ta,
g
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Posts

  • bails87bails87 Posts: 13,317
    There's a few similar things near me. One of them just has a light for the main road, which is off most of the time but when a bus approaches it turns on and goes to red, then back to green, then turns off. So you don't have to jump a red light if it doesn't detect you on the bike. Sometimes it does, so it stops traffic for me, other times I just filter into traffic.

    There's another one that's just like what you describe though, seperate lights for bus and car lanes, but the bus lane one is red by default until a bus comes along. So you either go out into the main road or RLJ. I've only been through it a couple of times, but treat it as a faulty light and go through with caution.
    MTB/CX

    "As I said last time, it won't happen again."
  • there's one further up the road by Kirkstall abbey which doesn't have a red light for the bus/bikes, just a give-way junction. So when a bus comes, it triggers the cars to stop, and the bus carries on because it's free, and bikes can just carry on regardless as the 'give-way' is always fine for them because of the way the traffic is over to the right. This seems to work fine.
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  • rolf_frolf_f Posts: 15,962
    jopari wrote:
    there's one further up the road by Kirkstall abbey which doesn't have a red light for the bus/bikes, just a give-way junction. So when a bus comes, it triggers the cars to stop, and the bus carries on because it's free, and bikes can just carry on regardless as the 'give-way' is always fine for them because of the way the traffic is over to the right. This seems to work fine.

    There's one of those on Burley Road too near the viaduct. Actually, I prefer that to Kirkstall Road because the new £24m bus and cycle lane is shoite. Basically, you either ride along the red tarmac bus lane, with luxurious amounts of space compared to the old days, but on a surface that makes me think I should buy a full supension long travel MTB (I mean, it is a really, really horrible surface - like a washboard) or you irritate the drivers by using the adjacent glass smooth black tarmac.

    I avoid it altogether.
    Faster than a tent.......
  • joparijopari Posts: 84
    I wrote to the council about this, and got the following reply:
    Dear Sir,

    Thank-you for your e-mail sent on the 19th October 2012, requesting advise on the procedure for cyclists travelling through the A65 Woodside View Bus Gate.

    The bus gate traffic lights are triggered by all vehicles, including cycles.

    Cyclists are detected, however in addition buses create a hurry call as soon as they leave the bus stop, so see traffic go to amber almost immediately. Other vehicles in the bus lane only create a demand and have to wait their turn in the 72 second cycle. If the bus gate has just operated, then even the bus hurry call has to wait for a min green time on the general traffic lane before the lights change in favour of the bus.

    Cyclists have the choice of waiting in the bus gate for the lights to change to green, or filtering back out into the general traffic to go through their green light.

    Cyclists who drive through a red light are committing a motoring offense, a danger to crossing pedestrians, and stop the general traffic later in the 72 second cycle.

    Further calibration in the autumn will be required, as traffic builds up, to get the bus gate to allow the optimum amount of traffic through, whilst balancing the queues and minimising delays.


    Pretty chuffed they got back to me so quickly, but it doesn't sit right with me. I've not seen a bike trigger the light yet, and even if it was triggered it could be 70 seconds before the lights change, so vast majority would never know it's been triggered. As there's a bike along every minute or so at rush hour, this would mean the 72s cycle is always triggered.

    If cyclists knew about the trigger, and the light-cycle time was shorter, they may (may) be prepared to wait the few seconds for the lights to go green. As it is, the majority run through a ped crossing on 'green-man' while the rest filter into traffic (which isn't ideal). I've replied in a similar manner.

    Thoughts?
    Cannondale R800 - Dry
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  • I have a similar bus lane near me that I use everyday. I find that as you approach a junction there is 2 or 3 sensor grids as below, if I cross the horizontal lines I do not get detected, BUT If I travel the length of the righthand line, and - dont laugh - zig zag slightly over it, it almost always triggers the light change. Id say 9 times out of ten at least.

    roadsensors.png

    roadsensors-1.png
  • c00ky83c00ky83 Posts: 1
    Sorry for digging up an old thread for my first post, but I remember finding this thread a while ago when I too noticed the folly of the Kirkstall Bus Gate.

    Anyway, just thought I'd post to say that common sense appears to have prevailed :P

    I went through this morning and the lights stayed on green for both the bus lane and the general traffic lane. It looks like the traffic is stopped when a bus comes along, and buses/bikes are stopped only when pedestrians are crossing.
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