The Welsh Government has announced over £5m of spending on new cycle paths – including several crucial gaps in popular routes.
The paths include the North Wales coast route, where £100,000 is to be spent building a new coastal path from Talacre to Ffynnongroyw, avoiding the current inland detour; £295,000 for the missing link in the popular and scenic route via Blaenavon in the Valleys; and £840,000 to finish the prolonged works at Pont Briwet in Snowdonia, where cyclists tackling Lon Las Cymru are currently faced with a long detour on busy roads.
The money comes from Wales’s Local Transport Fund. Transport Minister Edwina Hart said the schemes were designed to “support jobs and economic growth, reduce economic inactivity and encourage healthier and sustainable travel. There was also a requirement for their schemes to improve the quality of life particularly those living in disadvantaged communities”.
Swansea is getting £300,000 for its city cycle network, and Cardiff, Aberystwyth, Newport and Merthyr Tydfil also get funding for urban cycling improvements. Sustrans advised the Welsh Government on the selection of walking and cycling schemes.
Not all the schemes are related to cycling: many are for major road improvements or bus networks, totalling around £10m. Nonetheless, the list includes an impressive haul of cycling projects, and this is the second such announcement this spring: a further £5m was announced in April for the ‘Safe Routes in Communities’ programme. Those living in England can only look on in envy at a country where one-third of the transport budget is spent on cycling.
Full list of cycling schemes
- Cardiff: £125,000 for developing the cycle network on Penarth Road.
- Cardiff: £937,000 for junction improvements on Newport Road and City Road for improved bus journey times and walking and cycling facilities.
- Carmarthenshire: £225,000 for walking and cycling facilities.
- Ceredigion: £100,800 for the Aberystwyth active travel project.
- Denbighshire: £244,000 to improve active travel links in Rhyl.
- Denbighshire: £355,000 for the Vale of Clwyd Active Travel Route providing walking and cycling routes connecting residential areas with Denbigh town centre.
- Flintshire: £100,000 for the Dee Coastal Path (Talacre to Ffynnongroyw), completing a missing link of the National Cycle Network.
- Flintshire: £466,000 for the new Airbus to Saltney active travel route.
- Gwynedd: £950,000 for improvements, including active travel facilities, to the A493 Pontbren to Nant y Gwenlli.
- Gwynedd: £840,930 for the major Pont Briwet road/rail bridge scheme at Penryndeudraeth, providing an upgraded road bridge with walking and cycling facilities and preserving the integrity of the Cambrian Coast rail line across the Afon Dwyryd.
- Merthyr Tydfil: £665,000 for walking and cycling links in the town, including to the rail and bus stations, health park and retail park.
- Monmouthshire: £212,000 for cycle path along the Monmouthshire & Brecon Canal.
- Neath Port Talbot: £50,000 for the installation of a bridge on the Amman Valley Cycleway.
- Newport: £170,000 for the Liswerry to Corporation Road Cycleway.
- Pembrokeshire: £160,000 for improved cycle networks to Milford Haven and Goodwick stations.
- Powys: £215,000 towards improved walking and cycling facilities along the Montgomery Canal.
- Rhondda Cynon Taf: £60,000 to protect sections of the Taff Trail at Trallwn from erosion.
- Swansea: £300,000 for the Swansea urban cycle network.
- Torfaen: £462,000 for a traffic free route on A4043 Abersychan to Greenway.
- Torfaen: £295,000 for a cycle network link near Blaenavon.
- Vale of Glamorgan: £167,749 for the Porthkerry cycle network phase 2.
- Wrexham: £121,500 for a walking and cycling route at Cefn Road linking a large residential area with Wrexham Industrial Estate.
Cycling design guidance
Separately, the Welsh Government has published a design guide for cycling and walking schemes – making it the fourth such in the last month, after publications from CTC, Sustrans and Cyclenation. John Griffiths, Culture & Sport Minister, said it was “developed by a consortium of experts in their field, and reflects the latest thinking on walking and cycling infrastructure design, with a clear focus on equality and accessibility”.
Rather than plumping for one type of cycle route design, the document sets out pros and cons for each type – saying “designers are encouraged to think through their decisions rather than start from a default position of implementing any particular feature”. It points out that the only way to assess a cycling scheme is to actually ride it, and encourages engineers to do so
It does, however, strongly recommend ‘segregated’ cycle paths for commuter routes:
“In general, separate provision for cycling will tend to provide a route where people are able to maintain their desired speed. This will be important on key active travel routes which are designed to provide for utility trips and to provide a realistic alternative to the car over short distances.”
The documents are out for consultation until 4th August.