Hilltop cycle path; Ask for more cycle paths; A414 crossing; Cole Green Way resurfacing (updated); Lockdown exercise routes: Winter news from WelHatCycling

By | 9th January 2021

Hill Top Hatfield – new shops, new cycle route

Over the past few months we’ve been pushing Hertfordshire County Council over a lack of cycling provision for the new shops at Hill Top and have won a new cycle route for this development. This proves it’s always worth objecting to a project if there’s something better that could be done. Paul Zukowskj, the local County Councillor, has been very helpful in supporting us with this work.

The plans for Hill Top are very welcome with new flats and shops replacing the current shopping arcade. To the rear of the shops runs High View, a two way road which serves the rear delivery entries to the shops and gives access to the Jimmy Macs community centre. The photo shows the existing shops to the left, the first phase of the development hidden by the red and white fence and the entrance to McDonald Court (Jimmy Macs) to the right. The road will be one way towards the camera.

Herfordshire County published plans to make this road one way from Bishops Rise to Northdown Road. WelHatCycling objected to this plan as it would mean anyone cycling from the south end of Hatfield to the new shops would not be able to turn directly into High View as a present, but would have to cycle right round via Bishops Rise, a busy road, to then entre High View at the north end. For a parent taking small children to Jimmy Macs this would mean an extra ride of 1/3rd of a mile plus two right turns on to and off Bishops Rise. In short, something which would be a barrier to cycling and would discourage cycling to the shops and not in line with Hertfordshires stated policy on roads for new developments:

High View showing the junction at Jimmy Macs

“Clear, coherent and attractive routes are needed. Cycle links, both between roads within an estate layout, and to connect new roads with existing and other proposed development areas, should be included. This is particularly important where such links provide routes that are significantly shorter than by way of the estate roads. Routes should reflect the desire lines for movement through the development and ideally should be visually overlooked.”

Roads in Hertfordshire: Highway Design Guide, 3rd Edition, Section 6: Design for Access 2011, p. 20.
Open Street Map plan of the cycle path alongside High View, as described in the text below.
High View cycle path plan: Red line shows the approximate route it will take

The good news is that our objection being well founded meant the plans had to be revised and a cycle path is now being provided, as you can see on the map above. In summary the cycle path plans are this:

  • A two way off road kerb separated cycle path will run from Northdown Road to Bishops Rise along side the whole length of High View.
  • The cycle path is on the shops side of the road from Northdown Road to McDonald Court (Jimmy Macs).
  • At McDonald Court there will be a raised table at the junction (a speed bump the width of the junction) and the cycle path will cross to the other side of the road.
  • The cycle path will be built on the east side of High View from McDonald Court to Bishops Rise.
  • At Bishops Rise there is a pelican crossing to the Hazel Grove (west) side.
  • In later works (we don’t know when) separate from this project there will be a new cycle path along the west side of Bishops Rise from the University Halls of Residence to Hill Top and on to South Way.
  • The High View cycle path will connect to this route, eventually forming continuous off road cycle path from Hill Top to Hatfield town centre via Woods Ave.

WelHatCycling is very pleased to have gained another cycle route for Hatfield which, had we not objected, would never have happened. We look forward to working with Hertfordshire to ensure similar future plans include cycling from the start. If anyone would like to see the detailed PDFs of the cycle path plans, please contact us.

Lockdown exercise cycle routes

You can use your bicycle or tricycle for exercise. Box bikes and tandems are also ok if you are part of a family group. But where to cycle locally wihtout going too far?

Digswell Park Road at Welwyn Viaduct
Digswell Park Road on the WGC Centenary route

Based on our knowledge of all the lumps and bumps in our local routes we have four circuits to suggest listed below easiest to hardest.

