CCAG 2015/16: Kennet and Avon Canal connection to Grosvenor Bridge

Upgrade Kennet & Avon Tow Path (NCN4) to improve access from the East of Bath to the City Centre and Enterprise Area. Also to improve access to Grosvenor Bridge for residents of Lambridge and the London Road area of the city.

With the Cycle Forum tomorrow (Tuesday the 10th of March 2015) and with a budget of £675,000 that needs to be spent in the 2015/2016 financial year we need to get a move on! There are aspects of this project that were not clearly defined as part of the Cycle City Ambition Grant Bid. This is my proposal. Please feel free to rip it apart. In fact it’s your duty to do so.

The principle objectives I am trying to achieve are:

  • A child safe route from Lambridge into the city centre.
  • A future proof solution in line with a long-term objective to have protected cycle lanes on London Road to provide a direct route into the city from the east.

What I am not trying to do is:

  • Deliver the perfect solution. We have a budget and a hell of a lot to get into the budget. I am assuming it is ‘acceptable’ to have for a child to ride with parents on 20MPH zoned roads.
  • It will not be the most direct route. The focus is on Grosvenor Bridge.
Lambridge Street to Grosvenor Bridge Road
Lambridge to Grosvenor Bridge and London Road layout. Red = Protected cycle lane, Blue = widened shared path, Black = Toucan, Yellow = Cycle Contraflow. Requires removal of 72.41m bus lane between Gloucester Road and Grosvenor Bridge Road
Lambridge to Grosvenor Bridge and London Road layout. Red = Protected cycle lane, Blue = widened shared path, Black = Toucan, Yellow = Cycle Contraflow. Requires removal of 72.41m bus lane between Gloucester Road and Grosvenor Bridge Road
  • Yellow- Provide a cycle contraflow on Lambridge Street and Upper Lambridge Street.
  • Remove bus lane on London Road and start it after Grosvenor Bridge Road (GBR)
  • Red- Provide protected cycle lanes between GBR and Lambridge Street.
  • Black- Convert pedestrian lights to toucan.
  • Blue- Widen pavements and make into shared path to create a child friendly route across London road to GBR from Lambridge St.

Reach objectives:

  • Extend protected cycle lane up to Gloucester Road junction. Would require movement of traffic lights.
  • Close off Lambridge Street exit creating a quiet way up to St Saviours Road.
St Saviours Road to Grosvenor Bridge

Initial post of this raised a point that I had not considered. That inherently St Saviour’s Road to Grosvenor Bridge is a far superior route for people living in Larkhall.

St Saviours Road to Grosvenor Bridge with extra path to facilitate route.
St Saviours Road to Grosvenor Bridge with extra path to facilitate route as this route would be ridden anyway as a desire line anyway.

Transition Larkhall want St Saviours to be a good cycle route and I think this just simply works, is cost effective and does not require major works.

St Saviours Road Crossing
St Saviours Road Crossing – This could really work.
Kensington Meadows
Kensington Meadows from Grosvenor Bridge to Morrisions
Kensington Meadows from Grosvenor Bridge to Morrisions
Kensington Meadows
590 meters of tarmac would make this a fantastic resource for getting to the shops.

This is 590 metres of path which will cost you 60k to do. It’s nonsensical not to do this and I’m wondering if Morrisons would be interested in sponsoring this one.

Kennet And Avon Canal to Sydney Gardens
Canal Exit
Canal Exit- Road is wide here so lot to play with.
Routes into the Park either via canal or onto street and then down the road.
Routes into the Park either via canal or onto street and then down the road.
Closest entrance to park.
Closest entrance to park is into the playground.

This one is relatively complicated because you need a child safe route. My gut feel here is that confident cyclists will just pile out onto the road but my god is it unpleasant.

As we can’t get a protected lane all the way down to Bathwick Street junction I don’t see anything can be gained from this so we simply install a toucan (or just a zebra crossing), widen the path into a shared path and create a traffic free route into the city that takes you through Sydney Gardens expanding the current gate entrance you can see in the picture below.

