Tag Archives: Long Ashton Nailsea Backwell Dundry

Linking the Festival way and South Bristol Link – the saga continues

What is the difference between a cycle path and an impassable muddy farm track?

We’ve reported previously about South Bristol Link Road and Festival Way – the missing link. The key element is Parsonage Farm Bridge over the A370, at the western end of the south Bristol link road (SBL). This is now completely inaccessible to cyclists as the farmer has (not unreasonably) been continuing to use the lane for his cows. The lane has become muddier and muddier and the mix of mud and manure is over an inch deep. The pile of earth which someone provided to negotiate the one-foot drop at the end of the concrete has been hoofed away. It is far too slippery to cycle, but cannot be walked because the mud is too deep to avoid going over the top of shoes.

There is no alternative to ‘the shitty bridge’ (dark green on map below) as the footway/cycle path by the SBL has not been continued up to the roundabout (suggested pale blue route on map).

BCyC members in North Somerset have been plugging away with the Council and with Balfour Beatty, contractor for the Metrobus. They are responsible for the link from SBL to the Ashton Park & Ride and then the walking/cycling route by the guided busway through to Ashton and the Festival Way. This route is due to open imminently (the north-south on map) but would become much more useful with the additional link to the Festival Way, in blue.

The route following the Metrobus walking/cycling track into town (also known as the maintenance track) should be fairly pleasant and useful, at least up to where the track is discontinuous and walkers and cyclists will need to use the footway / cycleway of Ashton Gate Underpass (between points 2225m and 2455m in the attached AVTM Page 8 plan. The state of this section under the new bendy bridge can be seen on this Google image, while the whole route is set out at https://travelwest.info/metrobus/benefits-cyclists-pedestrians


A Modest Proposal #7: Linking Long Ashton park & ride with Festival Way

Bristol Cycling Campaign member David Neale has produced another excellent and well worked out proposal (see also the Barrow Hospital plans). This one will provide a traffic-free walking and cycling link in Ashton Vale between the AVTM maintenance/cycle track, the Long Ashton P&R and Festival Way (AVTM is the Ashton Vale to Temple Meads part of MetroBus).

With the likelihood of more traffic congestion when the South Bristol Link road opens, the scheme should benefit increasing numbers of pedestrians walking between Long Ashton village and the Park & Ride. Note that it connects to the new spur connecting the park and ride to the South Bristol Link shared use path.

The plans were presented to the North Somerset Cycle Forum in April 2016. We hope this useful link can be part of future funding bids.

South Bristol Link Road and Festival Way – the missing link

There’s a very pleasant loop now available taking you from the centre out along the Festival Way, to South Bristol Link (SBL), then back along the Malago Greenway.

But, there’s a problem. A missing link* (map).

At the northern (Long Ashton) end of the SBL, the cycle path is unfinished. The link to the Festival Way is across a bridge over the Long Ashton bypass (A370).  The pavement cycleway from the SBL leads directly to the bridge but the short section from the Festival Way over the bridge and beyond has had no work done on it and has a very bad surface. A person on a bike also has to negotiate two farm gates. Both are large and heavy and impediments to all abilities cycling. The route is also not signposted, so people who did not know of it’s existence would not spot it

It appears that it’s deliberately unfinished to accommodate the landowner and encourage us to walk our bikes! We trust this is not a formal part of the status of the route as a “Community Forest Path”. This is a path encircling Bristol; the pedestrian equivalent of the Avon Cycleway.

Here’s the response we had from the contractor, Griffiths, reply to our enquiry:

Thanks for your enquiry. I have had feedback from a North Somerset council representative on the project management team of the link road.

The section of the route over the bridge and ramp to the gate is a public footpath not a cycle path. Cyclists are permitted to take their cycles along it.

At the time the scheme went to planning and to public inquiry the upgrading of this section from footpath to cycle path posed a large risk of challenge to the approval of the project. A decision was taken at the time to tackle this at some future date.

The bridge is also a farm access for cattle so the condition of this section will always be muddy.

This section of the route is considered to be suitable as a footpath. The use of this route by cyclists is a sensitive issue with the landowners and as cyclists are supposed to walk this 60m section the council do not intend to upgrade the condition of the ramp at this time.  They would upgrade the surface if we successfully upgrade the route to a cycle path from a footpath.

There is a cycle way link from the SBL to the park and ride via our bus link which will be open later this year when the Metrobus scheme completes. This would provide an alternative route towards Long Ashton.

