In 2011, Sustrans, the council, Don Foster MP, and the Canal & River Trust came together and agreed that the state of the Kennet and Avon Towpath between Sydney Gardens and Bathampton was in such a poor state that funding would be found to upgrade the towpath to a 4 season surface that would last for 15+years.
£135k was found in the council budget and Sustrans had reserved £315k of their core funds for the project. Then in 2012, the UK experienced extreme flooding and the government cut Sustrans core funding to support the development of flood defences.
In 2014 the CRT wrote a planning objection letter to the redevelopment of the Warminster Road MOD site demanding £315k towards maintenance of the towpath as the new bridge across to the towpath would increase footfall on an already busy towpath that was suffering from severe erosion.
Better infrastructure :- Widening all towpaths (where necessary) and upgrading to 4 season surfaces usable all year round.
Better signage :- Clear and prominent shared use signs to be installed across the country where there are concerns raised by local users.
Better behaviour :- A range of initiatives to encourage considerate use of towpaths. These include the CRT’s “Share the space, drop your pace” campaign and the recently developed towpath code of conduct.
There are some people in the community that do not want this repair to go ahead and have started a shock campaign around the idea that the repair will allow cyclists to cycle even faster along the towpath using a rather horrible picture from an inexcusable hit and run incident on a towpath up on the Wigan canal. They want this upgrade stopped at all costs. They like it the way it is as it slowly becomes unusable to all but the most determined users over years to come.
Having just read some horrible accounts of the kinds of thing that sometimes happen to women cyclists, I’d like to make it clear that I am a woman, I’m almost 60, and I live and cycle in Bath. And I’d like to be able to safely do it a lot more. Here’s how….
Here’s another version of my vision of how I’d like my home city to be.
We sat in the square with a coffee and watched as they chatted for ages, then they cycled off together in a leisurely way
Ferrara, northern Italy. Photos taken (by Malcolm) one afternoon in the summer, about 4 years ago. The photos below are from a series he took within 5 minutes from a single spot.
You’ve probably noticed that something is striking by its absence: motor vehicles of any kind. This changes everything.
Another historic and busy tourist destination, a World Heritage Centre, with a different understanding of how life could be better for all of us. Just ordinary people going about their ordinary everyday life. No lycra, no helmets. No need for either.
Old, young, hip, staid – everyone is cycling or walking. Slowly and sensibly. No competition between the pedestrians and the cyclists – after all…
Not only do you get an interesting article, you also get to see me sporting an acceptable moustache. Please please please attend the towpath consultations happening on Friday (Bathampton Village Hall 2-8pm) and Saturday (New Oriel Hall, Larkhall 11-5pm)
The shockingly graphic posters that have been erected. Click on the image to enlarge.
Those who fear improvements, planned for the canal towpath into Bath, will lead to a cycling take-over are using shock tactics to get their message across.
Graphic posters have been erected around the Grosvenor Bridge access route to the canal towpath into Bath showing the bloodied face of a woman who – we assume – has been in collision with a cyclist.
Though the poster talks about ‘widespread evidence for an increase in speeding cyclists where towpath upgrades have already been done’ l have been told the image is of someone who does not live in this area and comes from an ‘incident’ which occurred several years ago elsewhere in the country.
Meanwhile, the poster says the Kennet and Avon Canal towpath is – l quote -“widely publicised as a part of the Two Tunnels circular cycle route…
In BaNES we have Partners and Community Together (PACT) meetings. The last one was dominated by people demanding what the police are doing about pavement cycling. The simple answer is to give Cyclists their own space.
There is a picture that has done the rounds recently about a street in Amsterdam comparing the 1970s shot next to one taken recently. It’s subtle to notice, but there is no pavement cycling in the recent picture.
We were talking about this over supper the other night (a delicious meal all home grown and home cooked by our lovely neighbours). We were mulling over why it is that a very aggressive and negative image of cycling seems to prevail in our home city (and elsewhere). I was talking about cyclists and walkers, and our host expressed the view that part of the problem is the language we use.
We talk about cyclists. We talk about walkers. We talk about car drivers. As if they were different species, or at the very least different people.
But of course, they’re not. Most of us who cycle are also walkers, most are also car drivers, are also buggy pushers, are also runners (and may also at times be people with limited mobility). And at each of those times we may be doing something different, but we are the same person.
We all know that we have a growing obesity crisis in this country. We all know that traffic congestion is getting worse, and that the fumes (and invisible particulates) are poisoning our air and ourselves. We all know that the more traffic there is, the less safe we feel walking or cycling around and even more so letting our children walk or cycle around. So what are we doing to break into this vicious cycle?
My recent encounter with the M4 and other busy roads as I walked along the Kennet and Avon canal left me thinking a lot about alternatives to motorised transport, and the daily choices we make.
I’ve pretty much given up hope of our government (at either a national or especially my local level) doing anything about it.
Which leaves me. Myself. I. To take action to try to make things different.
Seven Dials consists of a new shared space and a swathe of Traffic Regulation Orders to develop a more direct cycle network through the implementation of cycle contraflows. The Avon Street contraflow was applied for on the 15th of January 2015. If you look at the scheme map, you’ll see that the Monmouth Street contraflow is key to delivering the scheme as it provides a direct on road contraflow route into the scheme for cyclists:
So in theory as part of the delivery of this scheme, this TRO SHOULD have been applied for at the same time as the Avon Street TRO, sometime around the middle of January. So what happened? Why did council officers not apply for this TRO?
Seven Dials is now finished but I think from what I can see, £1.2million of Cycle City Ambition Grant money bought cycling in Bath a new cycle-able door zone and a very exciting collision point outside Flan OBrien’s that is going to get somebody seriously injured. I also like the way BaNES painted in subtle hints that a contraflow may or may not exist enabling people to grumble about cyclists and how they are riding the wrong way up a road.
The Tour De France has delivered probably the single best video to underline the need to make cycling a serious transport option. If you are a councillor, MP, or work for a council, you need to spend 5 minutes and watch this video. Then you need to watch it again AND every time you commission a transport/public space project you need to watch it again.
Tonight is the BaNES Cycle Forum. With the new administration finding its feet, the forum is evolving and as such the new agenda has also evolved to accommodate a more pro-active approach to identifying issues and developing new routes. Expect the forum to become very much a way of driving the programme of Cycle infrastructure delivery. If you are reading this, your input is vital to the future direction BaNES will take.