Monday, 27 April 2009

Cycling City - Constructive Suggestion #2

Last week's constructive suggestion seemed to get a good response, although nothing officially from the Council, so I'll roll out a few more. As noted Cycling City lacks any truly significant 'new infrastructure' projects, the sort of things that will make cyclists feel that it's making a real difference to their lives. So here's what could be called a 'new cycle route', although it's basically an upgrade of existing paths so possible to use now but known to very few.

View Avon Gorge - Blaise Estate in a larger map

The route starts with a detour away from the existing Portway cycle track which uses the wide footway. It suffers from being next to a busy road and the sense of being constantly blasted by the noise of passing traffic. But there is a little used pathway along the river bank a few metres away which is decidedly quieter and opens up splendid views along the river Avon. Such a contrast.

The river Avon at Sea Mills

At Sea Mills my route turns north-east to follow the Trym up to the Blaise Castle Estate at Combe Dingle where the estate paths have recently been upgraded (pic below) and now provide a excellent routes for cyclists, subject of course to the need to slow down and give way to walkers. I suggest that the route from the Avon Gorge and along the Trym valley be upgraded to a similar standard.

Existing paths in Blaise castle estate.

The proposed route would complete a continuous off-road largely traffic free route from central Bristol to Blaise Castle Estate, one of the landscape gems of Bristol. Links at the Cumberland basin could provide links of a similar quality to south Bristol and Ashton Court. The tourism and leisure potential could be outstanding. Does Cycling City have the vision to grasp such an opportunity?

Dingle Road passes over the Trym on a fine bridge.

This delightful route (and more) will be explored next Sunday with a bike ride starting from the Arnolfini at 10am. All welcome, just email me (chrisdothuttattalktalkdotnet) for details.


James Barlow said...

Looks plausible. Is all the land currently under Council control?

Chris Hutt said...

It looks like it. The route already exists for the most part as rough paths and tracks which are mostly cyclable, so there isn't really any fundamental change of use involved.

However improved paths would attract a lot more cyclists and walkers (and of course wheelchair users would be able to enjoy access), as at Blaise, so the right sort of 'shared space' culture needs to be encouraged.

That's why treating the route as an extension of the Blaise paths should help get across the same 'shared use' principles. Serious cyclists in a hurry will tend to avoid such a route anyway since there are faster road routes in the same corridor.

TonyD said...

Glancing through the Parks and Green Space Strategy map, most of the route highlighted appears to be green space under City Council control - I can't see a cycle path upgrade detracting from any green space status. In fact much of the route was highlighted as a Greenway (off-highway routes intended for shared use by non-motorised forms of transport) in the Bristol Local Plan.

In my view, Chris has once again demonstrated the value of actually being a cyclist (or walker) on the ground when it comes to putting ideas forward.

Having cycled quite a few times up the Somerset side of the river and down the "Gloucestershire" side, I can vouch for the negative impact of the Portway traffic.

Phillip said...

Chris, great suggestion, never knew it was there. I cycle to Aztec West each day on he A38 and when it is sunny often take a longer route home via Over Lane, connecting to the Avon cycleway, then dropping down through Blaise Castle and joining the roads that run alongside your suggested route.

This will make an already nice journey twice as nice! Can't make it on Sunday unfortunately, but hope cycling city take this suggestion up.

Anonymous said...

Another good suggestion, I looked at Bristol cycle map a while back and it seems such as obvious link. You have to wonder why the council aren't investigating stuff like this. Keep up the good work.

PJ said...

On another issue, thought you might want to know that the village/town green applciation has been recommended for refusal

McD said...

Leading a Family Ride along some of this route in the morning - will be thinking of Chris. Leaving Sea Mills station at 10:30 and heading for Blaise - see - should have thought to mention it sooner - hope there's some of you out there still keeping an eye on this.
Chris jnr - hoep to meet up soon. Martin McD

McD said...

Leading a Family Ride on part of this route tomorrow - leaving Sea Mills Station for Blaise at 10:30 - see for more info - should have mentioned sooner in case there are still people keeping an eye on Chris's blog. We'll be thinking of you , Chris.
Chris Jnr - hope to meet up again some time,
Martin McD