It is not only the below standard cycle barriers that restrict users that are causing problems, but now the path surface itself is breaking up, and that’s all before the cycle route / pathway is officially handed into public ownership.
There are now further problems developing on the Mill Springs shared Footpath/CycleWay.
Small mounds are appearing in the tarmac surface as organic material below that had not been removed is starting to push through the substandard construction. These ‘mounds’ are already starting to crack. Over the winter any water in them will freeze and expand, breaking up the surface further and creating a danger not only for cycling but also as a trip hazard to pedestrians and anyone with sight or mobility impairments.
The issue has been brought to the attention of Whitchurch Town Council as this should really be remedied before the path is handed over from the developer into public ownership. If not dealt with now it may result in expensive maintenance and repair costs as well as potential legal claims which could then fall on local residents to pay. Most are starting to appear at the top end of the site but they are appearing lower down too.
The longer it is left the worse it will become.
Below – just some of the cracks already appearing.
Is this one of the worst fails for a barrier on a cycle path?
It has already been noted that the barriers installed on the Mill Springs shared Cycle/Pedestrian path cannot be used by a number of users, yet they still remain.
The chicane restrictions are an accessibility nightmare for cycles using a trailer or a family tagalong. They could also restrict work bikes, tandems, hand cycles and tricycles, and that’s before the needs of mobility scooters are considered. Double buggies are also likely to be hindered.
Below design standard for accessibility In addition the barriers fail the Governments published design guidance (LTN 1/20) that states very clearly that: “Access control measures, such as chicane barriers and dismount signs, should not be used.” Basingstoke and Deane’s Cycling Strategy states: “Users of specialised equipment – includes users of trailers, trailer cycles, tandems and tricycles, as well as disabled people using hand cranked machines. This group requires wide facilities free of sharp bends and an absence of pinch points or any other features that force cyclists to dismount.”
Another question is being asked – was an Equalities Impact Assessment undertaken? Basingstoke & Deane Borough Council as the planning authority should be able to provide that, but haven’t.
But another problem is occurring especially at the western end near the sports changing rooms. The installation is also restricting access to maintenance vehicles for the three sports pitches. While there are two bollards that can be unlocked to allow access, maintenance vehicles are then confronted with the staggered barriers across the path. These vehicles are taking to the surrounding grassed areas, completely destroying it and creating a stony bare unsightly eyesore – and when it rains stones and mud get washed down into the road below causing additional hazards.
Can anything be done? Yes. The area is currently under the management of Mill Springs developer David Wilson Homes, but will soon pass into the ownership and responsibility of the Whitchurch Town Council. This should be remedied before that takes place. Let us hope that before the site is handed into public ownership this issue is resolved or future costs may rest on local residents. It has also been suggested that should anyone fall trying to negotiate the barriers it could also lead to potential injury claims.
The solution would seem to be a very simple one; remove the superfluous staggered barriers both here and at the other end; retain lockable bollards to retain access for service vehicles; make access to all legitimate users possible; comply with requirements of the 2010 Equality Act, and remove the need for maintenance vehicles to churn up the grass. Sorted. Except it isn’t, at least not yet.
NATIONALLY Its not just local routes that suffer such poor designs but also the Sustrans led National Cycle Network. Listen to hand cyclist Ellis Palmer, then look at the barriers in Whitchurch at Micheldever Road end of the Mill Springs path (pic below): Link to Video: BARRIERS ON NATIONAL ROUTES(Sustrans / Ellis Palmer)
Has anyone used the new Shared Cycle/Pedestrian path at Mill Springs in Whitchurch?
‘Chicane’ barriers have been erected at each end that are making it difficult for a number of users. (click on pics to enlarge)
Staggered ‘chicane’ railings have been placed on the David Wilson Homes development that are causing access issues making the route less convenient and appealing to those it is supposed to cater for.
These are especially awkward for those with pushchairs, prams, wheelchairs or using mobility scooters, as well as for larger cycles such as tandems, tricycles, cargo bikes or those with the popular family trailers and tagalongs. For some the barriers make it impassable. While there has not been a legal case they may also be breaking the requirements of the 2010 Equality Act.
The picture at the Micheldever Road end shows that some people are avoiding the barriers by going around them. That of course is not possible for some with mobility scooters or with less manoeuverable cycles. There has even been an attempt to block this desire line, with installation of a ‘bollard bodge’.
Meanwhile at the other end of the path, by the new changing rooms, there are also barriers and bollards, again with similar access issues. Here there are two removable bollards which are fine for controlling access by motor vehicles, but then another ‘chicane’ barrier. The result is that maintenance vehicles have been churning up the grass to go around the staggered barriers. Why was this placed here? It would be useful to hear the thinking!
Such chicane barriers are being removed in parts of the country – yet here in Whitchurch they are installed. Whitchurch should, and can, do better.