The dangers of the East Reading MRT will outweigh the benefits for cyclists.
Sold as a “segregated” fast track public transport, pedestrian and cycle route, the concrete flyover is in reality only partly segregated. It will bring cyclists and general traffic into conflict at a new junction with Napier road, along Napier road and at Vastern road roundabout.
The first danger zone – the MRT junction with Napier Road
The MRT will join Napier Road on the corner just after Luscinia View flats and before Tesco. Buses, cyclists and pedestrians will turn on and off the MRT at a new T-junction. Buses will wait to turn on a traffic island, presumably formed by widening the existing road. The new junction will bring buses, cars, cyclists and pedestrians into conflict. The plan below is taken from the Transport Statement included in the application and shows the conflict zones.
The original of this plan, which you can find in the application Transport Statement, shows pedestrian and cyclist conflict zones, but oddly does not call out the obvious conflict zone between cyclists and buses. This is despite the fact that the cycle route, shown in blue, passes alongside the turning area for the buses. SOAR have annotated the plan to call out the additional risk to cyclists.
The second danger zone – no cycle lane for the length of Napier road
Despite being repeatedly billed as a segregated route:
MRT scheme proposes a direct and segregated bus, pedestrian and cycle route from the east to the heart of the town centre. Jo Lovelock, Letter, Reading Chronicle
The MRT is NOT segregated on Napier Road. Cyclists will have to negotiate general traffic including the MRT buses from the proposed new junction down to the Vastern Road roundabout. Luscinia View residents report that Napier Road is already congested, the MRT will only add to that congestion increasing the risk to cyclists.
The third danger zone – Vastern Road roundabout
In our top 10 reasons to object to the MRT we call out the impact on Vastern Roundabout as number 1. We do this because it is already an accident blackspot with multiple serious collisions over the last 5 years. The image below shows incidents in the last 5 years on or close to the roundabout.
To check casualty stats go to crashmap.co.uk and search for ‘Vastern Road’ or ‘Vastern Roundabout’.
Cyclists are particularly vulnerable and official records show 19 cyclist casualties in three years. As the Reading Cycle Campaign say these figures should be generating urgent action by Reading Borough Council. Instead they are pushing the £31m East Reading MRT scheme, which will only make things worse.
The MRT Phase 2 will shave the radius between Napier Road and the south bound arm of the roundabout beneath the railway bridge forcing space for yet another bus lane. We can’t find any provision in the current application for cyclists joining the roundabout.
Despite the obvious risks no investigation has been completed into the impact the MRT will have on casualty numbers.
RBC and Peter Brett Associates have failed to consider cyclist safety
It is clear that Peter Brett Associates and RBC have failed to seriously consider cyclist safety. Residents of both Reading and Wokingham are predicted to use the MRT. Cllrs of all wards should be asking some pointed and urgent questions given the risk to their constituents.