On the 1st June, a group of cyclists biked around Didcot and ‘Greater Didcot’ to review the current cycle infrastructure and proposals / ideas for the future. The ride, organised by HarBUG, include the County’s Cycling Champion, the Didcot Garden Project Manager and the County’s Active Travel Officer who is currently compiling a Local Cycling and Wlaking Infrastructure Plan for Didcot.
We have pointed out in the past issues with new housing developments and their cycle (and pedestrian) connections to existing parts of towns or villages. We have seen cycle paths, that were on plans, disappear at Crab Hill, Wantage and now we have a shared use path appearing in the Southern section of Great Western Park in Didcot.
The path runs through the width of the south part of GWP connecting other paths along the way and is a useful piece of cycling infrastructure. Not at Dutch or Danish standards but OK for lower UK expectations. The path finishes at a junction with Wantage Road an this is where the problems are.
The junction with Wantage Road has no paths to connect to, it just stops at the highway boundary, it doesn’t even stop at the roadside. It looks like the developer has deliberately stopped the path at the highway boundary so that it is the County Council’s problem and not theirs. There is no crossing on the busy road and just a grass verge on the other side of the road. The path is hidden by trees and bushes either side, it cannot be seen by motorists.
The crazy thing is that HarBUG has been talking with the County Council about hybrid cycle lanes along Wantage Road, which the developers are paying for and designing. This path does not appear on the plans and the planned cycle lanes do not extend far enough along Wantage Road to connect to the new path. HarBUG tried to get the cycle lanes extended in consultations, if we knew that this new path was being built we would have a stronger argument to get the lanes extended.
HarBUG has written to the County Council, the local County and District councillors (although the district councillors have now changed) to try and get this issue resolved before there is an accident.