News Update: Feb. 2012: Conwy Cabinet have decided to allow unrestricted cycling on Llandudno promenade for a trial period of one year. See News Snippet.
CTC Lodges Formal Complaint
Below is the text of a letter sent by CTC to the Chief Executive of Conwy County Council.
For the background story click here . Also see Cycle Access to Llandudno North Shore (News Snippts).
Mr D Barker,
Chief Executive Conwy County Borough,
8th January 07
Re National Cycle Route 5 (Llandudno extension)
Conwy CBC has shelved indefinitely a decision to link Llandudno to the National Cycle Network. Concomitant with this it has rejected an option using the North Shore promenade, and Gloddaeth Avenue via Prince Edward Square.
CTC wishes to register a formal complaint against the Authority on the grounds that, irrespective of the North Shore promenade, the Authority has failed in a duty of care to recognise and address the unacceptable alternative route along the adjacent North Shore Parade, and the growing need for access along the desire line formed by the following 'trip generators' :-
(a) North Shore paddling pool, - (current terminal point of the NCR5)
(b) Prince Edward Square, - (access to and from the Great Orme and adjacent public services, hotels and guest houses)
(c) West Shore promenade - (current terminal point of the Conwy Estuary Strategic Route
There are many aspects to CTC's complaint:- For reasons of brevity reference is made only to the following
1. The failure to provide a safe route for cycling between the above trip generators will suppress rather than encourage a modal switch from motor transport to the bicycle. This runs counter to a range of important national and local government policies.
2. The Public Consultation, in seeking to identify a spinal route that promotes cycling, was flawed in both concept and construction. It failed to provide adequate guidance or information to respondents, and did not incorporate safeguards against misuse; for instance, having detailed knowledge of the routes, or even being able to cycle. The absence of an outreach mechanism to young people, also speaks for itself. Furthermore it gave the erroneous impression that by means of a poll, cyclists, irrespective of the nature and purpose of their journeys, could be dispatched in a direction not of their choosing. These shortcomings seriously contaminated public debate, and decision-making. Nevertheless, despite hostile anti-cycling opposition, there was clear support for not only cycling, but also access to the North Shore promenade.
3. Contrary to the above. Conwy Cabinet twice dismissed the findings of its own Environment Scrutiny Committee which favoured the routing of NCN 5 along the North Shore promenade. Furthermore, when it became apparent the only option Mostyn Estates was prepared to support was not viable, (and had earlier been identified thus by CTC and Sustrans), it failed to ensure that both itself and Mostyn Estates reconsidered their respective positions.
4. In the past there has been a sensitive interpretation of the ban on cycling. We now hear instances of the elderly and children cycling to school being ordered to cycle on the heavily congested road. With the reported threats of on the spot fines, this is clearly an unnecessarily oppressive policy being adopted by the Authority, and likely to offend many.
All Wales Coastal Access Plan
On the 9th June 06 Rhodri Morgan, First Minister of the Welsh Assembly Government launched the All Wales Coastal Access Plan. This calls for the cooperation of local authorities and 'key parties' in establishing new coastal routes for wheelchairs, walking and cycling, with both local residents and visitors in mind.
The trip generators identified above for the NCN5 fits perfectly into this concept. But in failing to give its blessing to this route, and continuing to explore a route which avoids the town centre entirely, the Authority is adopting a policy of social exclusion.. Instead of embracing cycling as a benign and beneficial cause for civic pride, deserving as it should, a high profile in the town, it gives the impression of trying to sweep it under the carpet like some sort of red light activity. This is contrary to a public mood moving in favour of both utility and leisure cycling.
CTC Cymru requests………
Immediate steps taken to remove at least one lane of parking from the North Shore Parade in order to create a contra-flow cycle lane.
This length of public highway, given its social milieu, falls well below an acceptable standard in terms of risk for all road users, particularly cyclists. With insufficient space for motor vehicles, let alone cyclists, only the most confident riders are likely to be found on this road. This confirms our own belief social exclusion is operating, and that many are being discouraged from accessing North Shore by bicycle.