  • The Tour de Havilland: Off road around west Hatfield taking in the Alban Way plus cycle paths in DeHavilland Village and Hatfield Garden Village. Suitable for all ages.
  • The WelHat Short Cicuit: A circular ride from either Mill Green or Stanborough Park. Off road and safe for children. There are mild hills to climb up into Hatfield and WGC from the Lea valley, but it will just make the kids sleep longer!
  • The Tour de Welwyn: A ridearound east WGC mostly off road but also some quite side streets. Suitable for children who are confident on side roads.
  • The WGC Centenary route which parallels the Centenary walking route. As this includes some on road sections, not suitable for the youngest riders

Full details and downloadable GPX files on our DIY rides page. If these routes don’t work for you, please ask us about something in your area.

Ask for more cyclepaths and safer walking routes

If you are concerned about cycling and walking provision in Welwyn Hatfield and want to encourage a solution you can do three things:

  1. Support the new temporary cycle lanes by writing to your county councillor and responding to the Hertfordshire survey. (If you are looking for the Queensway and Link Drive bollards in Hatfield you need to look for Hatfield town centre.) The more positive responses, the more likely we are to see more things done and the less likely they are to be removed.
  2. If there is problem which needs fixing now (potholes, etc) then log this with Hertfordshire with a photo of the problem.
  3. If it’s a future cycling or walking route you would like to see go to Widen my Path and either add the suggestion or vote up the suggestions you’d like to see. Hertfordshire’s planners are using this site to check and see what you want them to do so please add what you’d like to see to this very important website. The image below shows just how many things are wanted by Welwyn Hatfield residents.
Widen my Path – Welwyn Hatfield suggestions so far

A414 longabout cycle crossing

Anyone who has been on one of our rides to the Colney Heath steam railway will know that a tedious part of this ride is pushing bikes up and over the footbridge at the A414 longabout junction just north of the village. On one memorable occasion we had to help push a ride in a disabled trike over the bridge. Funnily enough, disabled riders cannot dismount any more easily that they can get out of their wheel chairs and push!

A414 Colney Heath looking south across the new traffic light controlled junction with cycling and walking route, avoiding the footbridge
A414 Colney Heath longabout new cycle crossing

So it’s great to see that there are now traffic lights at this junction and a flat crossing of the A414 which allows for cycling, as you can see in the photo. We’d like to see more work done here, not least ensuring cars which come off the junction onto Smallford Lane are made to slow down, but that was not part of the project, sadly.

Cole Green Way – improvement works January to March 2021

The Cole Green Way is the off road cycle path following the old Welwyn Garden City to Hertford railwasy. The surface is in a poor condition apart from one section which was resurfaced in 2019. All works on the the Cole Green Way in 2020 were paused to allow consideration of a petition opposing the sealed surfacing works between Hertingfordbury and Hertford. The council has now published its response to the petition and the works can go ahead in early 2021.

The works now run from March to May 2021, see new post with map showing worksites.

Cole Green station on one of the sections to be resurfaced in January

The works to be done in 2021 are as follows (updated 14.1.21 and 24.1.21):

  • Crushed concrete resurfacing with associated drainage improvements, in two sections between the A414 and East End Green and between Hertford viaduct and Hertford Town Football Club. This will start as soon as the weather clears up for around five weeks (delayed from 11.1.21 due to wet weather and now snow). There will be route closures in order to allow for safe working with diversions via the Old Coach Road Monday to Saturday. The complete route will be open on Sundays. This will complete resurfacing from the A414 to Hertfingfordbury.
  • Sealed surfacing, again with associated drainage improvements, between Hertingfordbury and Hertford viaduct, now likely to start in March 2021, given delays to the first part of this project. This section will be closed for four to six weeks while the work is carried out, and dates will be advertised when confirmed. In combination with the Old Coach Road this creates a sealed surface route from Welwyn Garden City to the Hertford viaduct.
  • The works now run from March to May 2021, see new post with map showing worksites.

Meetings

Anyone is very welcome to join our committee meetings to find out more about what we do and to help with all the tasks we have to do. As we are meeting on Zoom, please contact us for the link if you are interested.

