I popped up there today to have a look at the upgraded route between the University and Combe Down and to take my dog for a walk. This route has been 10 years in the making with dogged determination by BaNES officers to solve all the land issues. This has been legally HARD and we really do have to congratulate what has been achieved here despite the complications.
Edited to add link to PDF (below) of consultation display board images & comment form (Word Doc).
It appears WordPress doesn’t allow images in comments so… A new post.
The developers appear keen to make cycling/walking a priority & keep on-site vehicles to a minimum & separate. The parking for the residential blocks is hidden under a raised deck between the buildings. As with all developments such as this, cycle/walking routes are dependent on neighbouring sites to link them all together
The obvious one that can benefit from being built at the same time as this development is the Toucan link to the North entrance of the Two Tunnels path. Frank/Nigel R. – do you know if there’s money already earmarked for this by BANES?
Another link is to the West, next to the Church building which can join up with the existing path between the student accommodation & the river, See image. This is looking East, the church building is in the background. Further West a bit of shrubbery needs to be removed & it can then join into the Lidl car park.
There is a problem with BaNES. One hand doesn’t know what the other 23 hands are up to. This might be excusable if it wasn’t for the fact the head of this gargantuan body, the council, has stated that BaNES uses the Sustrans Design Guidance. The hands that are designing and building our future cycle infrastructure appear not to be listening to the head and it really shows in the detail of what they are producing.
[EDIT: Note there is a correction to this article and I will be following it up with an apology at the weekend when I have the time. I knew something that I conveniently left out of the article and this makes BaNES look worse that they are at delivering this.]
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.
One of the requirements of the bidding process is that the bid must of been put together in consultation with local cycling groups, which is where you come in. We literally can go fantasy shopping, and Sustrans have put together a ready made shopping list. Continue reading Cycle Ambition Grant – Bid Proposal Workshop Tuesday 30th of December.
I was down that way this morning and thought I would go have a look at the development as I had heard the entrance has now been completed. Tell you what, if you are a car or bus, it is pretty damn good. If you grab a Next Bike to ride into town, welcome to cycling hell. Want to walk? Here have a long detour. There was an immense amount of space for the council to play with here and they just really messed it up. I do not know who they have designing these schemes but they need to be re-trained to start delivering good infrastructure for ALL modes of transport.
[EDIT 25/11/2014] It has been pointed out to me by the council that the ‘ramped’ kerbs are in fact flat corduroy and that the whole scheme is a flat shared space. I will be correcting this article in light of this]
I recently became aware of the public realm improvements on Lower Borough Walls and Stall Street and to be honest they still absolutely prioritize cars. They may want to paint it as great for pedestrians but seriously, what were they thinking?
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 :))
I may have mentioned Claude Avenue before and what needs to happen. How what we ended up with was good, but nobody seems to have considered how a bicycle was supposed to get from the road onto the ramp.
Now the council has a lot of cooks. Some have bigger hats then others, so you can end up getting something right and a month later somebody is pissing in the cooking pot…
On Tuesday I popped along to the consultation event and had a rather long discussion with Rab Smith from BANES. By the end of it I felt warm and fuzzy. Seriously impressed when it comes to what they are planning for cycling in Keynsham. I don’t think cars get a great deal out of the strategy, but that’s because the place actually needs a North-South bypass, but let’s focus on the good bits.
To develop a transport strategy for Keynsham, you have to first understand the underlying problems with Keynsham. I don’t think the strategy document fully gets to grips with the primary issues. I also feel that the ‘strategy vision’ is very focused on one type of transport:
To minimise the negative effects of traffic congestion in and around Keynsham and ensuring it retains its independence and its separate identity within an attractive rural setting by becoming a more sustainable, desirable and well-connected place in which to live and work.
This strategy document is all about cars and how to get them through the town. It should be much much more about living in the town and creating a network of walking and cycling routes.