There are a lot of things about this really are irrelevant to CycleBath. It’s an existing poorly maintained, rough, and mostly muddy towpath that becomes almost unusable in mid-winter. In fact the erosion is so bad that the Canal and River Trust have been desperately looking for money to fix the path for years. The CCAG fund has given them this opportunity to make it accessible and mud free all year round for all users, walkers, pushchairs, wheelchairs and, of course, cyclists. What they seem to not get is that the council officers chose how to spend the CCAG money, not CycleBath. I don’t think it’s a bad spend of the money, but it could have been better allocated to create better networks.
However there are people that want to portray this as a mission by CycleBath to tarmac it, fell all the trees and make it good for cycling. I’m ok with that. I honestly do not care what happens to the towpath as long as the full width of the towpath and path connecting the towpath to Grosvenor Bridge is made use-able all year round. It helps get more people cycling. It helps a lot more people use the path in mid-winter. It makes it accessible to all.
I will admit there is a young tree over a massive hole caused by a stream eroding the Grosvenor bridge path that probably needs removing as part of repairing the stream bridging point. It’s a safety issue. The other trees on the path are magnificent and only one tree marginally impacts the path width, but should not be cut down.
There are obviously major issues with the current useable width and the poor interaction between bad users of the towpath. A lot of close passes by people cycling and some collisions. Making the full width (2.5m) of the towpath use-able all year round and promotion of the towpath code of conduct should solve these issues. It’s worked on other towpaths and even on the Two Tunnels. It has a good chance of working here. Doing nothing is simply not an option given the chance the CRT has to finally make this a more accessible path and better for ALL users. Education is key to managing bad behaviour.
Talking about bad behaviour, “Collective responsibility”, the act of lumping all “cyclists” into one group and then blaming them seems to be the name of the game here unfortunately. Just remember CycleBath is focused on creating infrastructure good enough for you to let your kids cycle to school. Fixing an existing poorly maintained path that is slowly being eroded away is way down the list of our priorities. Getting your child safely to the path is WAY more important.
Now go sign the petition. We need a public consultation.