Coalpit Heath could be sticking point for new cycle lanes to Yate and Bristol

May 04 2022
Coalpit Heath could be sticking point for new cycle lanes to Yate and Bristol

PLANS for new cycle lanes to make the main road linking the Frome Valley to Yate and Bristol more cycle-friendly could hit a snag in Coalpit Heath.

South Gloucestershire Council is looking to make a series of changes to the main A432 Badminton Road, which would get cycle tracks, junctions and crossings if the plans go ahead.

And a new "bus gate" is proposed for the Hambrook junction of Bristol Road and the Avon Ring Road to allow bus-only crossings from Frenchay towards Winterbourne – on the assumption that current temporary changes to the junction are made permanent.

The council held a consultation on the "preliminary proposals" in April, having been allocated £105 million in Government funding to support "sustainable travel" through the City Region Sustainable Transport Settlement.

The council says the proposals for the A432 Badminton Road will "build upon the Coalpit to Nibley Lane cycleway", which is currently under construction.

They include changes to the road's junctions with Park Lane and Beesmoor Road, the Kendleshire junction and the Wick Wick roundabout where it meets the A4174, including additional traffic lanes and improved facilities for cyclists and pedestrians.

There will also be improvements to bus stops all the way form the ring road to Yate.

A two-way cycle track with separate footway is planned along the eastern side of the A432 between Coalpit Heath and the Kendleshire junction.

But an online consultation meeting held in early April heard that one of the sticking points in the plans was what to do about improving cycle routes through Coalpit Heath, as Badminton Road was not wide enough to accommodate a two-way cycle track with separate footway alongside the road - the preferred option on the road between Kendleshire and Coalpit Heath - as well as the right-turn lanes needed by road traffic.

This meant the council was looking both ‘on-line’ cycle tracks, next to Badminton Road, or an ‘offline’ option, diverting cyclists away from the road through the village.

The diversion would be somewhere in the area to the east of Badminton Road marked in yellow on the map, above.

However one cyclist attending the online meeting said an 'offline' route that meant it took longer for cyclists to get from A to B would be "unfair".

Cyclists might also avoid the route and travel on the road if the route was diverted to meet the council's aim of delivering "high-quality cycling infrastructure suitable for ages 8-80".

Council transport policy manager Andy Whitehead told the meeting: "The devil will be in the detail."

He said more information would emerge when a business case is submitted to the West of England Combined Authority, which is in charge of the funding, in June, and there would be consultations on the details plans next year.

A further series of changes are planned to the A4174 Avon Ring Road from Wick Wick roundabout to UWE/Coldharbour Lane in Frenchay.

The changes would also see the speed limit for the ring road reduced from 50mph to 40mph from the Bromley Heath roundabout to Coldharbour Lane and to 30mph around the roundabout itself.

The 'bus gate' would allow buses only to cross the Hambrook junction on the B4058 Bristol Road north from Frenchay towards Winterbourne.

At present no northbound traffic can make the crossing, under the terms of an experimental traffic order introduced by the council in 2019, which also banned right turns for westbound ring road traffic.

A council spokesperson confirmed to the Voice that the new proposals for the Hambrook junction are "based on the ETO being made permanent".

At present no decision has been made on this.

The overall aim is to try to reduce bus delays and make them more accessible, and keep cyclists separated from traffic and pedestrians.

Council cabinet member for strategic infrastructure Steve Reade said: “We want to make all types of travel in South Gloucestershire more sustainable.

“We want cycling, walking and public transport to become an attractive option for those travelling to or through these areas."