In our fifth instalment we’re going to look at how Cardiff’s proposed cycle routes connect people to the places they need to go to.
Infrastructure is all very well, but if it doesn’t take you where you need it to, you might as well not have it.
We’re going to look at some of the potential destinations for people to ride to, such as schools, venues and train stations and see just how well the proposed maps will meet our needs. If it doesn’t fair well it simply won’t be a good network.
First up, secondary schools…
Whilst it would be nice to have included primary schools as well, if we can have secondary school pupils riding to school that would certainly be a big improvement. Besides, this post is probably going to be long enough as it is.
Also it is worth keeping in mind with the lists that follow, where we have said a school or venue isn’t on a route, if you feel that the roads between it and the nearest network route are safe, please feel free to speak up. Unless you are familiar with a particular road, especially during school-run times it is difficult to make a judgement.
Lastly, this article has some tables in it. If you are viewing this article in Apple News or a similar app, they may not display correctly…or at all. You may wish to jump to the browser version for this bit.
|Cantonian||Yes||On Network Route|
|Cardiff High||Yes||Primary Route N/S|
|Cathays High||Yes||Network Route|
|Corpus Christi||Yes||Primary route N/S|
|Easterm High||Yes||Primary Route E/W|
|Fitzalan High||Yes||On Network Route|
|Glyn Derw||Yes (ish)||Near Network Route|
|Llanishen High||Yes (ish)||Near Network Route|
|Mary Immaculate||Yes (ish)||Near Network Route|
|Michaelston Community College||Questionable||Near Network Route|
|Radyr Comprehensive||Questionable||Near Proposed Exts|
|St Illtyds||Yes||Primary E/W|
|The Bishop of Llandaff||Yes||On Network Route|
|Whitchurch High School||Yes||On Network Route
(upper & lower)
|Willows High School||No|
|Ysgol Gyfun Gymraeg Bro Edern||Yes||On Network Route|
|Ysgol Gyfun Gymraeg Glantaf||Yes||Taff Trail & NR|
|Ysgol Gyfun Gymraeg Plasmawr||Yes||Near Proposed Ext|
- Llanishen High; Glyn Derw are only “near” network routes. We’ve not looked at how these roads are, but with Llanishen being on Heol Hir a normally fairly busy road, we would have some reservations.
- Whilst Heol Trelai is marked as a network route, Caerau Lane is not.
- For Michaelston Community College, the nearest network route is Grand Avenue. A short distance but Michaelston Road looks busy and needs to be crossed.
- Radyr appears to have been missed off the plans. Heol Isaf needs to be looked at to make Radyr Comprehensive safely accessible. Heol Isaf needs a cycle lane to connect Morganstown to something.
- Willows – nearest network route ends on Moorland Road
It is often said that journeys under 5 miles are often best done by bike. Journeys beyond that may well involve some form of public transport, most notably trains. So, we need to make sure we can actually get to our local stations.
It would also help if our local stations had bike parking of any quality –we’re looking at you, Llandaff.
|Queen Street||Yes||Primary (both)|
|Radyr||Yes||Proposed Ext & TT|
|Taffs Well||Yes||Taff Trail|
|Fairwater||Yes||Prop. Ext & NR|
|Waun-Gron Park||Yes||On Network Route|
|Ninian Park||Yes||On Network Route|
|Grangetown||Yes||On Network Route|
|Heath High Level||Yes||Primary N/S|
|Heath Low Level||Yes||Primary N/S|
|Lisvane & Thornhill||No|
|Whitchurch||Yes||Prop Ext & NR|
|Ty Glas||Yes||Network Route|
- We find the idea of spending millions on an integrated transport hub, stocking it with hundreds of bike stands and only providing light segregation on the main artery to it more than a little weird.
- Birchgrove, like Radyr, needs looking at again, generally.
Culture & Entertainment Venues
With the power to draw hundreds or even thousands of people to one place at the same time, the need for an active travel connection to places like the Principality Stadium should not be underestimated. The trains aren’t coping with match days and bikes offer a way to get around the road closures and queues.
Of course, we need parking to match, but we’ll concentrate on just getting there for now.
|Principality Stadium||Yes||On Network Route|
|Swalec Stadium||Yes||Primary E/W|
|Cardiff City Stadium||Yes||On Network Route|
|Millennium Centre||Yes||Primary N/S|
|St Fagans Museum of Welsh Life||Yes||Ely Trail|
|National Museum of Wales||Yes||Network Route|
|Cardiff Castle||Yes||Primary E/W|
|Castell Coch||Yes||Near Taff Trail|
|Odeon Cardiff Bay||Yes||Primary N/S|
|Chapter||Yes||Near Network Route|
|Norwegian Church||Yes||Near Primary N/S|
|Your suggestions here…|
- Plasmawr Road & Waterhall Road would make for a good lateral route for an otherwise hub & spoke network. Not everyone wants to travel to the centre before heading back out again.
- Michaelston Road would join Grand Avenue & Ely Trail Routes
- Proposed extension from Beulah Road to Ty Glas Road –what is planned for that horrific roundabout?
- Excalibur Drive – A key route through Thornhill, so why is it missed off?
- Proposed light segregation on Maes-y-Coed Road looks isolated –what is it for? The Council seems determined to keep us away from Birchgrove, doesn’t it.
There’s a lot to like about the council’s network maps, on the surface at least. The primary routes will hopefully be a breath of fresh air when they are installed. Also, most of the secondary schools, train station and venues are connected to the planned network, so that’s good.
However, we can’t help but feel a little disappointed by what is left for the longer term.
The purple routes, along with the blue routes (the proposed extensions) are maddeningly indirect. Let’s take Thornhill as a prime example. If you are on Ty Glas Road and you want to go to the medical centre and pharmacy on Excalibur Drive (which incidentally isn’t a route –why?), you don’t just go straight up Heol Hir, oh no, you go up the hill towards Lisvane before cutting left up Everest Avenue and back around. This actually misses out a comprehensive school in the process.
The Council does seem determined to keep us out of Birchgrove and well, villages generally. We really do spend money, honest.
There’s still a tendency that was also evident in the original Enfys map to bring everyone into the centre of town and offer few routes in between to link them up. We’d add Michaelston Road to the map, for example, along with Croft-y-Genau Road to join the spokes of Caerau, Ely, Fairwater, St Fagans and Cregiau together instead of leading people back to town and then out again. We’d also add Plasmawr Road and Waterhall Road into the mix too.
There are some key main roads forming part of major existing developments that provide the most direct route option, but the obscure option has usually been taken instead.
Why has much of Whitchurch been bypassed? With narrow ‘shared’ paths either side of Manor Way, Pendwyallt Road is a useful alternative. Whilst it is nice that the route does take you past the shops in Whitchurch, it is done by an indirect dog-leg from Manor Way or Gabalfa. Finally, why is Radyr, Morganstown, Gwaelod-y-Garth & Pentyrch without any connection whatsoever?
It is clear that whilst this is a good starter for 10, there are issues that may well affect your local area that you may want to ask your councillor about. We strongly encourage you to take a close look at the maps for the place where you live, as well as any places you would need to routinely cycle to, such as work, school or college and raise any issues you may have when the consultation starts in the new year.
We really need to get this right before anyone picks up a shovel!