Kennet & Avon Canal to Sydney Gardens by creating a toucan/zebra crossing to a widened shared path and then an entrance into the park, implementing a shared path through the park to the exit on the far side.
Kennet & Avon Canal to Sydney Gardens by creating a toucan/zebra crossing to a widened shared path and then an entrance into the park, implementing a shared path through the park to the exit on the far side.

As you can see by the above picture, a protected cycle lane up to the canal entrance would also be good here.

Note that I have discounted the route that gets you into Sydney Gardens at the back of it as it requires you to cycle on the narrow canal path under the bridge and this cannot be widened.

Bathampton To Batheaston

Now we’ve sorted out the city end, it’s time to connect the network at the other end. For children, we literally have a bridge to nowhere in Batheaston. It is not safe to cycle from Batheaston to Bathampton and as we are tarmacing up to Bathampton then this really is the last bit of the puzzle. The bit that connects the network.

This one is simple. 300m of widened shared path.

Bathampton to Batheaston 300 meters of widened shared path finishes the network.
Bathampton to Batheaston 300 meters of widened shared path finishes the network.

This railway bridge forces the idea of a shared use path.

Mill Lane Railway Bridge has a VERY wide road and should be reduced in width to enable a shared path.
Mill Lane Railway Bridge has a VERY wide road and should be reduced in width to enable a shared path.

Removal of this wall enables shared path to connect to the K&A path successfully.

The George pub garden at Bathampton and wall that should have the corner removed to enable good access to K&A canal.
The George pub garden at Bathampton and wall that should have the corner removed to enable good access to K&A canal.

Note this ties in with the Batheaston plans to convert the toilets into a cycling/walking community hub which you should go and visit on the 14th of March.

Bath to Batheaston
Bath to Bathampton along Kennet and Avon Canal
Bath to Bathampton along Kennet and Avon Canal

The canal is considered one of the busiest walking and cycling towpaths in the country. The Canal and River Trust Towpath design guidance allows the width of the path to be increased dependent upon the traffic upon it. There has been a discussion where the path width was to be set at 2.5m, however given the immense amount of footfall, and based upon the experience of the Two Tunnels, I would suggest an attempt is made to make it at least 3m wide and where the path is obviously worn even wider. The visual clues that the path width is 4m worn wide should be used as a guidance. The CRT Towpath design (PDF) guidance does advocate 4m wide paths in places of high footfall.

I also feel the CRT’s guidance that people can ‘step off’ the path and give way provides a hostile environment and puts people who cycle in a bad light. It is our duty to minimise conflict on the towpath and this can only be achieved designing out conflict. A 2.5m path is unsuitable along this route.

Note that I expect the Canal and River Trust to require this to be bitmac spray and chip to keep it in keeping with the surroundings.

Summary

When it comes to London Road I’ve taken the approach that segregated cycle lanes are key to the future of delivering direct routes into the city centre. However that in the meantime we need to provide traffic free routes to families to get over to Grosvenor Bridge from Lambridge.

In a similar vein I’ve tried to address the route from the K&A canal into the city at Sydney gardens in terms of a child cycling into the city. I have not addressed how you get through Sydney Gardens. I expect parks to object to any idea that creating a healthy travel route through the gardens is in anyway possible.

There are also quick wins (Kensington Meadows 60k, Batheaston to Bathampton 30k) that simply should be done.

This ‘finalises’ my plan for CCAG Year 1 spend. You can comment here but please please PLEASE turn up to tomorrows (10th of March 2015) Cycle Forum meeting at the Guildhall with any objections/ideas. The detailed plan will be ‘solidified’ within the month and things will progress really quickly to delivering this. £675k must be spent this financial year.

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22 thoughts on “CCAG 2015/16: Kennet and Avon Canal connection to Grosvenor Bridge”

  1. It’s a great plan. I’m assuming you’re going from the canal side of the Grosvenor Bridge, under the railway bridge and up the sloping path heading SW up to the canal towpath. This path is rutted and very muddy at times, certainly not safe for a child, or me for that matter, to come down easily. Is an upgrade of this path in the costings?

