Three years or so after house-building started, sustainable transport measures are finally being put in place at the old Moor Hospital/Nightingale Hall Farm sites as part of Section 106 funding. Bus service number 18 started a few weeks ago, and now the shared-use path is under construction. It runs alongside the cemetery, so is of most use to people who cycle from Lancaster centre through Williamson Park to the no-longer-so-new housing.
Following our A6 petition, Dynamo wrote a press release calling on the County Council to keep its commitment to improving safety on the A6 south for cyclists and pedestrians.
This week’s Lancaster Guardian carries a report, including comments from the County Council.
Spotted on the A6 in south Lancaster opposite the BP garage. Does this mean that you’re supposed to walk the whole length of the A6 because a little length of cycle lane is closed? Are we no longer allowed to cycle on the A6? Why aren’t cars instructed to take care?
And how on earth do they think we managed to get to this spot on our bikes anyway?
There will be an email to Highways . . .
In response to our watered-down request for the canal towpath to be swept, we received the following reply:
Thank you for your reply email regarding the towpath surface on the Lancaster Canal. I have forwarded your feedback to our Enterprise team and also the local supervisor and engineering.
With regard to your second note about brushing the towpaths of the composted leaf muck, we wouldn’t usually clear leaves off our towpaths. Through the Autumn and Winter whilst the leaves are falling it would be impossible to keep the towpaths clear of leaves and we simply don’t have funds or staff for this. But I will forward your suggestion to our volunteer co-ordinator.
We do rely very heavily on help from volunteers and if you or are aware of anyone who would like to join our volunteer working parties and help care for this lovely area please let me know and will be happy to pass the contact details to our volunteer team. In the meantime, if you are interested in learning more about our volunteer works, please follow this link: http://canalrivertrust.org.uk/volunteering.
Thank you for contacting Canal & River Trust and giving your feedback, if you need anything further please do not hesitate to contact us again.
Deeply depressing, although we do acknowledge that all organisations are short of money. The implication is that essential maintenance work won’t get done unless volunteer groups do it. Look out for future calls for Dynamo volunteers . . .
Another consideration is that developers – who don’t want to pay a penny more than they have to – cite the canal towpath as a sustainable route to shops and work (e.g. the application for 125 houses on Ashton Road). Well, only if you have a mountain bike or really stout shoes, perhaps! New developments may be one way of trying to get funding for infrastructure, but that doesn’t extend to maintenance.
According to Rochdale Online, police officers will be “going undercover” as cyclists to educate motorists who pass them dangerously close.
Combined with Cycling UK’s latest campaign, “Too Close for Comfort“, could it be that the minority of motorists who put cyclists in fear of their lives may be on the first step of a learning curve?
A local Sustrans volunteer, County Councillor Gina Dowding and Dynamo have all been in touch with the county council about the state of the path. Not surprisingly, the councillor got the quickest response. We have seen a reassurance from the Countryside Service Manager that the contractors will do all the necessary remediation work.
The County Council has put a lot more red paint on the road outside the BP garage (heading south to the Boot and Shoe crossroads). Hopefully this is reducing the number of cyclist casualties at this nasty spot. (See previous item here.)