Category Archives: Maintenance

Why “sharing the road” has failed

It’s quite interesting how you can end up with strange bedfellows within a Facebook group and have interesting, if unfortunately fruitless conversations. However I do think that the 44 ton truck driver I was in discussion with had some interesting points that needed addressing.

Do I think, that in anyway, I changed his viewpoint? I hope so. Some of what he stated and believed is quite scary, and if we, as a society, want to create better road spaces that provide facilities that enable people to make real choices to move away from the private vehicle, then we need to bring these truck drivers with us.

More importantly this discussion is about councils being honest with the way roads are perceived and how different types of traffic should be using them.

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Does the Parks Department discriminate against the disabled?

As part of the Enterprise area development, a section of the river path is being upgraded and to facilitate access when the lower section floods a new path through Green Park has been established. A path that will see the most use in the wettest weather has been built from compacted gravel and clay.

I have no idea who made this decision, but this is a utility path. A path that needs to be fit for all wheels ALL YEAR ROUND. The purpose of this path is to facilitate the movement of people in wheelchairs, mobility scooters, push chairs, various bicycles and people on foot.

WHY WAS ANYTHING OTHER THAN BITMAC CONSIDERED??????

This is a long-term maintenance nightmare and discriminates unnecessarily against wheeled users.

Even the Canal and River Trust are refurbushing the towpath with a bitmac substrate. It provides the best accessible surface and long-term maintenance free approach. Admittedly they like spraying their surfaces with gravel chips but these are bonded to the surface.

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Machine laid bitmac is a phenomenal surface for so many users and paths can last 40-50 years without any maintenance. If there is an issue with the appearance, despite all the other paths in the park being bitmac, then a spray and chip surface can be applied as the CRT are doing.

The council officer who decided to use this “soft” surface probably did it to make it look nicer. This is short-sighted, discriminates against wheeled users, and builds in significant maintenance costs down the line.

My suspicion is that this is driven by Parks department. I really hope not, as this indicates a policy/design approach which discriminates against people in wheel chairs.

This path is style over substance. It significantly impacts wheeled users and creates a long-term maintenance cost to the council. BUT hey I guess it looks good…

2015 Spring River Path Work Audit

What follows is a 25 image ‘audit’ of the River path starting at the Green Park entrance all the way up to Locksbrook. The audit does not go beyond Greenpark as significant works are being performed as part of the flood defence work. However should the principle of what is needed can be applied along the full path. ‘Luckily’ I was down there on rather rainy afternoon and can show the immense amount of flooding that occurs.

The primary issue with the path is one of encroachment and neglect that can be overcome using a very simple set of approaches:

  1. Maintenance Work
    1. The full width of the original path must be exposed.
    2. All encroaching vegetation must be cleared back. With maintenance only once every 6 months, growth can be phenomenal.
    3. Embankments should be dug back and made level or below the path to facilitate drainage either side of path. Reseeding of dug back areas should be considered carefully.
  2. Structural Changes
    1. A 0.5m drainage channel should be dug and filled with aggregate either side of the path where possible.
    2. Where ‘lakes’ of puddles occur, drainage solutions should be implemented. That is, where flood defences block drainage, drainage holes should be drilled or ‘sink holes’ should be drilled and capped to facilitate drainage.
    3. Consideration should be made to removal of some embankments against walls and tarmacing up to the walls to reduce long term maintenance and provide wider path.
    4. Widening of path to 3m minimum where possible should be achieved along the full length of the path.

It should be noted that the river path should be valued higher than it is and could be a fantastic part of Bath in Bloom rather than something that feels like it’s a forgotten industrial waste ground.

Remember that this is an exceptional healthy transport corridor and a real asset to Bath.

Each picture will have a general maintenance (GM) tasks and structural changes (SC) tasks.

Continue reading 2015 Spring River Path Work Audit