Pines Way Gyratory – Ignoring people who want to cycle

You wouldn’t think a cycling campaigning organisation would be too concerned about a development in the middle of a horrible gyratory near Sainsburys. I mean I hate riding that hell hole and do it very rarely.

It does sound very innocent:

Erection of an office building (use class B1) with basement parking, associated infrastructure and landscaping following the demolition of existing office building.

However what I didn’t realise was that they were redesigning the gyratory but completely ignoring cycling as a mode of transport.

Allow me to quote from their response to Highways concerns:

8. Cycle Accessibility
8.1 Again this is something we considered in developing the design, however given that the likely changes involved with removing the gyratory would make any scheme implemented now largely redundant, we discounted it. We would however be prepared to look at the provision of a shared cycleway around the gyratory (similar to that provided on Lower Bristol Road west of and across Churchill Bridge using the existing footway, which is 3m wide.

So because, at some point in the next X years the whole gyratory will be changed it’s not worth making it good for people who want to cycle. Note I didn’t say cyclists.

Design removing the horrible gyratory.
Design removing the horrible gyratory.
Pines Way Gyratory Reconfiguration ignoring with no consideration for cycling.
Pines Way reconfiguration with no consideration for cycling.

Somewhere in somebody’s head somewhere in the council is a master plan as to what they are going to do to Pines Way gyratory. This, I have to assume, as the council keeps telling us they want people aged 8-80 cycling, will include segregated well thought out cycle infrastructure.

I do not understand how IMA Transport Planning, the architects who came up with this, did not discuss what they were doing within the context of this master plan and deliver a good holistic design with segregation between pedestrians, people who are cycling and motorised vehicles.

I mean Hayesfield School is just around the corner and Pines Way is a major corridor for children and residents of Oldfield Park coming and going into the city. This type of stuff is important. It’s called completing the network. Giving people safe good routes to go from A to B. A cycle route is only as good as it’s weakest part…and this proposal is pretty sh*t for people who want to cycle.

What is probably closer to the truth is that there is no master plan. That the developers are paying the council a load of section 106 money to redevelop the gyratory and that nobody has considered that this money will be double spent when the gyratory is properly redeveloped.

The council should take the developer’s money, bank it and use it for when the whole gyratory master plan is put in place. Us bloody “cyclists” need good infrastructure…not this half baked stuff.

One of the bigger issues for myself is the insistence on using traffic lights to control space. This necessitates offering a lane for right turning traffic. Using Poynton shared space as a starting point and a little bit of inspiration from elsewhere we could have two of these at each corner.

Roundabout segregating pedestrians, cyclists and motorised traffic.
Roundabout segregating pedestrians, cyclists and motorised traffic.

“Cycling is fragile. It doesn’t take many bad experiences to make people give up. If people break the habit of cycling they may not return very quickly. That is why it is important that the integrity of the fine grid of high quality cycling infrastructure required to achieve a high cycling modal share…” – David Hembrow

So now what?

  1. Go look at the proposal.
  2. Email and object.
  3. Subscribe to the CycleBath site. It’s a great way of getting involved!
  4. Write to your councillor and ask them why things like this happen.
  5. Email  IMA Transport planning and tell them how disappointed you are! 

[Edit 24/9/2014] IMA Transport have responded and it’s petty obvious that their response to Highways is caused by the vagueness of the Bath Enterprise Area Master plan. They literally have no idea what the council will be doing down there with the road system. Been caught in the crossfire. I’ll be following this up in a future article.


  1. I sympathise with the problems due to this new development, but I’d recommend a different approach with the roundabout. The Dutch build two types of roundabouts. One of the designs has a much better safety record than the other. The less safe design requires that drivers behave perfectly and can always see perfectly. Even Dutch drivers who are familiar with cycles get this wrong alarmingly often.

    That’s why I recommend the safer design. It’s safer here than the one you chose, and will be doubly safer in any country where drivers are less familiar with cyclists than NL.

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