“We’re splashing along”: Flooded new cycle lane dismissed as “awful job” by councillor

“We’re splashing along”: Flooded new cycle lane dismissed as “awful job” by councillor

A new cycle lane in central Hereford has been dismissed as “terrible work” by a councilor who criticized the quality of the surface and the potential for pedestrians to stumble over a “dangerous” lip.

The counter-current cycle path on St Owen Street, currently under construction, is part of Herefordshire Council’s plan to create ‘a more attractive environment for residents, visitors, shoppers, workers and local businesses’ in the city centre.

The cycle lane is on the City Hall side of St Owen Street and directs cyclists in the opposite direction of traffic towards the city centre. It is separated from the one-way street by a series of parking bays.

According to the council, the counter-current system for bicycles will “create a safer cycle lane out of the east of the city, encouraging sustainable and active travel while improving safety for pedestrians and motorists”.

However, even before it was officially completed, the project drew criticism from local councillors, who criticized the new cycle path for its design and quality.

In late November, Independent Councilor and former Hereford Mayor Jim Kenyon filmed video (above) of the ‘freshly laid’ cycle path, in which he expressed concerns that parts of the path were flooded.

“We’ve had a light shower and as you can see we’re splashing around here. It’s halfway across the bike path,” he said in the video. “There’s water across the street. It also sits up [the parking bay] side of the white line.”

The city council also argued that a “lip” at the edge of the lane would cause people to “fall over”.

At a Herefordshire Council meeting last week, Kenyon said: “I have videoed the ‘merging’ along the newly laid cycle path.

“It’s a terrible job. Who hired the contractors? The Council should have had its own inspectors who could have picked this up sooner.”

According to the Hereford Times, John Harrington, owner of the council’s transport portfolio, replied that the work, “including the issue of pooling, will be quality checked as a normal process.

“We have an answer that the pooling was due to the heavy rain that day. I said it wasn’t good enough and I should go and check it out. We will forward your reply,” he said.

Kenyon also said he noticed cyclists traveling in both directions to and from the city center on St Owen Street (presumably on both the main one-way street and the counter-current cycle lane), a claim echoed by Conservative councilwoman Carole Gandy .

Gandy, who also described the quality of the cycle path as poor, said: “What I find strange is that cyclists can go either way.

“But if you park there, I can see motorists exiting without looking for cyclists coming the other way.

“Why did we decide that bikes could go both ways, with a bike lane only towards the city center?”

Harrington, a member of the Herefordshire Independents, who control the council together with the Greens and It’s Our County party, replied: “You could ask your cabinet because it was their plan. I think that’s a very good idea because it’s a wish line, people went up anyway.

“The question is how do we protect people [from cyclists] go the other way [from traffic]? The previous government’s system did this, but it fell short of the new legislation, which said you had to single out cyclists where possible.”

> ‘Idiot’ much-mocked zig-zag bike lane now blamed as cyclist injured in flat-curb crash

Hereford’s new cycle lane is not the only piece of active travel infrastructure that has come under criticism in recent times due to the perceived poor quality of its design and workmanship.

Last week we reported that an Edinburgh pensioner had warned the city’s now infamous Leith Walk cycle route is a “disaster awaiting us” after suffering what is believed to be a broken rib after hitting a flat curb and other minor injuries.

John Kerr went over the handlebars when his front tire hit a flat curb at the side of the bike path – the butt of many jokes when pictures of his “morbid,” bizarre zig-zag design surfaced online earlier this year.

The councilman says the lane is currently closed, with barriers and signage notifying the public, and won’t be ready until early 2023, but the 69-year-old says he doesn’t think it will be any safer when it officially opens and that the “terrible design” could seriously injure someone.

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