Victoria Bridge cycle push-up/down

1. I have been pursuing access to/from Victoria Bridge from the riverside path for some time, so this is my take on things and responds to various recent ‘tweets’.

2. Originally I lobbied for a ramp which would meet everyone’s requirements. B&NES Council Design Team produced an initial (ie not detailed) design a copy of which is attached. Victoria bridge rampTC8503.100.GA

3. As things progressed the Council Major Projects Team rejected the ramp option for two reasons, quote:

a. “it would have to run partly along the towpath, and would have reduced the towpath width in that area leaving a less than ideal arrangement for pedestrian and cycle traffic to safely pass one another.”

I can see some logic here (although arguably the ramp width could have been reduced).

b. “it would have had an unacceptably detrimental impact on the character and appearance of the listed structure. Bear in mind that the most obvious linkage route between the towpath and upper level that of the steps, lies within the curtilage of the Grade II listed structure.”

My interpretation is that English Heritage rejected the ramp, so that was that. (I have views on the power of EH but that’s another matter.)

Anyhoo, the ramp was history and I was told that a cycle ‘push-up’ would be incorporated.

4. When I, like others, saw what was in situ, I wasn’t doing cartwheels down the path, so I contacted Major Projects and have had an exchange of correspondence with David Reynolds which is currently continuing. I pointed out that the cycle push up/down (on the left-hand side looking up) caters for left-handers pushing up or right-handers pushing down, but would be quite awkward for ‘the reverse’.

5. Given the reality that the concrete is poured and what is in place is not, effectively, going to be able to be substantively changed, I suggested that the ‘flat’ section on right-hand side of the steps also be utlised as a push-up/down. Although it’s tricky to judge from outside the fence, it looks as if, with a few bricks and a couple of buckets of cement, the two sections could be joined by building in a rising curved section between them. Not perfect, but better.

6. The reply advised that the design had “been detailed as per the SUSTRANS standard detail. A channel is not proposed for the other side of the steps because we do not believe there is a need for two channels to cater for handedness – certainly I’m not aware of any design guidance which requires this – and we want to maximise the width available for pedestrians, which would reduce further with a channel on the other side.” In my recent response I highlighted: http://www.sustrans.org.uk/sites/default/files/images/files/migrated-pdfs/guidelines%208.pdf – the last page 8.7, ‘Wheeling Ramps’, which states: “Ideally the ramp should be placed on both sides of the steps as this will cater for both left and right handed cyclists.” ie if you’re starting from scratch, this is what you should do.

7. Thus, I remain of the opinion that appropriate consideration should be given to implementing the proposal I outline at para 5 above. It won’t be perfect but, given where we are, I think it would represent a pragmatic and achievable improvement for not much effort.

8. Comments here or on Twitter are welcomed (althoughI request they be of the ‘constructive’ rather than ‘ranty’ nature :))

Frank Tompson

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6 thoughts on “Victoria Bridge cycle push-up/down”

  1. Thanks to Frank and others for their continued work on this.

    I appreciate that CycleBath’s primary concern is for cyclists, but it does seem unfortunate that no-one seems to be advocating for all the other wheeled users of the bridge and the path – I am thinking of those with prams, buggies, and wheelchairs. Not to mention ‘non-standard’ cycle users e.g. tricycles, bikes with child trailers, cyclists with attached trailers back or front. All of these vehicles provide access for an even wider range of potential users, or rather in the case of this provision fail to provide access for them. Yet another missed opportunity by BANES, planners and others.

    If there is anything at all that can be done to achieve an improvement of this sub-standard provision it would be great. I wish I had a constructive suggestion but I guess any improvement on the current plan is worth pushing for.

    Best wishes

    Deborah

    1. Think we all agreed last night that a compulsory purchase order to buy the land at the back of the building would have enabled a ramp to be put in place joining the cycle path without affecting the width of the towpath. However even that would need approval from English Heritage.

  2. When the work was in progress, misled by the extra scaffolding run that appeared on the boundary wall there, I assumed (wrongly) that as part of the bridge works, provision for the ramp was in hand.

    B&NES could do worse than take this up. Perhaps the landowner will be willing to sell the land for the ramp:
    Victoria bridge,bath
    Again, while it’s a development that would need planning permission and English Heritage would need to be consulted, it’s not clear that they’d object – this would improve the setting of the bridge.

  3. When the work was in progress, misled by the extra scaffolding run that appeared on the boundary wall there, I assumed (wrongly) that as part of the bridge works, provision for the ramp was in hand.

    B&NES could do worse than take this up. Perhaps the landowner will be willing to sell the land for the ramp, seen in this aerial photo:

    Victoria bridge,bath

    Again, while it’s a development that would need planning permission and English Heritage would need to be consulted, it’s not clear that they’d object – this would improve the setting of the bridge.

  4. I bumped into David Reynolds at another meeting yesterday so we discussed this. David advised that a pushup/down on the rhs side had been considered but that the radius required to connect the two sections was insufficient to allow a bicycle to be pushed up/down. So, nothing will change. I will be interested to see if this bears scrutiny when the steps are open.

    I advised that I found it most disappointing that in a £3M development a second push-up/down could not be integrated. Very poor B&NES.

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