Newbridge Park and Ride – Another BANES cycling/walking disaster in the making

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.

The first indicator that something is wrong is the use of Advanced Stop Lines.

Use of Advanced Stop Lines at Newbridge Park and Ride
Use of Advanced Stop Lines at Newbridge Park and Ride

ASLs are an indication that whoever designed this did not consider cycling during the process. ASLs are a bad thing. They are an afterthought. Good cycle schemes do not involve ASLs and the park and ride needed a good cycle scheme particularly if the council are intending to install a Next Bike station here.

People are going to be cycling from this place along the river into town. They need a good route to get on to the river path.

So the following are shots of the route a cyclist now has to take:

2014-12-12 10.30.08
View towards A4 Junction
2014-12-12 10.30.51
Heading into town this is the road you would ride.
2014-12-12 10.31.38
To be honest I felt uncomfortable riding along this road. In the morning you have cars and buses queuing to get into the P&R. People are almost at work. Somebody cycling on the road will have close passes.
2014-12-12 10.33.17
There is no pedestrian/cycling access point to the Park and Ride at the closest point to the city. A completely missed opportunity. Note the bus stop opposite. You access the P&R is a long walk or ride.
2014-12-12 10.34.28
Standing in the Bus Stop looking towards the Park and RIde
2014-12-12 10.36.16
View from Bus Stop to towards the city and the Brass Mill Lane junction, any cyclists has to negotiate to get on to the NCN 4
2014-12-12 10.37.16
Good view of bus stop and scrubland opposite. Scrubland = wide shared path to P&R.
2014-12-12 10.38.12
Standing next to Old Newbridge Hill. Note the immense width of scrubland that could have been utilised.
2014-12-12 10.39.17
Brassmill Lane Junction
2014-12-12 10.41.30
When returning from town cyclist coming from the river path need to join this road to ride up to the Park and Ride. Cars ‘tank’ it down here and the right hand turn lane gives very little chance to overtake.

I cannot stress enough how completely the designers of the P&R in no way considered cycling or even walking into their scheme. I am assuming whoever designed this also designed Windsor bridge.

There is space. At the P&R junction there was space for a cycle bypass track.

Example of a junction cycle bypass.

In fact you could have delivered a cycle lane all the way up to the A4 or even just put the foundations in place. A way for people to cycle up to and join the Bath to Bristol cyclepath.

This is a missed opportunity. A really big missed opportunity. There should have been an access point to the P&R in the far corner, a shared path and toucan crossing to get to the other side, a good joining point for Brass Mill Lane and a cycle bypass track at the P&R junction at least.

Green is scubland. Red is the route people naturally want to take when getting to the river path. Bus stop has been highlighted. Expect some people to want to walk from there to the Park and Ride.
Green is scubland. Red is the route people naturally want to take when getting to the river path. Bus stop has been highlighted. Expect some people to want to walk from there to the Park and Ride.

In fact the council probably did not look at the location and consider that this could have been a rather good school drop off point with one connecting shared path:

The location of Oldfield School to the Park and Ride. ONE simple shared path and you have a great place for kids to be dropped off/walk to
The location of Oldfield School to the Park and Ride. ONE simple shared path and you have a great place for kids to be dropped off/walk to.

There has been absolutely no consideration of walking and cycling in this scheme. How somebody is going to use the Next Bike station or even a consideration of what is around the park and ride and how to create a network of traffic free routes.

There has been absolutely NO consideration of its potential benefit to the local community. This could have provided a fantastic traffic free route to Oldfield School. In conjunction with the Two Tunnels route this would have provided a mostly traffic free route all the way from Bearflat to Oldfield School. Does the council even realise HOW significant this is?

It is about time the council’s officers started getting it. It is embarrassing. I work in I.T. The skills I left university with are not the skills I use 20 years later. Your skills evolve over time. They have to. However if I do something badly, I don’t put lives at risk like you do.

Last week the Welsh government released it’s Active Travel Design Guidance.  It is way better than the Sustrans design guidance (I have asked Sustrans to adopt the guidance and drop theirs) because it fundamentally makes you consider ALL modes of transport when designing road space.

Dear Officers, go read it. Try and update your skills. Ask the council to send you on a training course. Welcome to the 21st century. Stop pretending it is the 1970s. You are embarrassing.

The point is, designing road space for existing cyclists, let us call them “road warriors” just does not cut it. These people cycle despite the conditions. Council officers need to be designing for 11 year olds cycling to school. For people who want to cycle but feel the roads are too dangerous. The council needs to be delivering protected cycle lanes whenever it can.

The council officers that delivered and signed off on the Newbridge Park and Ride have delivered an extremely poor solution. They have failed the residents of Bath. They’ve created a hostile environment to cycle in. Walking is unpleasant. They have not considered how the P&R could facilitate better walking and cycling networks. They have kept more people dropping their kids off to school contributing to the UK obesity epidemic.

You could not have failed harder.

[EDIT] Of note there does appear to be a footpath that runs from The Boathouse (West side of P&R) up to the School. It looks more like a rough and steep dirt track but does appear to come out by the school. I’ll need to pop down and investigate it, but looks like a rough walk across a field and not a well maintained shared path suitable for walking in all weather (based on the satellite view).


  1. There was a path going through the scrubland and to the the field before, surfacing a path through the existing way would be so easy for cyclists and people to use, although not the complete answer.

    • There is a planning notice near the Old Newbridge Hill/Brassmill Lane junction declaring recognition of a historic footpath to go from there behind the development (possibly even through it). However it’s not going to be developed.

  2. The footpath up behind the Boat House, through the trees, does indeed emerge opposite Oldfield School but it is also indeed steep and slippery in places (although parts have been improved). It could be made a Safe Route but I can never imagine B&NES doing it.

    Back to the Park and Ride, you’re right, a great opportunity to get things right, to create a new bench-mark, to set a new standard, looking forward to new opportunities and the potential to link (what could and should be) a key transport hub with the Centre… Yet what do we end up with? More of the same old shit.

    Yeah, sorry for swearing but it’s shit. Not ‘a bit shit’. Really, completely and utterly..

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