The authority may wish consider whether it be prudent to advise its Insurers, of CTC's concern, given certain aspects of the Abergele tragedy which apparently remain unresolved.
The question of cycle access to North Shore promenade be returned to the ESC at the first opportunity in order clarify the accord which appears to have been reached in a meeting between Mostyn Estates and an officer of Conwy CBC on the 16th March 06.
Mr Caldwell, Managing Director of the former, indicated in a letter of the same date 'The Directors' strong objection to the provision of a 3 metre wide cycle track down the centre of the Promenade, designated by broken white lines…..... 'on the grounds of health and safety and loss of amenity', reminding the Authority, 'all works on the Promenade require the landlords prior consent'. The letter did not indicate the evidence upon which the fears for 'health and safety' were based, nor the definition of 'loss of amenity', and by whom. However Mr Caldwell did indicate that ME 'would be minded to approve moving seats forward and putting a dedicated cycle track between them and the promenade wave wall'.
The description of the proposal by CTC and Sustrans as a 'track down the centre of the prom', is misleading unless read in the context of their respective submissions. These are based on dispersal of promenade users, not concentrating cyclists into a 'corridor', whether structurally defined, or defined by markings on the ground. (The broken lines are a compromise to achieve progress and public acceptance)
The basis upon which the 'centre prom' was recommended, was that this provides cyclists with the widest distance from the seating and the points of entry to the prom on the one hand, and the foreshore on the other, where people are most likely to congregate. This also provides riders with a clear vision ahead, with maximum time to respond to changing circumstances. The rider is also most visible to pedestrians.
The use of broken lines is to encourage use of this centre territory, with 'shared-use' symbols inside and outside the corridor to reduce the notion of 'territory', from which flows the sometimes troublesome assertiveness of some people when they insist they have a priority of passage over others. Also it removes the ambiguity which arises from the continuous line, which often only makes sense on a drawing board. In practice a cyclist would be unlikely to ride close to a boundary if a pedestrian is close to the other side of a line. This is why sometimes cyclists use common sense to move away from a delineated route.
CTC, except in special circumstances, would favour negotiation of space, trusting the normal instinct for safety and personal comfort. This may be observed operating in more challenging environments, such as supermarket car parks where pedestrians happily mingle with cars approaching from all directions - and capable of causing far more injury than a bicycle.
Regarding the enclosed corridor favoured by Mostyn Estates, CTC had earlier studied this option in detail, and considered it impracticable on various grounds. It would unnecessarily have brought pedestrians and cyclists into conflict at crossing places, and did not take into account the wide range of cycle users, including novices of all ages and the disabled - all needing to take care. Sustrans independently came to the same conclusion.
The Corporate Safety Officer later identified the same issues, but was prevented from considering the alternative CTC /Sustrans, option due to the restriction imposed by Mostyn Estates. We cannot believe that given Mostyn Estates earlier support for cycle access in principle, it would have intended this outcome that has profound implications for public safety and cycle access to key North Shore locations.
We trust a revisiting of the recommendations of the CTC and Sustrans proposal will provide the simple remedy, with a reminder of the comment in the Corporate Safety Report that the public will continue to cycle on the promenade 'despite the best efforts of the beach patrols'.
Perhaps you would be good enough to place this matter before Council, and advise the writer of what action is proposed to bring this matter to a satisfactory conclusion as quickly as possible.
Roy Spilsbury Vice Chair, CTC Cymru
(Welsh Region of CTC, the 70,000 member cycling organisation)
Cycling should be promoted for both utilitarian and recreational purposes by local authorities, stressing its strong health, economic, and environmental advantages. - British Medical Association.
Children use the prom to cycle to school - and hospital consultants (A ride a day keeps THEM at bay. And we don't mean Colwyn Bay where you can cycle to your heart's content on the prom)