The original CCAG Halfpenny bridge scheme was an odd one that tried to place another bridge next to the existing bridge. This would never have worked. Last night I presented my idea to the senior council officer in charge of the CCAG money and it has been accepted in principle.
I present you the new Halfpenny Bridge Scheme
A new cycle/foot path behind the bus station.
A suspended cycle/walk way under Skew Bridge.
A new path next to Halfpenny Bridge around the back of the train station.
A new cycle/foot bridge across to Widcombe.
It is the link that creates a continuous off-road route from Locksbrook all the way through until St John’s Road. It gives people a choice of not walking/cycling down Dorchester Street (which can be a pain) if they want to access the railway station. It significantly reduces footfall on Halfpenny bridge enabling anyone walking towards Widcombe to have an alternative route home. It gives a child safe route to access the Widcombe schools.
It is simple in its execution and solves an immense amount of crowding issues. It even enables people cycling along the Quays area to have a quick route through to Pultney Bridge without negotiating the centre of Bath. It provides a good access route to the K&A Towpath. It’s even brilliant for tourists!
HOWEVER do not count your chickens. There is an immense amount of work to do with the council, the Canal And River Trust, Network Rail, and English Heritage. However what this achieves for Bath is phenomenal. If you like it, write to your councillor. Write to your MP. We have £1.8Million to get this done. It should be doable.
Further details will be discussed at the upcoming BaNES Cycle Forum on the 10th of November at 6pm in the Guildhall.
In 2011, Sustrans, the council, Don Foster MP, and the Canal & River Trust came together and agreed that the state of the Kennet and Avon Towpath between Sydney Gardens and Bathampton was in such a poor state that funding would be found to upgrade the towpath to a 4 season surface that would last for 15+years.
£135k was found in the council budget and Sustrans had reserved £315k of their core funds for the project. Then in 2012, the UK experienced extreme flooding and the government cut Sustrans core funding to support the development of flood defences.
In 2014 the CRT wrote a planning objection letter to the redevelopment of the Warminster Road MOD site demanding £315k towards maintenance of the towpath as the new bridge across to the towpath would increase footfall on an already busy towpath that was suffering from severe erosion.
Better infrastructure :- Widening all towpaths (where necessary) and upgrading to 4 season surfaces usable all year round.
Better signage :- Clear and prominent shared use signs to be installed across the country where there are concerns raised by local users.
Better behaviour :- A range of initiatives to encourage considerate use of towpaths. These include the CRT’s “Share the space, drop your pace” campaign and the recently developed towpath code of conduct.
There are some people in the community that do not want this repair to go ahead and have started a shock campaign around the idea that the repair will allow cyclists to cycle even faster along the towpath using a rather horrible picture from an inexcusable hit and run incident on a towpath up on the Wigan canal. They want this upgrade stopped at all costs. They like it the way it is as it slowly becomes unusable to all but the most determined users over years to come.
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.