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.
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:
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.
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.
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:
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).