As contractor we are yet to install the cycle signage as part of a programme of works as work is still on going on the SBL.

The gates are required to segregate cattle from cyclists. The two gates are required as part of the land agreement for the route. These gates need adjusting such that they are self-closing and have a more friendly latch. NSC are also looking at the design of the gates on the bridge adjacent to Festival Way to make these more cycle friendly.

North Somerset Council will monitor the numbers and interaction of cyclists and farm users, cows, to assist in gaining information to support the use of this section as a cycle path with a view to future upgrading.

The council appreciate that this section is not ideal from a cycling viewpoint however we need to take into account the existing users of the bridge. It does provide a new route for cyclists and the gates are not considered a significant delay compared to use of other routes.

Jim Aitken
Public Liaison Officer
Alun Griffiths (Contractors) Ltd
West of England Projects
T: 0845 862 2327 | W: www.alungriffiths.co.uk

* Let’s not talk about the other missing link at the other end, from Cater Business Park to Crox Bottom on the pavement by Hengrove Way…

Ashton Vale changes due to Metrobus, Metrowest & South Bristol Link Road

The South Bristol Link Road (SBLR) opened in December 2016. It has a parallel shared use path for pedestrians and cycles which connects at Long Ashton to the Festival Way (National Cycle Network 33). It then links at the other end to the Malago Greenway at Hengrove. There is a spur connecting through the Long Ashton Park & Ride to the maintenance track / cycleway alongside the guided busway between Long Ashton and Temple Meads.

The Metrobus busway will overfly the Temple Meads to Portbury rail line at Ashton Vale on a new deck. The maintenance track / cycleway continues and terminates at Ashton Vale Road, where the railway is crossed by a level crossing (See sheet 201749-PA-908 at Travelwest https://s3-eu-west-1.amazonaws.com/travelwest/wp-content/uploads/2016/10/avtm-general-arrangement-plans.pdf). On the opening of the railway to passenger trains to Portishead (as part of Metrowest), it is currently proposed to close the level crossing (providing a new access from the west to the industrial estate). This will also close the public footpath crossing to Barons Close.

The current proposed route for cyclists and pedestrians between Ashton Vale Road and Winterstoke Road is a diversion of about 300 metres via a ramp to Ashton Road, and a convoluted series of crossings, ramps and subways, all of which fall short of current guidelines for such facilities due to gradients, and width.

For cyclists travelling to South Bedminster / Ashton Gate, the diversion adds considerably to the journey time. Travelling towards the city, the route is much less attractive, more inconvenient and congested at peak times with school foot traffic.

We have written to MetroWest as part of the ‘Ashton & Pill micro-consolation’ suggesting that the direct link between the Metrobus cycleway and Winterstoke Road is maintained by creating a subway under the railway at Barons Close. This would require onward facilities on Winterstoke Road to link to existing cycleways.

PS There was a dramatic ‘Santa Cycle Ride’ in December 2016 to mark the opening of the SBLR. Check out the Flickr gallery.

Access to Long Ashton and Barrow Hospital development

The old Barrow Hospital site is being redeveloped. There is a real risk that increased traffic will create further problems on the popular cycling route south of Long Ashton. This is also a good opportunity to improve things by opening up a new shared path to link in to Long Ashton.

Car commuting to Bristol is difficult because of peak-time traffic congestion. There is demand for parking in Long Ashton village by commuters from further afield who then cycle into Bristol, overtaking congested traffic. Cycle parking at bus stops will help those commuting by bus/bike to Bristol, or indeed by car/bike if they can find a vacant parking spot nearby.

Some residents of existing and proposed housing at the Barrow Hospital site will wish to commute at peak traffic times and find it a lot quicker by bike than by car or bus. For trips from Long Ashton to Harbourside in Bristol members of BCyC say they allow 35-minutes by car, 45-minutes if walking and 11 minutes by bicycle!

Less experienced cyclists and family groups from Barrow Hospital will be put off by the additional traffic generated in Wild Country Lane and would benefit by an off-road link from the site to the Nailsea-Bristol Festival Way walking and cycling route built in 2012 and operated by North Somerset Council.

Here is a suggested scheme for a shared-path link that would also provide a safe and attractive walking and cycling route to shops and community facilities in Long Ashton.

We have included this scheme in our ‘neighbourhood plan’ for the area North Somerset – Long Ashton, Nailsea, Backwell, Dundry

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