Whilst cycling is back in the limelight once again and our current crop of councillors have put together a very encouraging strategy for growing cycling in Cardiff, cycle infrastructure has existed in Cardiff in many forms for many years.
Armed with the GoPro, we took a ride around Cardiff to capture various stretches of cycle infrastructure that have been laid down over the years. From some of the oldest, to the very newest but in no particular order.
Way back in the day…
Back in the 70s the construction of the M4 was well under way. Between 1977 and 1980 junction 32 came into being and with it, Coryton Interchange. Our first piece of infrastructure in the video is the incredibly useful but under-appreciated sliver of path across the middle.
There is a network of paths, underpasses and bridges to take you from Tongwynlais to Whitchurch, Rhiwbina and the Asda superstore. It’s a shared path, but is invariably quiet and cuts out the many traffic lights and all the traffic.
Unfortunately, it does spit you out at Whitchurch with nowhere to go but the main road. Fortunately it’s quite an entertaining descent towards the Hollybush, before making your way through to Whitchurch Library.
From there we headed down towards the Fox & Hounds and the junction to cross Manor Way, through the bottom end of Rhiwbina and to the start of one of our newest stretches of cycle infrastructure on Maes-y-Coed Road.
Protected cycle lanes
In 2018 we gained our first piece of protected infrastructure –a short stretch along Maes-y-Coed Road. It’s protected by a curb and poles and you’ll find it at 4:11 on the video. It’s very pleasant, very smooth, but it’s pretty short.
It is however an encouraging start, to see the sort of quality infrastructure we’d love to see all around Cardiff to capitalise on the success of the new Nextbike scheme.
From there we headed down through Heath, past the hospital and down through Cathays to our next type of “infrastructure”.
No centre line…
On the surface, wide cycle lanes on both sides of the road sound great. The lack of a centre lines mean that motorists have to “share”.
Motorists don’t “share”.
We have two places where this sort of infrastructure, which you can see at 6:50 can be found. Here on Cathays Terrace and on James Street in Butetown. On the stretch in the video, the cycle lanes are in the door zone, so you’re dealing with two way traffic on one side and trying to avoid getting a door to the face at the same time. Not ideal. We hope this sort of road layout goes away very soon.
North Road and the way forward
Our most recent stretch of the good stuff can be found at 8:12 in the video. It’s a lovely, smooth stretch of protected asphalt that goes on for a surprisingly long way. It’s only real blemish that it is under the tree line and prone to mulch and debris this time of year. However, it’s a big improvement on what we had before:
It’s another great example of what can be done and the council seems committed to doing. They are currently consulting on plans for new infrastructure, which you can follow along here. If you’d like to see more of what we have on Maes-y-Coed Road or North Road, keep an eye on the council’s consultation pages and send any comments through to them.
Back when the plans were first announced we published a series of posts, our Deep Dives, looking into various aspects of the early drawings, as well as the cycle strategy. You can have a read of that here.
One stretch we didn’t capture on this ride was the cycle street on Grangetown, which you’ll remember from the Greener Grangetown project. We’ll get some video of that soon, no doubt.
Also, if you like the videos and would like to see more of them, we have a Youtube channel that you may wish to subscribe to. We’re still working out the kinks and getting the hang of editing video, so they will hopefully improve with time and constructive criticism!