We didn’t want to bite, we really didn’t. A quick read of the tagline in the linked article below, which speaks of car parking; mountains of hearsay and conjecture about the evils we cyclists have imposed upon humanity; and how nobody will use it –whatever ‘it’ turns out to be, pretty much tells you all you need to know.
Or does it?
Start with ‘Why’…
The plan appears to be to re-route the cycle path along Mary Street, which runs behind the tennis courts at the southern end of Hailey Park. One would suspect that it would then run through the alleyway at the back of Hazelhurst Road.
Residents of Mary Street, which overlooks the park’s tennis courts, are concerned that one plan is to make a five-metre wide path on one side of the street.
It’s one way to go, no doubt. However, before picking up a shovel, I think we need to have a serious think about what the Taff Trail is for, let alone Hailey Park.
The Taff Trail, whilst lovely for a couple of months during the summer, when leaves, ice and debris aren’t an issue, it really is a leisure route. Unfortunately, it is a leisure route that has been embraced as a commuter route by those of us wanting to get to work on time, preferably alive.
Dealing with the often challenging conditions and the darkness experienced during the rest of the year is something many of us just put up with. We even put up with the doggists; the joggists; and the walking-four-abreastists (yes, I really went all-in on the ‘ists’ there…).
Now, if we didn’t have to…if there was a route that took us from say Radyr or Tongwynlais to town, even if it was a little less scenic, but more direct than the Taff Trail, that might have some legs…
Perhaps something that made better use of the grass verges along Manor Way, giving us ready access to Whitchurch, Rhiwbina, UHW, a few schools and a whole host of amenities, whilst also linking up with the existing routes across the Coryton Interchange and under the Gabalfa flyover, that would really be a game-changer.
If I ride to work along North Road, whilst umm…exhilarating, it cuts 10 minutes off the journey compared to the Taff Trail, plus around 3Km. However, if a route through Llandaff North needed to be found, I’d argue against going through Hailey Park at all.
As we’ve discussed at length already, there’s a lot of time and money spent on keeping those of us on two-wheels away from people, in particular, shops and other reasons for being out of the house. We’ve seen it before with the Birchgrove Retail Bypass…and we were far from impressed.
The Taff Trail, for better or worse, manages to miss all shops, schools, pretty much everything and you need to leave it to reach them. Even Ysgol Glan Taf needs a short ride along Gabalfa Road to access.
If I’m riding home from work and need to pick something up from the shop for dinner, I need to leave the Taff Trail and head along Station Road to visit one of the shops along there. Why not do something with Station Road to make it friendlier to people?
We’ve seen how a Cycle Street can be deployed to improve a former rat-run along Taff Embankment; or how a segregated lane along Maes-y-Coed Road can make it a far more enjoyable place to ride.
Perhaps we’d be better off finding a route along Station Road, Gabalfa Road and River View instead?
The elephant in the room…
Another consideration here is that, yes, it will allegedly remove parking from the street, but it’s not as if drivers have been particularly shy about parking in cycle lanes up until now, is it.
Until we are in a position where cars can routinely dealt with, swiftly, effectively and permanently if found parked in a cycle lane, we’re likely to end up riding the road here anyway. It could be a 5m wide parking lane, if we’re not careful.
With that said, we should probably refrain from passing judgement until the plans are published in February 2020. Until then, this is purely speculation.