Monday, 2 March 2009

The Old Filton Road bike path

The Old Filton Road runs parallel to the A4174 ring road. It's a nice way to cycle between Frenchay and UWE, and is popular with the lunchtime runners.

Here's a bike approaching from Frenchay, on the road.

Here's another one. Again, on the road. There's a nominal 30 mph speed limit, which the approaching van is actually following

The Evening Post should be proud that there are no-pavement criminal cyclists here, and that this pavement is safe to walk down.

Except, what's this? The pavement is actually marked as for bicycles as well as pedestrians?

That's right. This 1.5 metre wide path is meant to be for bicycles as well as pedestrians, even though all these cyclists are ignoring it.

And the best bit. By providing such a stunning cycle facility, the local council can acquiesce to the campaign of the local conservative and unionist councillors -and the prospective parliamentary candidate- to re-open this narrow rat-run to cars driving UWE and the business park.

This feature, costing £120,000, is something which South Gloucs. council is actually proud of and had a big press event when it opened last autumn. Because as everyone knows, cyclists would rather cycle on a pavement than enjoy a traffic free road. As the council put it, these works were "designed to improve the environment for cyclists and pedestrians"

This must have been a great moral dilemma for our local legacy-printed-press. One the one hand, they hate bicycles on pavements. On the other, they like roads being opened to cars. What to do? Because they'd rather a bicycle on the pavement than slowing down their cars, they went with unrestricted praise in Bristol Road Reopens; title and prose on a par with "Berlin Wall Comes Down" or "Nelson Mandela Released". The best bit is the comments section where "Rob, Frenchay" complains that the biggest problem now is that some bikes are completely ignoring their pavement and slowing down the cars, and requesting that the council "enforce the cyclist to be on the path".

Yes, this is a bike path that the Evening Post, the Association of British Drivers and we in Bristol Traffic can all be proud of, even if none of any of these parties, drivers or cyclists alike, consider it worthy of use.


gentlegreen said...

I tried this "new" Frenchay to UWE route this morning and it is lamentable.

The pavement stretch is decent enough, but almost redundant as it's a quiet 30mph road any average cyclist can make decent progress along, and anyone desperate enough can overtake cyclists in the normal way - only to be overtaken again when they reach the logjam further on ...but the penny drops when you have to ring your bell and squeeze past pedestrians - very embarassing.

What is actually needed is a new pavement at the other end that cars can't drive onto.. the "advisory" lane was so completely full of cars this morning that I initially had difficulty working out where it was.

It's clearly a cynical scheme to divert cycling money to placate motorists desperate to avoid the dual carriageway, and not a cycling scheme at all.

SteveL said...

yes, it's bollocks. If north bristol were to have a Critical Mass ride, this would be on it.

gentlegreen said...

This update has been prompted by my having had to report to South Glos. that a temporary "Ramp" warning sign is blocking the cyclists' bypass on the road hump near the Holiday Inn exit.

Perhaps it was done by a skilful cyclist (you can actually still just squeeze through at speed) to try and discourage the cars from invading it, (as they of course do), and thereby defeating the whole point of it (At least it's my perception that the point is to let cyclists whizz past and take their rightful place (at 20-plus mph) ahead of the cars and safely clear of the concealed entrances) Perhaps some brightly-coloured road markings are in order. ?

The other "Ramp" sign 50 metres back is almost entirely covered by vegetation.

I see a new hump is going in at the Frenchay end where a cyclist would be wanting to change road position to turn right.
Having experienced the occasional "incident" performing this manoeuvre, I await this with anticipation.

As for the pavement "facility", I have yet to witness anyone actually using it in the early evening. i.e. 99 percent of cyclists are using the road. Perhaps it's used more in the mornings...

I find it very confusing at the Coldharbour Lane end that there are still cycle lane markings on the road.

This may be a cue to try that route one morning to see how it performs.