Cycle routes slammed

CYCLE routes in North Herts have been slammed by the biggest cycling organisation in the country. The Cyclists Touring Club (CTC) has called on Hertfordshire County Council (HCC) for immediate action to review how a high quality, cycle friendly road envir

CYCLE routes in North Herts have been slammed by the biggest cycling organisation in the country.

The Cyclists Touring Club (CTC) has called on Hertfordshire County Council (HCC) for immediate action to review how a high quality, cycle friendly road environment can be delivered in North Herts.

In a letter to Tom Hawkyard, head of scrutiny at HCC, Alasdair Massie, the CTC's Right to Ride representative for North Herts, says: "There has been little meaningful progress in building the North Herts Cycle Network during the first decade of its planned 20-year implementation period.

"But worse than this inaction has been the dangerously poor quality of what little infrastructure has been built.

"Individual designers have chosen to ignore the excellent cycling strategy as well as ignoring national guidance, and have resorted almost exclusively to poor quality facilities that put cyclists on the pavement.

"There seems to be no system of checking whether designers are following guidelines, adhering to the published strategy or seeking to actively improve conditions for cycling.

Most Read

"It appears designers are being allowed to go directly against county policy without being held to account."

The CTC says county engineers have ignored the requirement to consult and have proceeded with footway conversions despite clear opposition from the CTC at Hitchin Station, Weston Way, Baldock, and in Jubilee Road, Letchworth GC.

The CTC also says opportunities to make improvements for cycling within larger schemes have been squandered.

It says examples include the Paynes Park/Bedford Road gyratory system in Hitchin, the Baldock High Street enhancement scheme and what it says are unsatisfactory proposals in Baldock Road at the entrance of Letchworth Retail Park.

"This is public money being poured down the drain," added Mr Massie. "When incorporated with a larger scheme, providing for cycling does not need to cost anything or cause disruption."

A HCC spokesman said: "We have responded to the CTC on a number of issues concerning the council's approach to the provision of cycle paths in various locations in Hitchin and Baldock.

"All local highways projects, including those that incorporate new cycle paths and facilities, are developed following consultation with local representatives and residents.

"However, each location involves different constraints, pressures and sometimes conflicting demands and the resulting schemes have to accommodate the needs of all users as far as possible.

"The county council takes the concerns of all user groups very seriously and following the correspondence with representatives from the CTC, the issue of cycling provision will be considered through the council's own scrutiny process during the autumn."

A North Herts District Council (NHDC) spokesman said: "There are several problems with implementing the proposed cycle network including finance, the demands for limited road space from all road users and problems with infrastructure.

"This is a particular problem in a market town like Hitchin with a Medieval street pattern that is difficult to adapt to the needs of cyclists as well as motorcyclists, cars and pedestrians.

"Progress has been made in Letchworth GC where two years ago the Great North Cycle Way was re-routed through the town centre, which included installing a toucan crossing in Baldock Road.

"NHDC is committed to working to improve cycle routes in any practical way it can and is always open to discussing new suggestions and initiatives as well as working constantly with statutory and voluntary bodies.

Become a Supporter

This newspaper has been a central part of community life for many years. Our industry faces testing times, which is why we're asking for your support. Every contribution will help us continue to produce local journalism that makes a measurable difference to our community.

Become a Supporter