      1. That sort of doesn’t answer my question which is about whether that is costed in. I imagine it could be expensive.

      2. Are there any designs of the ramp available? And also, will this pathway to the canal be lit. The path from the bridge to the canal is inaccessible in the winter (4 months) as it is too dangerous to cycle down in the dark. It can also be a rather intimidating area at times.

      3. That’s down to the council officers, Sustrans design guidance, and ramp recommendations for wheelchairs. My guess is, that the ramp will be 2.5m wide. Implication is that it will require the removal of trees and bushes to achieve this. A replacement planting regime will be needed. If you’ve ridden Linear Park/Two Tunnels then you’ll see a very successful planting regime. Lighting would be brilliant but there isn’t enough money in the ‘budget’. Definitely worth raising when the council finally has their public consultation.

  2. An alternative for Toll Bridge Road could be to turn the footpath which extends from Meadow Lane to Toll Bridge Road into a cycle path. This comes out directly opposite the entrance to the Batheaston cycle path, so the only thing needed in terms of infra would be a pelican/toucan crossing. There’s a farm track already in place, so it would just be a question of linking this with the end of Meadow Lane.
    See the map here:
    http://www.openstreetmap.org/#map=16/51.3961/-2.3262

    1. I see what you mean, but I think this would require more money to bring it up to a standard rather than sort out the ‘line of desire’ to get from Batheaston to Bathampton. Definitely worth bringing it up at the Cycle Forum.

  3. Taking out the corner at the George. That would mean taking out the recently restored old canal ticket office on the corner, The K&A canal trust would need to be involved?

      1. I was one of the volunteers involved in the restoration of the hovel so you understand where I am coming from! Canal and River Trust would not allow this heritage to be destroyed and plan to use it às a canal visitor base. In any case access to towpath is very easy there anyway! Just carry straight on up the rise and turn right through the gate opposite the school, then go under the bridge.

      2. Hehe yeah we worked out quite quickly that would not ever be removed. When we looked at the route the question we keep in mind is “would a parent let an 8 year old ride this on their own” Once you get past the George beer garden it gets tight for about 3-4m as well as being tight past the George pub. Ideally a new route through the back of the car park and onto the towpath would be the safest.

  4. As a regular cyclist from Larkhall to Bathwick and town – and father of 3 children who would love to cycle to town – this is hugely encouraging. I think many Larkhall residents would prefer the Lambridge St route as its most direct.

    I really wouldn’t discount the idea of entering Sydney Gardens from the towpath, Yes the stretch through the tunnel under the A36 is narrow but its very short and i am sure many would prefer to avoid the busy Warminster Rd, even if its just to cross it. Presumably creating access to Sydney Gardens from the towpath plus railings alongside the canal would be cheaper than cost of toucan/zebra across A36 and new entry point? Plus this would avoid cyclists having to stop and wait for cars, which we want to avoid surely.

    Whats the plan for emerging from Sydney Gardens and accessing Gt Pultney St? Are there any plans for segregated cycle lanes on this street?

    Thanks.

    1. There is a guided tour and on bike workshop this saturday https://www.facebook.com/events/350032531873101/ where we will look at this. The problem is making something safe and legal. Entering Sydney Gardens from towpath is something I would prefer doing, however the path is too narrow under the bridge. A legal safe route must be found. Key issues I have been asked to investigate (by Alison Sherwin) this Saturday is how do we get through Sydney Gardens OR around Sydney gardens safely as well as Kensington Meadows.

      There are currently no plans for segregated routes on this street. However if you want them on the ‘board’ I’ll put them in however there is major local opposition to changing GPS as far as I am aware.

      1. It may be too narrow to cyle under the bridges in Sydney Garden therefore cyclists have to stop and walk. Giving way to pedestrians as the are required to do at all times. This is a safer route with children than crossing Warminster Road.

      2. But there are unguarded paths under bridges, and yes you are supposed to dismount, but people don’t. A toucan on Beckford Road and opening of an original access point into Sydney Gardens gives a level route into the gardens. The current access point into the gardens is through a grade 1 listed set of steps. It’s awkward. These routes need to be wheel friendly. There is an existing locked gate on Beckford Road that opens into the back of the play area. 5m of new path and a new cut through and you have a safe route through Sydney Gardens. It also then links into Cleveland Pools.

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