Bath Quay really sucks if you want to cycle

Let’s be really clear. I went to the Enterprise Area Master plan presentation and was told in no uncertain terms by Cllr Ben Stevens that in the master plan, the river path was considered to be a walking and leisure cycling route. They would design in a ‘fast’ route for commuter cyclists. When pressed further, he confirmed those cyclists would share the road for parts of it. In other words, it would only be suitable for current confident cyclists.

This strategy of forcing cyclists to mix with road traffic WILL NOT get people cycling. It will not make Bath a cycling city. The council’s promise of providing cycling aged 8 to 80+ is a lie and this development clearly shows this. They really don’t care about making this city fit for cycling for ALL the family.

When looking at cycling infrastructure design, there is ONE, just ONE key thing the designer has to have in mind. You design for this person. I’m calling her Amelie.

marnixlaan-crossing2

So with Amelie in mind, lets look at this development

Bath Quayside Overview
Bath Quayside Overview (Click on it to see large view)

I mean, it looks ok. Until you start asking how Amelie would actually use this, because at some point, Amelie comes off the cycle lane and is dumped onto a very busy road on a fast corner

Cyclist is dumped out onto the fast carriageway .
Cyclist is dumped out onto the fast carriageway .

This isn’t even funny. This is downright negligent. The irony is, with a little thought you could have a wide segregated cycle path all the way up to Midland Bridge. Remember a network is only as strong as its weakest link.

Green Park Park ad surrounding space has plenty of room for development of good cycle infrastructure.
Green Park Park ad surrounding space has plenty of room for development of good cycle infrastructure.

Then there is the council’s arrogant resistance to the idea that people hate cycling in traffic. We’re designing for Amelie. So when you look at the river quay area, they’ve not thought of this. It’s a 4m wide path up until it connects to the river path. Then, apparently, the old narrow path is ok.

4m wide promenade reduces down to 2m wide path. This directly connects to the Bath to Bristol cycle path.
4m wide promenade reduces down to 2m wide path. This directly connects to the Bath to Bristol cycle path.

This part of the river path is heavily used and could do with being widened to stop the conflict between cyclists and pedestrians. The fact the provided cycle path tries to dump you on the road, Amelie will be riding down the cycle path, cutting onto the quay and then riding along the narrow river path.

The route any sane cyclist would take down from the top cycle path, down the key and onto the river path.
The route any sane cyclist would take down from the top cycle path, down the key and onto the river path.

There is a perfect opportunity to take the cycle path along the top of the embankment and then join a widened river path at the corner of Green Park. THIS STUFF IS NOT ROCKET SCIENCE PEOPLE.

Where the cycle path should rejoin the river path.
Where the cycle path should rejoin the river path.

Look, that river path needs widening. It needs to be at least 3m wide all along the route, and if the council can spend millions on reinforcing river defences on the other side, widening the path and installing a railing for 200m does not seem unreasonable considering how vital this route is to people who want to cycle.

The solution:
1) Widen the Riverside Quay path all along it’s length.
2) Create a wide shared path up to Midland Road Junction
3) Widen the very narrow path behind Green Park and add railings.
4) Remove the Green Park hedges that create a dark unsafe environment and reduce visibility on the path.
4) Build a cycle path along the top of the embankment to join the river path on the corner of Green Park.
The missing cycle paths/shared paths from the Quay design
The missing cycle paths/shared paths and need to widen River Path in the Quay design.

So where are we with this? I’m so disappointed with this. It’s pretty obvious they have not considered what is going on at Pines Way Gyratory as already discussed. We cannot look at this stuff in isolation. Bath is a network, and we need the ability for children to be able to cycle from Oldfield Park into the city and be safe doing it. Riding with traffic is NOT ACCEPTABLE in 2014. It’s a throwback to a bygone era and it is disgusting that the planners even consider this good design.

We need to council’s planners to really up their game. We need networks of protected segregated cycle paths and we cannot design parts of the city in isolation. This plan really does suck as somebody who wants persuade their family to cycle in Bath.

You can find planning information online.

And when you are ready email development_control@bathnes.gov.uk with your feedback.

More importantly, email your local councillor and tell them this lack of thought for cycling provision is unacceptable and that new cycling infrastructure must be designed for children whenever possible.

Please remember to follow us. We need your support to affect real change in Bath!

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3 thoughts on “Bath Quay really sucks if you want to cycle”

  1. FYI this is what I have sent as an objection to the Quayside plan:

    To BANES Planning office,
    Cycle Bath is objecting to the design of the Bath Quay but this is something that can be solved extremely easily to provide a high quality cycle route on to the River Path and a safe traffic free route up to the Midland Bridge. Pines Way is going to be redeveloped at some point and the connection between there and Bath Quay is a vital consideration.

    The issues:
    1) The river path is a key cycle route for family, tourist, leisure, and commuter cyclists. This ‘core’ route has been ignored in the design.
    2) There is a need to deliver a safe traffic free route up to Midland Bridge as Pines Way is being redeveloped and will be a core travel route for people who want to cycle. The Quay cannot be developed in isolation.
    3) It is unacceptable to have a traffic free cycle route end and ‘dump’ a unconfident cyclists onto the bend of a fast road.

    The solution:
    1) Widen the Riverside Quay path all along it’s length.
    2) Create a wide shared path up to Midland Road Junction
    3) Widen the very narrow path behind Green Park and add railings.
    4) Remove the Green Park hedges that create a dark unsafe environment and reduce visibility on the path.
    4) Build a cycle path along the top of the embankment to join the river path on the corner of Green Park.

    These are not major changes and will greatly enhance the cycling network and more specifically cater for people aged 8-80+ who want to cycle.

    Note that our proposed solution this will reduce any conflict between cyclists and pedestrians as cyclists will not be riding into the Quay area when trying to get to the River path.

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