Open! New cycle path to Welwyn Garden City town centre

By | 21st January 2023

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.

Waitrose crossing showing cycle traffic lights

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.
Two way cycle path on bridge road showing cycle markings and kerb to separate the path from the roadway
Bridge Rd cycle path looking east towards Broadwater Road

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.

Toucan pedestrican and cycling crossing at Osborn Way
Osborn Way pedestrian and cycle crossing into town centre at Stonehills

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:

The Campus: an off road cycle path is needed here as the road is too dangerous for cycling

This is what the cycle path looks like from a user’s point of view, including the new crossing at the end of Stonehills:

Video of the new cycle route

Do please let us have your thoughts on all of this in the comments below.

Category: Cycle routes Wewlyn Garden City Tags:

About Adam Edwards

Adam Edwards is the current chair of WelHatCycling. As a parent of two what matters most to him is utility cycling: getting to school, work, the shops, etc. He is particularly keen on group rides which involve cake. With his youngest child, he's ridden all the way from Hatfield to Edinburgh on a tandem.

3 thoughts on “Open! New cycle path to Welwyn Garden City town centre

  1. Dominic Cox

    What is it like cycling on this route at night? The section where the traffic is on your left travelling in the opposite direction leads to the cars’ headlights dazzling cyclists because headlights are designed to illuminate the nearside kerb. It seems dangerous to me.
    It would be helpful if the section in the video where you cycle across the pavement amongst pedestrians, was clearly marked as a shared path and with different coloured paving stones. Or were you cycling illegally there?

    Reply
  2. Adam Edwards

    I’ve not tried the route at night, but I have used 2 way cycle paths in London at night and they work fine. For example, the cycle path along Embankment.

    The sections of pavement ridden in the video are shared use, so being cycled legally. WelHatCycling have been involved in the planning process by Hertfordshire County Council, so we are fully aware of what is and it not the legal route.

    The Stonehills shared use paving connects with a further cycle path to be built over the next 6 months along Howardsgate and Fretherne Road to link up with Longcroft Lane and the cycle route to Stanborough and beyond. This cycle path will be one way northbound, with people on cycles using the one way road in the other direction.

    Reply
  3. Dominic Cox

    Thanks Adam for the reassurance about the use at night.

    I really think the shared use section should be clearly marked and with proper signage. It is important for both cyclists and pedestrians to know where cycling on a pavement is allowed.

    Reply

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