South Gloucestershire Council are installing a new cycle lane which will connect Yate with the A4174 ring road, as part of their long-term ambition to encourage more active and sustainable travel in the area.
The 3.5 mile section of cycle lane will be delivered in four stages:
- Nibley Lane to Coalpit Heath
- Coalpit Heath to A4174 ring road
- Nibley Lane to Stover Road
- Coalpit Heath village.
The first stage of the project will involve replacing the unprotected cycle lanes on Badminton Road between the Nibley Lane junctions and Coalpit Heath with a new cycle track raised up between road and footway level, providing a separated and comfortably safe, direct and accessible route for cyclists on this main route between Yate and the ring road.
The Council consulted on the plans between 16 November and 4 December 2020 and work is due to start in April.
The new cycle lanes are funded by the Active Travel Fund. Cycle lane schemes implemented under the Active Travel Fund are designed to quickly provide a safe environment for new and existing cyclists to travel off footpaths, but also to create more space for people to walk in a comfortably safe environment which can also help with social distancing while the Covid-19 virus is still in circulation.
Mandatory cycle lanes were implemented on Station Road in Yate in September 2020 to enable those who have taken-up cycling during the pandemic to use them while maintaining social distancing. This local scheme was the first of a larger ambition to create an active travel corridor from the Ring Road through to Yate – and beyond.
The scheme used an experimental order, which enables residents and visitors to experience the changes while a public consultation also takes place. Feedback can then be taken into account before any decisions are made on if the changes are made permanent. During the past six months South Gloucestershire Council have welcomed feedback from cyclists, residents, businesses and local elected representatives and have made changes to the scheme as a result. These changes include improving signs for loading and public car parks, installing additional lighting, installing dropped kerbs and supporting local businesses and residents by reviewing the loading restrictions so deliveries can be made.
South Gloucestershire Council have also been working with Sustrans to improve the scheme and further updates will be made in April 2021 to install light segregation and high friction colour surfacing at junctions. In addition, options are also being considered for additional parking. The scheme will form part of the Yate Master Planning work that will shape the future of Yate by setting out a long-term vision and objectives for the town.
A further proposal looked at continuing the cycle lane eastbound on the A432 Station Road and westbound on Kennedy Way, either side of Yate town centre. The Council’s aspiration is to provide a coherent cycle lane circuit around the town centre, however following further scrutiny and consultation it was found that although the cycle lanes would provide direct connections, they would not be sufficiently comfortable, safe and coherent to attract new people to choose to cycle.
In order to fully realise their ambition and meet the need for a coherent cycle network around the centre South Gloucestershire Council will have to go much further than the original proposals consulted on in November 2020. Significant changes to road widths, footways, verges and junctions would be required and this will take longer to achieve and would not be within the scope of the Active Travel funding.
The short timescale and criteria of funding available for the scheme restricts what improvements could realistically be delivered this year so a more ambitious medium-term set of solutions will be pursued, pending any permanent solutions being explored as part of the wider Yate Master planning work.