“I am in favour of Cycleways so long as they are safe, appropriate and risk-free”
- The intention for Weyhill Road will fulfil none of the above. Shared Cycleways are not safe for Cyclists or Pedestrians. Neither are they risk-free, which are acknowledged by both Cllr David Drew of Andover Town Council and Mr Robert Drew, Project Engineer at TVBC who seems to be the driving force behind this. Around Andover, existing Cycleways are neither coherent nor continuous, and to provide a 700 yard Cycleway with no fewer than 5 Roads coming off this stretch, a serious intersection at the Parade of Shops by Meadow Way as well as butting up against some 60 Driveways throughout the route is totally inappropriate and is a conflict waiting to happen!
Why It Should Proceed
- I cannot think of one reason, and neither can anyone spoken to on Weyhill Road since the arrival of TVBC’s letter dated 24 January 2014.
Why It Shouldn’t Proceed: Areas of Critical Concern
- There are no fewer than 5 Roads coming off this stretch of Weyhill Road and Cyclists will have to give way to Vehicles entering and exiting all of these, i.e. there is an issue of priority at intersections.
- There will, inevitably, be conflicts with Vehicles and Pedestrians most importantly entering and exiting some 60 Private Driveways, but also at the Parade of Shops by Meadow Way and at The Chestnut Tree Pub which has two separate entrances/exits.
- It’s a “Shared” not “Segregated” Cycleway so conflicts and accidents involving Cyclists/Elderly People/Parents with Toddlers/Parents walking their Pets/Unaccompanied Children will inevitably increase.
- Liability. What will happen when an accident happens, which it will, either between a Vehicle and a Cyclist or a Cyclist and a Pedestrian? And the Question must be asked: “Who should be held responsible for this?” I may be wrong but I’d be looking in the first instance to HCC/TVBC who came up with this intention!
Another 101 (well nearly) Areas of Other Real Concern (in no particular order of priority)
- TVBC have not, and never have, carried out any consultation because their 24th January 2014 letter to Weyhill Road residents says “TVBC … intends…”
- The Street Audit in January/February 2011, frequently referred to by HCC/TVBC, attracted only 6 or 7 people. This is not representative of the majority of people who live on this stretch of Weyhill Road.
- Some Roadside Trees and most Grass Verges will disappear: at a time when we all know how important conservation is and that less, not more, asphalt is needed to enable our rains to soak away naturally into the grasses, this can only be described as outrageous environmental vandalism.
- There is no statistical evidence that this Cycleway is needed. Very few Cyclists use this Pavement. The vast majority, myself retired included, use the Road.
- HCC/TVBC should be transparent and demonstrate what Figures and/or Statistics they have on any Safety Assessments they have carried out.
- TVBC Project Engineer Mr Robert Drew has said that the decision to progress a “Shared” route was taken after HCC considered the feasibility of providing one. What was their feasibility based on? No Reports/Studies have been made available. Why not? Can these (any?) Reports/Studies be put in the public domain so those affected can consider them?
- I suggest the only Reports/Studies are TVBC’s own Policy Documents, which TVBC Project Engineer refers to. These TVBC Policy Documents have been produced by TVBC in the knowledge that there is money available from the Department of Transport which must be spent in the next year or so, i.e. use it or lose it.
- Weyhill Road is a B Road with a statutory 30 mph speed limit. I have lived on this stretch of Road for nearly 20 years and very few Drivers exceed the limit. It is safe for Cyclists.
- It may not be the case that Cyclists on the Road slow Drivers down, but taking them off the Road may well encourage some Drivers to exceed the 30 mph speed limit.
- Cllr David Drew of Andover Town Council, who, based on several letters that have appeared recently in the Andover Advertiser, it has been suggested that he is so out of touch with locally-affected people. Commenting on this in the Andover and Villages www, Cllr Drew admits that there are risks associated with “Shared” Cycleways. He said, and I quote: “Unfortunately, it is not possible to remove the risk, which is common to all shared routes in towns; however Weyhill Road has good visibility….” I beg to differ on this latter point.
