Inspiring Infrastructure: Arcot Street, Penarth


Penarth is a small seaside town approximately two miles south of Cardiff, on the south side of Cardiff Bay.  Walking and cycling routes connect the town to the regenerated Cardiff Bay area via the bay barrage and the new bascule bridge, Pont y Werin, across the River Ely.

Arcot Street formed part of the proposed key Connect2 link between the bridge, the Penarth Heights housing development and Penarth town centre.  However as part of a traffic and parking review in Penarth, Arcot Street was also identified as being a location for additional town centre parking by conversion to a one way street with an echelon (diagonal) parking layout.

The contra-flow scheme is approximately 130m in length. Vehicle flows on Arcot Street are approximately 1000 per day, with an 85th% speed of 27mph.

The original proposals for the contra-flow lane were raised as a concern in the safety review, on the grounds of safety and potential for conflict between contraflow cyclists and vehicles emerging from parking bays. A suggested return to standard parallel parking arrangements was not accepted as it would put the Town Centre Parking Strategy at risk.

The alternative to the contraflow would have involved a detour of over twice the length, along busier arterial roads and requiring cyclists to undertake two right turn manoeuvres.



An independent Safety Review that included reviewing alternative routes into the town centre as well as Arcot Street, concluded that the contraflow alignment presented the best option, and suggested amendments to the original design, which generated additional carriageway width for an increased buffer zone and provided protective splitter islands at each end junction, removing the main concerns that the original audit raised.

The implemented design involved narrowing the left hand side parallel parking bays, which in turn generated sufficient space to allow for a 1.50m wide contra-flow lane and a 1.50m wide buffer zone to the echelon parking. The remaining vehicle running lane was set at between 2.50 and 2.75m

New construction costs for the whole scheme were just above £27,000 and with contingency / prelims and design fees the costs were £38,500. Service / utility costs are unknown. 

Since its opening in the spring of 2011, there have been no reported incidents or problems with the operation of the contraflow and it is proving to be very popular. 

For further information about this scheme, please contact Vinny Mott, Sustrans Project Manager.

Previously featured schemes: