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?
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.
There are a lot of things about this really are irrelevant to CycleBath. It’s an existing poorly maintained, rough, and mostly muddy towpath that becomes almost unusable in mid-winter. In fact the erosion is so bad that the Canal and River Trust have been desperately looking for money to fix the path for years. The CCAG fund has given them this opportunity to make it accessible and mud free all year round for all users, walkers, pushchairs, wheelchairs and, of course, cyclists. What they seem to not get is that the council officers chose how to spend the CCAG money, not CycleBath. I don’t think it’s a bad spend of the money, but it could have been better allocated to create better networks.
However there are people that want to portray this as a mission by CycleBath to tarmac it, fell all the trees and make it good for cycling. I’m ok with that. I honestly do not care what happens to the towpath as long as the full width of the towpath and path connecting the towpath to Grosvenor Bridge is made use-able all year round. It helps get more people cycling. It helps a lot more people use the path in mid-winter. It makes it accessible to all.
I will admit there is a young tree over a massive hole caused by a stream eroding the Grosvenor bridge path that probably needs removing as part of repairing the stream bridging point. It’s a safety issue. The other trees on the path are magnificent and only one tree marginally impacts the path width, but should not be cut down.
There are obviously major issues with the current useable width and the poor interaction between bad users of the towpath. A lot of close passes by people cycling and some collisions. Making the full width (2.5m) of the towpath use-able all year round and promotion of the towpath code of conduct should solve these issues. It’s worked on other towpaths and even on the Two Tunnels. It has a good chance of working here. Doing nothing is simply not an option given the chance the CRT has to finally make this a more accessible path and better for ALL users. Education is key to managing bad behaviour.
Talking about bad behaviour, “Collective responsibility”, the act of lumping all “cyclists” into one group and then blaming them seems to be the name of the game here unfortunately. Just remember CycleBath is focused on creating infrastructure good enough for you to let your kids cycle to school. Fixing an existing poorly maintained path that is slowly being eroded away is way down the list of our priorities. Getting your child safely to the path is WAY more important.
A vital part of any council is the ability for residents with specific issues to know there is a councillor to go to who “owns” that issue. The conservative led council has decided to abolish ALL champions. This really does not bode well for cycling and walking in BaNES.
[FOREWORD AFTER VISIT: I have to say what the National Trust is doing is some good. I walked away with a warm fuzzy feeling. They are identifying new routes using existing paths through the city to reach National Trust land. Remember it is due to the National Trust that the Combe Down Rainbow Woods cycle route became a possibility.]
I think it is important that the National Trust recognises the importance of cycling as part of connecting the city to the countryside. There does seem to be a major emphasis on walking. Looking at some of the images used on the BANES website of narrow meandering rough paths implying bicycles,wheelchairs, and mobility scooters are not welcome.
It is important that you try and attend one of these sessions and get our voice heard. Many of these routes are being pushed as walking only routes. They should be accessible to all, wheelchair, mobility scooter, OR bicycle.
The National Trust invites you to join them at one of their three ‘drop in’ sessions. This is an opportunity for them to update you on their management of the Bath Skyline and share their thoughts on work they have been doing around ‘reconnecting’ the City to its green setting.
At each session they will have displays showing the findings from recent visitor research and some ideas for new walks that would connect the City to the Countryside, in keeping with its historical links. There will be opportunities for you to meet some of the staff, ask questions and share your feedback on future plans for the Bath Skyline.
When & where:
Monday 27th April at Widcombe Baptist Church
Wednesday 29th April at Ralph Allen Cornerstone, Combe Down
Tuesday 5th May at Holburne Museum,Clore Learning Space
It’s that time of year again where the council works out how much it’s spent and what it can or cannot afford to do. It looks however like the council has underspent ( http://democracy.bathnes.gov.uk/documents/s34426/Appx%201.pdf ) and there is a possibility that with a little persuasion, your local ward councillor might be able to help you spend some of it on cycling.
These cannot be big things or even things that take a long time to arrange, as the money needs spending by the end of March however there is no harm in asking for more cycle racks in your ward or maybe a repair job or two. List of councillors available here. Get stuck in 🙂
With the recent announcement of an extra £114 million to be spent on 8 cities that previously won CAG money, Bath is in the running to get some of it. The reason is that one of the 8 cities is the “South West” which is Gloucester, Bristol and Bath.
We have a problem in England and it doesn’t seem to be getting better. Given the recent Newbridge Park and Ride design, I think we’re pretty much staying still. We are designing roads for cars and then adding on active travel aspects as an afterthought. The fault here is very much at the council officers and not the councillors. Elected representatives come and go. Officers are forever. Officers know this. A lot of transport schemes are 5+ years in the making. It really makes no difference to the officers what the councillors want. In a couple of years they will be gone and a new bunch of councillors will be in. In the meantime the councillors get it in the neck from the voting public. It’s obviously their fault because obviously being elected to office immediately makes you an expert on transport.
The reality is that councils have senior management teams that are paid a LOT of money for their expertise in delivering good transport infrastructure and they are just not up to scratch.
This is all about money. The government spends £462 per head per year on transport. The government has stated that they have an ‘aspiration’ to spend £10 per head of this money on cycling.
The DfT recently released a report where it was shown nationally that each £1 invested in cycling infrastructure returned £5.50 and in places with established cycling (Cambridge and Oxford) a return of up to £35.
This return beats ANY other form of transport investment hands down. In fact the DfT is legally required to pursue the best return on investment possible.
A “call to action” is where we ask people to contact their councillor and/or MP on a specific cycling related matter. It is vitally important that they hear from regular people and not just ‘those Cycle Bath people’. It changes their stance on how important cycle provision is, the way the council allocates cycle infrastructure budgets, and ultimately the way the council officers (planning) see the need for good cycling provision.
All we are asking is for 3 minutes of your time to send the email below. If you want to get more involved then have a look here but copy and send the email below first!