- TVBC Project Engineer (an unelected Official but who seems to think he knows what the people living on Weyhill Road wants!) also says it is a “balance of risks”. It is more than a “balance of risks”, it is a risk. In an E-Mail to me, Mr Drew offered an analogy between “competent” and “less competent” Cyclists, suggesting the latter “use the pavement in preference to the road”. Own goal here. Surely all Cyclists should be competent and if they are not, they should not be on a Cycle. Last month, I witnessed one idiot Cyclist, cycling merrily at speed, on this stretch of Weyhill Road Pavement, only to collide with a Car at the junction of The Crescent. No doubt one of Mr Drew’s “less competent” Cyclists!
- Cllr Drew and Mr Drew’s only links with Weyhill Road are that the former lived on Weyhill Road but left over 10 years ago and the latter “regularly rides along it”. What unites them is that they both acknowledge there is a “risk” with this intention. That being the case, then why risk it on Weyhill Road? If either did live on this stretch of Weyhill Road, I am convinced they would not be in favour of it.
- Apart from the Parade of Shops by Meadow Way, the 700 yard stretch of Road in question is more than 2 yards wider here than towards the town. This is a fact, something which neither TVBC/HCC has yet acknowledged. So incorporate a 1 yard Cycle Shoulder on both sides.
- Lampposts put in only a few years ago will be relocated nearly 2 yards closer to bedroom windows.
- Telegraph Poles and Bus Shelters are to be relocated.
- We are still waiting to learn what the total cost will be to the Taxpayer. A FOI request has been requested
- Cycleways are neither coherent nor continuous. They start and finish in the middle of nowhere. The vast majority of Cyclists on a Pavement do not acknowledge when it ends and carry on regardless.
- All Cycleways dotted around Andover are inconsistent and appallingly underused.
- There has not been one reported incident involving a Cyclist on Weyhill Road since records began.
- HCC and TVBC should work with local communities to improve and enhance Local Services. This Cycleway will alienate hundreds of people.
- How many Cllrs live on this stretch of Weyhill Road and will be directly affected? None.
- People who live here and local Businesses will suffer, without a doubt.
- Pavement Cyclists never wear hi-viz or have crash helmets, lights or bells. There are dozens of elderly people on Weyhill Road. Dark mornings and evenings. It is an accident waiting to happen.
- A new electronic 30 mph Slow Down sign was put up in April 2014 outside St Andrews Methodist Church on Weyhill Road. Sadly, the sign has now been removed but I gather that, for reasons best known to the HCC/Highways Agency, their life span in any one location is often limited! Doesn’t make sense to me.
- It seems that only HCC can appeal this decision if it goes against them. Not very democratic!
- This insane intention has been described as a “bodge”. It is a bodge. It will be an expensive bodge and it is definitely a risky bodge.
Alternative Options to Consider (and more cost effective!)
- Incorporate a 1 yard “Hard Cycle Shoulder” on both sides of this stretch of Weyhill Road. It can be done. And no, it doesn’t have to be 1.5 yards wide as TVBC Project Engineer advises. Look at the “Cycleway” on The Avenue which not only is laughable but is less than 1 yard wide and was maintained only a year or so ago by, yes, HCC under Operation Resilience.
- So what is good for The Avenue (which is the only major Bus Route into Town and to the Railway Station) must surely be good enough for the residents of this stretch of Weyhill Road.
- Enforce a 20 mph speed limit on Weyhill Road from East Portway (Chestnut Tree Pub) to the Town Centre.
- There is a Sign at East Portway as you enter Weyhill Road which says: “Local Traffic Only”. This needs to be policed more strictly.
- 2/3 years ago, part of this stretch of Weyhill Road was closed for well over 6 months when the Railway Bridge Replacement Works were carried out. No Lorries, no HGV Vehicles just local traffic. This is what the residents of Weyhill Road desire, the Road will then become more liveable and Cyclists will not come into conflict with Pedestrians or with Drivers exiting Driveways.
- Erect more permanent Electronic Speed Restriction Signs on Weyhill Road. That is what we need more of, and will be much more cost effective than whatever the final cost of this Cycleway will be.
- There is a ring road for people who wish to drive into town (or from town out to the Industrial Estate and beyond). HGV Drivers and other non-local Drivers should be persuaded to use this, by the introduction of “Sleeping Policemen” on this stretch of Weyhill Road.
Dates for Diaries
Monday 2 June @ 12.00 noon. Cllr Woodward (Leader of Fareham BC and HCC Member) plans to visit Weyhill Road to familiarise himself with the intention.
Tuesday 10 June @ 12.00 noon. Cllr Woodward will make his final decision in Winchester.