Cardiff Cycling Strategy 2016-2026 – Deep Dive Part 5 – Connections & Conclusions

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…

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.

School Connected? How?
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
St Teilo’s No
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

Notes:

  • 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

Train Stations

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.

Station Connected? How?
Central Yes See below
Queen Street Yes Primary (both)
Cathays Yes Primary N/S
Llandaff Yes Proposed Ext
Radyr Yes Proposed Ext & TT
Taffs Well Yes Taff Trail
Danescourt Yes Primary E/W
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
Llanishen Yes Proposed Ext
Lisvane & Thornhill No
Coryton No
Whitchurch Yes Prop Ext & NR
Rhiwbina Yes Prop Ext
Birchgrove No
Ty Glas Yes Network Route

Notes:

  • 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.

Venue Connected? How?
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
Tramshed Yes Taff Trail
Cardiff Castle Yes Primary E/W
Castell Coch Yes Near Taff Trail
Odeon Cardiff Bay Yes Primary N/S
Cineworld Yes Network Route
Vue Yes Network Route
Chapter Yes Near Network Route
Norwegian Church Yes Near Primary N/S
Your suggestions here…

Notable Omissions

  • 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.

Conclusions

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!

 

Gavin

Bike commuter, randonneur and cat wrangler

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