Anyone cycling around Bristol will have noticed that whenever any road works are carried out it's almost always the cycle route, track or lane that gets sacrificed to accommodate the works. Here's an example in Whitchurch Lane, south Bristol where a road widening scheme is underway to improve car access to the new development in Hengrove Park. In this case even the footway gets blocked off (with no alternative available), even on a Sunday when no work is taking place.
The Hengrove Park scheme includes a new cycle path to replace this cycle lane and is therefore receiving Cycling City funding, even though it was already planned and would have been carried out anyway, so in effect Cycling City funds are subsidising a road widening scheme. Some people think that's OK because there's a benefit to cycling, but does turning south Bristol into a mini Los Angeles with massive road schemes and huge scale development really benefit cycling?
If this cycle route is so important that it is designated as part of the new strategic multi-million pound Cycling City network, why do the authorities think it acceptable to deprive cyclists of what little comfort is afforded by the cycle lane during the road works? Could it be that there is negligible cycling demand on this route and it is being designated as part of Cycling City purely as a pretext for tapping into CC funds?
Hengrove Park was once the site of Bristol Airport (1930 - 1957) and is now looking rather forlorn, so some investment must be welcome, but does it need to be so resolutely car-orientated, with massive areas given over to car parking and access roads? Would it be asking too much for Hengrove Park to be developed as an exemplar of car-free living, given that it could be the focus for a lot of "alternative transport" investment with rapid transit and cycle routes, something worthy of Bristol's Green Capital aspirations?
Back to cycle route closures. Here's a recent example from nothing less than Sustran's National Cycle Route NCN 3, which runs form Bristol to Land's End, which was closed off next to Bristol Dog's Home beside the River Avon south of Temple Meads. The Closure signs didn't even acknowledge it as a cycle route! A diversion along the busy local road network was vaguely indicated.
In this case we find that the closure should only have taken place when works actually required it, yet it remained in place for weeks, including week-ends when absolutely no work was in progress. On one occasion when I visited, the works causing the Path to be closed consisted of two men in hi-viz jackets leaning against a fence (vaguely visible below - click pic to enlarge). Such is the priority accorded to users of the much vaunted National Cycle Network in our Cycling City.