Friday, 24 June 2011

Cherishing the leftovers

One of the weird things about the S Gloucs cycle paths is that they keep on trying to put in traffic calming and road signs into  them, instead of making the paths wider, and without understanding how people cycle.

Here's a bit of the ring road cycle path, near the Bridge Inn pub. You can see some fading signs which tried to split the cycle path in two with formal give way markings between them.

Fortunately, at some point in the last decade, they've been left to fade -perhaps somebody realised how useless they were. But they are there, if you look
If you look at the width the markings give you, there's just over two handlebar widths in the cyclists' part of the cycling|walking lane. It's better than the newer path on Old Filton Road, but you'd still need to not be pulling a cycle trailer, not doing a family ride with wobbly kids or encountering such oncoming traffic if you really had to share that half of the tarmac with oncoming bicycles.
The reality is, most people on a bicycle take up the whole of one of the lanes. If this was official, and there was a parallel walking route "a pavement" alongside, this would actually work and could be held up as good route.

The only reason there is no conflict here is that it is in the middle of fucking nowhere and nobody walks, even people on a bicycle aren't made to feel welcome, what with the lack of lighting. 

But no, there's no money to create a path wide enough for two lanes of cycles and pedestrians, to add lighting -everyone on foot or bike is left scrabbling for the leftovers.

What leftovers? This. The A4174 Emerson Green to the A4 link
Before this was built, the Bristol-Bath railway path -which the existing path connects up with -without a single gate or road crossing- ran up here to Pucklechurch along a lovely quiet path. But then the road planners said "Oh look, we could link up the North Fringe with Bath" and built a four lane near-motorway that only the very brave would cycle. At least we did get somewhere to walk and cycle, but
  • Why is it so narrow compared to the space dedicated to motor vehicles?
  • Why isn't it lit at night? The road is, until midnight. Are we somehow undeserving of street lights? You could argue that people on bicycles should have lights, but what about the pedestrians? 
  • Who is in the council thinks that painting give way and lane markings in cycle lanes too narrow for two bicycles makes sense? 
The whole path works, but it could be so much better. When you get to the Railway Path, you see people walking and cycling, it's lit at night, it's busy. Here? You see some people, between the vegetation growing in that nobody maintains, walking or cycling. No families out for a walk or cycle. Nobody caring about a boringly utilitarian path that has the background noise of any four-lane highway to deal with.

Welcome to South Gloucestershire: the council that doesn't really care for people on foot or bicycle

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