Abington Scheme Details

Here is the council’s proposal for the Abington Area Active Travel Scheme. Consultation is now closed. To see the background to the scheme, see our timeline.

View the scheme brochure.

View the scheme web page.

Read our full response, submitted March 2023.

The good
  1. The diagonal crossing facility at the Billing Rd/Rushmere Rd junction is good for pedestrians – it gives people more equality with cars (cars can turn in any direction and get through the junction in one go – pedestrians will now be able to do this too). But it’s extremely poor for people on bikes.
  2. Although it was never part of the Northampton Local Cycling & Walking Plan (LCWIP), the Bridgewater Drive proposal looks good as it will encourage cycling to Bridgewater School.
  3. The crossing at the top of Abington Park Crescent near Park Avenue is good – it’s raised to the level of people on foot or on bikes, making it much easier for everyone, especially people with buggies, those using wheelchairs, and non-standard bicycles, including those carrying children.
The bad
  1. The document incorrectly states that there was an initial consultation on the Billing Rd Scheme. This is not the case – the consultation was abandoned as detailed here – so only those against the original scheme got a say.
  2. The original bid was for a route to the town centre that includes Billing Road – this came from the general Commonplace consultation in summer 2020. Yet nothing is included. A route along Billing Road would have big benefits for local people, by enabling them to cycle to the town centre, Barry Rd Primary School, Northampton School for Boys, and the hospital.
  3. Park Avenue South cycle lanes
    • Park Avenue S has a very wide area for cars. The bike lanes should be using some of that area, not pavement area – it’s absurd to take space away form pedestrians when there’s so much space on the carriageway, and this gives completely the wrong message.
    • The cycle lanes disappear just when they are most needed – ie at the junction. This does not meet the LTN1/20 standard and will not encourage cycling. Would those who designed this allow their child to cycle through the junction?
    • The cycle lanes on Park Avenue South will run right next to parked cars, and will likely be too narrow, creating a risk for people on bikes of being “car doored” – this cannot be LTN 1/20 compliant.
    • The proposed cycle lane along Park Avenue towards Rushmere Road stops at the point where it is needed most, at the junction with Billing Road. This is what the old painted lanes from the 1980s did – this does not meet modern LTN1/20 standards and would not encourage cycling along this stretch, especially for children.
    • In the opposite direction, the cycle lane coming up Rushmere Road needs to go right through the junction to the one in Park Avenue – in the proposed design the lane disappears when it is needed most – again not meeting LTN1/20 standards.
  4. It would be better to to stop cars from turning right from Park Ave S into Billing Rd. Other towns and cities have realised that steps like this are essential if we’re going to make real change.
  5. The DfT says that to qualify for Government Active Travel funding, the scheme needs to be ambitious and should reallocate road space – it seems that practically all the space being reallocated is coming either from pavements, or from the park. It should be coming from the than roads.
  6. Advance stop lines
    • The advance stop lines at the Park Ave S/Billing Rd junction are of little use, as there is no way of getting to them, unless the person on a bike happens to be at the front of the queue.
    • Advance stop lines need to be accompanied by traffic signals for cycles, that turn green a few seconds ahead of the main lights.
  7. All the above leads to the question: do the designers of this scheme have the Highway Engineers’ Professional Certificate & Diploma in Active Travel or a similar qualification?
Questions and additions
  1. The brochure states the aim of encouraging people to cycle to Abington Park. If that’s the case, there needs to be secure cycle parking at the park.
  2. Is there are way for bicycles from the side roads on Abington Park Cresc to join the cycle path? (Thanks Dr Ryan for pointing this out).
  3. If the scheme really wants to encourage people to cycle to Abington Park, then it needs to link with the opposite side of Wellingborough Rd. Norman Rd (opposite Abington Park Cresc) is one-way, but could easily have a cycle lane added to allow cycles to go towards the park.
  4. Currently there are bollards next to the park along Abington Park Cresc to prevent cars from entering the park. These should be moved to the roadside, to prevent pavement parking, especially as the pavement will now be narrower.