Facebook and Twitter

WelHatCycling are on both social media and so from time to time you will see us forward or post news to one or the other.  Do please join us:

Facebook:           welhatcycling

Twitter:               @WelHatCycling

2 thoughts on “Hilltop cycle path; Ask for more cycle paths; A414 crossing; Cole Green Way resurfacing (updated); Lockdown exercise routes: Winter news from WelHatCycling

  1. Craig

    Hi, I object to the stupid bollards that have gone up on Bridge Road, WGC. What is WelHat Cycling’s view on these? The pavement is wide enough for walking and cycling – I have been using it for years and with respect for pedestrians have never had any of them complain. It’s wider than the Bessemer Road footpath which the Council changed to shared use years ago, so why not Bridge Road?
    All this has achieved, apart from an eyesore in our lovely town is traffic build-up throughout the adjacent roads and to worsen the relationship with motorists who, unlike the Council, can see that the “cycle lane” is embarrassingly under used.

    1. Adam Edwards Post author

      Thank you for your comments.

      Cycling on the footway (pavement) is illegal for anyone aged 11 or over, so, whilst you are making a personal choice to use them, Hertfordshire County could can only make the pavements usable for cycling with quite a bit of legal work and changes to the surface and road crossings. If you want to see the modern cycle route standards which apply do look at the LTN 1/20 rules which you can find here: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/cycle-infrastructure-design-ltn-120.

      Given the small (in road terms) sums of money given by the UK Government for safe cycling were actually quite limited, our assumption is the bollarding of the outer lanes was probably the more cost effective option given these routes are a temporary trial. The Covid legislations allows for this sort of temporary route to be constructed as a trial without the expense of formal planning processes and approvals which we are often involved in. The aim is that the use of the cycle lanes use should be monitored and then decisions made on how best to make them permanent, given the Shreded Wheat deveopment is funding a permanent solution at some point in the future.

      The current design standards are for an entire lane to be used as that enables the cycle lane to be used by emergency vehicles to get past any other traffic if needed. Also if you make a wider vehicle lane, car drivers may be tempted to drive two across if wide enough for two cars. At the Bessemer Road end, the widening of the junction island is a big improvement for anyone going north – south who has children in a trailer or is on a tandem as the traffic lights have no pedestrian or cycling phase. I would not like to see that removed as a regular user of the north south route.

      I don’t see the bollards as an eyesore as they are on a road which is not a location of any great merit (bollards on Parkway might be a different matter).

      The problem with the cycle route is that it ends at Waitrose when as a minimum it needs to have a connection into Stonehills and at best should run over The Campus to Campus West and connect to National Route 12 through Sherrardspark Wood. But that would involved expensive work on the junctions which is not affordable in this scheme. Indeed there is a wider issue for all of WGC in that there is no connectivity between several cycle routes. For example the route via Lyles Bridge which ends behind WHBC council offices. Although National Cycle Route 57 is signed along Howardsgate, this is a horrible place to cycle given cars parking and doors opening and requires cyclists to ride around the long roundabout on Parkway. Its far too hostile for families with children. Despite this the use of cycle parking at the station is huge for commuters (or at least it was pre-covid).

      The Shredded Wheat site redeveopment is supposed to fund a more permanent solution to Hunter’s Bridge, which we understand means the pavements being made dual use, which is easy enough over the bridge as you say, but we still need a connection to the town centre. Given the UK government aim was to get people walking and cycling, it’s essential the safe cycle routes actully go to where people need to get to and this route, by stopping short of the town centre, fails to do so, which then doesn’t encourage use. You also have to allow six months for any such route to reach maximum cycling use, as seasonal factors such as the weather will effect the numbers.

      I’m sorry you don’t like the cycle route, but it does at the very least give a legal way for cyclists to get over the railway safely where are previously there was nothing at all.

      Best wishes,

      Adam Edwards
      Chair – WelHatCycling

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