The Fleetwood Ferry

Helen’s Mum lives in Fleetwood, which isn’t too far from Lancaster, but it’s only 21 miles if you take the ferry across the River Wyre. The ferry only takes 5 minutes and cuts out about 12 miles, some of which is on busy roads, so all in all it makes the journey more fun and enjoyable. Below is a photo of the Ferry arriving in Knott End, along with some side beard.

IMG_0883

The prices have recently gone up, so it now costs £2 per passenger, plus 50p for your bike. Well worth it I say, and a vital link between the two towns if you don’t own a car, as the bus takes hours.

The Ferry has been running for over 175 years and is part of Lancashire’s heritage. Unfortunately, due to the savage cuts to local authorities in the last seven years, the Council can no longer afford to run it. Arrangements had been in place for the Council to fund it for another four years, but this has recently fallen through, and the ferry is up for tender from private operators. Inevitably this will mean more price increases.

The cuts to local authorities has meant the closing of libraries and museums as well as dozens of services being paired back to the bone. None of these cuts are necessary, and I’m not the right person to blog about politics, but I worry about the state of our country if we have another five years of Tory rule.

Once we reached Fleetwood we only had a mile to cycle to get to Helen’s Mum’s house, and lunch, sitting in the sun in the garden. We then headed back to the ferry. The journey back across took slightly longer, as the tide had come in.

IMG_0891

Back in Knott End and it was a tailwind all the way home, only spoiled by some very poor driving.

If you’re in the area, make a point of using the Ferry, as it could do with our help, and once it’s gone I fear that it will be gone forever.

Advertisements

Denny Beck Lane

There is a very pleasant 10km route that I sometimes like to run. From our house, along the canal to the River Lune, along the cyclepath, up Denny Beck Lane, over the A683, up Grimshaw Lane, past the prison and into the park to let Nelly off the lead for a lap before heading home. You can see my route in green below.

Lancs

Unfortunately, there has always been one issue with this route, namely Denny Beck Lane. Once again the green dots are my track points, recorded every second.

lancs2

This small winding road has for years been used as a rat run to get to the M6 without going through the centre of Lancaster. There are no pavements on this road, so it has always been a bit dangerous to run, especially with Nelly. The bridge over the River Lune is also very narrow, but it does have large metal bollards to keep pedestrians and cyclists marginally safe from vehicles.

20170311_075858

A couple of years ago I suggested to the Council that they should close this bridge to vehicles. I didn’t receive a reply.

Today though, I didn’t pass a single car as I ran up Denny Beck Lane. Why is that, you might ask?

Well, this is because of the new Bay Expressway, which has an entry road in Halton, meaning that there is now a quick and easy way for vehicles to reach the M6 without having to go across the small bridge and up (or down) Denny Beck Lane.

I will try once again with the Council, and maybe this time they will agree that there is no reason what-so-ever to allow vehicles to cross this ridiculously small bridge.

Cycling infrastructure in Lancaster

We have a new bypass in the area, linking the M6 with Heysham, called the Bay Gateway. I’m not going to write about that road, even though it has a good quality separated cycle path along the whole length of the new section.

I’m going to talk about a section of the A6 heading towards Lancaster which crosses over the new link road, and in particular the traffic lights shown below.

20170115_104003

Smooth road surface and a cycle lane that is not too narrow. What could be wrong with this? With a little more thought this could have been much better. There is no good reason why cyclists should have to stop at this junction, when heading south. Pedestrians will never cross here, and the reason for the lights is to allow traffic from the right to join the A6. If the cycle lane had been raised, as a pavement, or a kerb, then cyclists would be physically separate from the traffic. I’ve tried to show what I mean on the photo below.

picture1

If this section of cycle lane was raised, and carried on a little further, beyond the car, then there could be a permanent green light for cyclists. There is still plenty of room for traffic to join the road from the right without impinging upon the cycle lane, as long as there was, as I have stated, a physical barrier. In Holland and Germany this junction, even with my recommendation, would still be classed as very poor for cyclists. This junction as it is, is good for Lancaster, which shows just how far we still have to go, especially as less than a mile down this road it narrows with cars parked all over the place. I won’t even mention that the A6 from Galgate to Lancaster is in the top ten most dangerous roads in the country, and nothing has been done to improve it by the local council since this was announced over two years ago.