When you campaign for better cycling infrastructure to get more people cycling, you can very quickly get focused on fixing what you perceive as issues and move on from what you see as the obvious. The upgrade of the towpath and ramp was one of those things that I, and Cycle Bath, saw as an obvious thing. As can be seen by the Cycle Bath CCAG Bath East bid the ramp and towpath are pretty much mentioned in passing. The focus is on connecting communities to schools and the heart of the city. Getting more people cycling.
I’d like to apologise to the people that signed the letter in the chronicle. The way this has all gone makes me feel uncomfortable and I don’t think my “I know a little bit more about the history of the towpath upgrade” attitude has in anyway helped.
I also think the fact the council’s Cycle Forum promised a public consultation on the work and then this never materialising has not helped either. Again I think (I do not know) this comes about because, from the council’s point of view, the upgrade of the towpath and ramp are “obvious” and there is a previous “agreement” in place with the Canal and River Trust to get this done . I believe (I do not know) that the CCAG bid money has now been limited to the towpath and ramp upgrade, and this is why the public consultation will not happen.
For the people that love what the towpath currently is, this is a low blow. I cannot apologise for the lack of a public consultation. It was not mine to give. I had written multiple emails over the months trying to get the date of the consultation.
From Cycle Bath’s point of view we do not connect communities, we do not get child friendly routes from communities to schools and the heart of the city. We do not fix Batheaston to Bathampton, no toucan upgrade across London Road and no new toucan on Beckford Road into the back of Sydney Gardens and connecting to the Cleveland pools. It means years of campaigning to get the extra bits done to get safe routes to the towpath.
Now if possible I’d like to get into why Cycle Bath and the council thought the towpath upgrade was “obvious” and it comes down to a planning objection letter linked in the heated discussions on the Bath Chronicle website.
I get it. I get that as any part of a development there is a point where what happens at the edges of the development are no longer in the hands of the developers and it becomes an issue for the council officers, in particular Highways.
However I think Curo have a lot to answer for here. They have a blank canvas to build on. Their focus appears primarily on connecting the development via a cable car to the city centre. They seem to have ignored the vibrant Combe Down village centre on their doorsteps. Highways have done little to help here either.
There are a lot of people wading into the London Road issue. Many of them believe, now they are elected, that they are able to come up with quick fixes to a broken design. Mostly this is focused around removing the “dangerous” cycle build out that was specifically requested by transport experts to protect people cycling along London Road. As an amateur who spends most evening reading up on best practices I’m going to try and have a go at fixing London Road.
Some of you may have noticed Cycle Bath is in the paper this week detailing the Cycle City Ambition Grant Bath East proposal. I have to thank the Bath Chronicle for being patient with me and working towards a fantastic article. Apparently this is the first time they had done such a thing and felt it was very positive experience. It’s resulted in a fantastic two page spread.
It has become apparent that the Bath Chronicle’s ‘article‘ is blatant sensationalism and, rather than focus on the core objectives of this plan (to enable a 6 year old child to ride from Larkhall to the city centre safely while creating good accessible surfaces for all), they headline with “Cyclists want to move parked cars on Great Pulteney Street, Bath”.
The Great Pulteney Street proposal is ONE MINOR PART of the overall plan; it would create a buffered separate cycle lane, keeping bicycles off the pavement and away from people walking. This idea has, however, resulted in people suggesting on the Chronicle’s Facebook page that “pavement ‘cyclists’ should be ‘clotheslined'” and that we “do not ‘deserve’ any of this”.
This kind of planned provision should be celebrated, not derided. It’s pretty disappointing, in this day and age, when the provision of good, safe, traffic free routes, which not only help children cycle to school but give people the option of choosing to leave their car at home and embracing a healthy transport option, is placed within the Bath Chronicle’s chosen framing of the debate. Even if the newspaper took a “neutral” stance they would, by default, side with the status quo; the way the debate was framed, however, was anything but neutral.
— Adam Reynolds, Cycle Bath Chair]
After yesterdays guided tour I quickly wrote up my notes on the scheme. I have now updated the trello board with the different elements of the scheme which I believe provide a child safe mostly traffic free route for people to get from Larkhall into the heart of the city centre.
As some of you might be aware and many of you may not, the BaNES Cycle Forum held on Tuesday discussed the Cycle City Ambition Grant, in particular how to proceed with delivering the £675,000 Bath – East Grosvenor Bridge improvement.
Due to the timescales (we need to get started in April), we need to move fast. So a public workshop will happen in the next two weeks where all the various options will be presented and then ratified into one ‘final’ design. To facilitate this workshop, tomorrow I am hosting a guided tour and on bike workshop of the project area. If you want to understand the complexity of the issues and what issues need solving, you should attend this.
Meet 10am Kingsmead Square, this Saturday, 14th of March for a ride/walk through Sydney Gardens exiting at the play area gate, cross over to K&A towpath, down to Grosvenor bridge, across to Lambridge, explore St Saviours, down to Morrisons, back along Meadows to Grosvenor bridge. Out to Bathampton, then to Batheaston to discuss Batheaston Carpark plans with the people hosting the event there.
Bring Tape measure and camera. Expect detailed discussions AND very slow riding pace with frequent stops and some bits to be walked.
Please at least read this post where I discuss some of the ideas of what is possible.
See you Saturday!
PS: Probably will have a Fish and Chip lunch at Batheaston.
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.
Claude Avenue ramp has been the centre of bollard gate, but more importantly we have discussed it at length as to what needs to happen. In fact, we even suggested a fix for this space that would have given people that cycle a safe road to ramp onboarding point, discouraging them from the necessary pavement cycling, and, more importantly, giving children walking, scooting or cycling off the ramp a really safe protected zone along the bridge using parked cars as a ‘shield’.
We asked for it and were told that because it would require moving existing parking that it would be politically hard to do. Apparently though you can move the bus stop and build a massive bus build out and make this space extremely dangerous.