The new Bridge Road cycle path in Welwyn Garden City (WGC) is open to use. This is a significant improvement for people who cycle as for the first time there is an off road cycle path to the town centre shops and rail station. A video of the new route has been added to this post, see below. The new cycle path has been funded by the UK Government Active Travel fund along with a number of other projects accross the county. The photo below shows the new cycle path at the pedestrian crossing to Waitrose.
At its east end, the new cycle path connects with the older north-south off road cycle path along Broadwater Road and Bessemer Road. It is therefore possible for the first time ever to cycle entirely off road from town centre WGC to the following places:
- Hertford Football Club via Mundells and the Cole Green Way (6.3 miles off road!)
- Ridgeway Academy
- Digswell Viaduct (not yet to Monks Walk school or Welwyn, sadly)
- Hatfield rail station and town centre via Mill Green
- Stanborough Park and Stanborough High School.
Later this year, the cycle route will be extended through the centre of WGC along Stonehills and Fretherne Road. These streets will be made one way southbound, with a northbound contraflow cycle lane. Along with a number of pedestrian crossing humps, these works will slow traffic down in the town centre, making for safer walking and cycling.
Hertfordshire Highways deserve our praise for getting this new cycle path created. Expect publicity to encourage use very soon and then we can check back in six months to see what the effect is on encouraging people to cycle into town. Cycle routes work because they give people confidence to cycle, especially families with children.
However, the there is still much that needs to be done to connect up more of WGC for cycling, the subject of the new Local Cycling and Walking Infrastructure Plan we previously reported on. In particular, there is no safe cycle path around The Campus to Welwyn Hatfield Borough Council offices, Oaklands College, Campus West cinema and library and the Ayot Greenway. This is a distance of just 0.4 miles from the new cycle path to Campus West. This matters as The Campus gyratory is a hostile place for cycling and so a major barrier to safe cycling across town. WelHatCycling has recently objected to the Campus East development of 313 flats on the council car park behind Waitrose. We believe this housing development should fund this 0.4 mile safe cycle path because UK Government rules (LTN 1/20 paragraph 14.3.12 to be specific) say they should or planning permission should be refused. There is plenty of space to build a safe cycle route around the edge of The Campus, as you can see in this photo:
This is what the cycle path looks like from a user’s point of view, including the new crossing at the end of Stonehills:
Do please let us have your thoughts on all of this in the comments below.