Update on Wenden Road: September 2015

cycleThe new cycle/pedestrian route along Wenden Road has now been in place for 2 weeks, plenty of time to bed-in and get people talking. Access Walden has been listening to the many comments on social media, in the local papers, on the street and even in the pub.  There has been some initial confusion over the signage and rights of way and we have heard comments about the lack of pedestrian facilities. There has also been much concern about many motorists contravening the one-way system.

We have learned from ECC that the scheme is still subject to a stage 4 safety audit which will give consideration to certain items including the lack of segregated footway.  David Sprunt (Principal Transport Strategy & Engagement Officer) and Chris Stevenson (Head of Commissioning Connected Essex Integrated Transport) walked the route and have taken away a number of short and long term items, but these have not been detailed and will await completion of works which also includes the link over the B1383 along Station Road to the station (giving consideration to the protected verge) and also some additional works to link the cycleway to the footpath outside the school which will take place in the October half term holiday.

We share the concern regarding the many motorists ignoring the one-way system and we have spoken with the Police and ECC about this. We are hoping that this will stop, however if you witness further contraventions it is recommended you report this to ECC highways, though you might also wish to report this to the local Police via 101.

IMG_0850Though the scheme is not ideal and lacks many of the recommendations passed onto ECC by Access Walden, we feel that it offers a much safer route to and from the station, a feeling that is echoed through much positive feedback, mostly from cyclists who have ridden the route a few times. They say that after the initial confusion, they are now experiencing the benefits of a much quieter and safer ride.

Some other comments we have received this week –

A jogger to a cyclist: “I can now jog down here because they’ve made it safe at last”.

A commuter to a friend: “I have happily converted from bus to bike”

Annie, aged 10: “I cycled along Wenden Road with my Daddy on Saturday and felt very safe”

What do you think?  Please offer your comments underneath and be sure to share this post among your friends and family.

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51 Responses to Update on Wenden Road: September 2015

  1. Phil says:

    What a wasted opportunity. Given, there is less traffic on the road but most of the bends are still two way traffic and there is little in the way of a safe area for pedestrians or cyclists.
    Cars seem to travel faster towards the town presumably on the basis they are less likely to meet oncoming traffic.
    I don’t see how the changes are good enough.

  2. Lennart Ekner says:

    I think it is a joke when it comes to be a safe road for pedestrians.

    Kind Regards
    Lennart Ekner

  3. Tom Cobbold says:

    WELL DONE and THANK YOU to all who gave their time to this worthy upgrade. This is just the start, right, let’s still strive for kerbs, and if necessary rising bollards, cameras or whatever to stop the cheating cars. And let’s elevate our sights to something utterly fantastical – a PFI funded driverless monorail from the station to Saffron Hall concourse stop 1, (market square stop 2 anyone?), “on-grid” with Network Rail, augmenting the price of any Audley End ticket to fund it. Let’s right the wrongs of the Beeching cuts and in the same moment destroy the need for all that NCP space, and create the stimulus for those car park darlings to diversify [invest in the monorail], and to sell the unused car park for a residential / office hub. Shame planners awarded NCP the additional spaces a few years ago, even if you can see the demand was there. Obviate it. Prevention not cure. Everything is possible in Saffron Walden, with the neighbourly love of Wenden parish council thrown in. Everything is possible in Britain – whatever your views, isn’t it great that Jeremy Corbyn got a landslide ? Of course it is – now we have a genuine left and right again, and I think we’re all better off for it, Mr Blair. I hope Corbyn nationalises NCP. Clue is in the name. Coming back down to earth, personally I dont see the point of fretting about the path to the Fighting Cocks, every normal cyclist does as a car would – turns left onto the B1383, then immediately sits on the chevrons readying to turn right, or at least I think that’s normal. Some people think going in the Cocks for a swifty is normal, and I imagine they’re quite right too. Let the Lesser Calamint flourish, and send some to Lady Bull of Arkesden, who hates the cycle path, and I feel has a point that it runs in the wrong direction for the sake of the morning motoring rush. Me, I wanted a kerb, one way road, the other side given over 50:50 cyclists and pedestrians, and an automatic barrier at either end which let cars in one-way in the AM, one-way in the PM, with a digital ENTRY or NO ENTRY sign on the barrier when it’s down (i.e. when it’s not busy raised letting cars out). BUT BRAVO BICYCLING BRITAIN for the bold step so far taken, and STAND DOWN the naysayers, get on your bike and smell the air. Seems only Cambridge manages a non-ham fisted cycle strategy to date, in this country. London has no easy answers, other than arresting itself and its diesel fumes and building skyscrapers and tunnels up north and diverting everyone there instead (fab idea, nightmare to deliver, but no to HS2, no thank you), and let’s have more boat loads of Chinese landfill delivered into ports other than Felixstowe shall we. Oops – just realised I am a 2 diesel car household. RANT MUST END but one last thing WHY free parking in town ? Why not quality of air over and above quantity of banks and charity shops ? LET’S MOVE ON. But … BRITAIN CAN DO BETTER than Subway and Domino and all that other DROSS Uncle Sam dreams up to kill us with.

  4. Diana Hoy says:

    The changes have not addressed the fact that my son used to get off the train and WALK back into town – in daylight and in the dark!!
    There has been no change in the demarkation of footpath or safety concerns for pedestrians!!

    • accesswalden says:

      Hi Diana, thanks for your comments, we share your concern and in fact a member of Access Walden walked back into town, along the path, one night and also reported that the lack of segregated footway made him feel vulnerable. He passed this comment onto ECC, they responded that “Normally a facility for cycles is open to pedestrians to use and cyclists are expected to give way” – however, they have made a note to give consideration to pedestrian segregation. It was not included on the original plan (published here http://tinyurl.com/qjsjpsr) and they have commented that this would be difficult to achieve, we presume because of space. Hopefully we can update you on this issue once they have completed their stage 4 safety audit after October half term.

  5. david aronsohn says:

    As a regular cycling commuter, driver and occasional walker i would like to feed back on the changes. As a cyclist there are several problems. In the small section which is a cycling route , coming down from the school if a car coming up over takes a cyclist then the car will go in to the cycle lane and meet a cyclist travelling down the steepest and fastest part of the route (as was my experience). From then on the cyclist meets a series of end of cycling route markers and cars that can travel up to sixty miles an hour as there are no speed restrictions. As a driver I have no objection to the road being one way and the two way concession for two thirds of the route presumably for the abbey farm and airfield entrances nullifies the whole plan, making a mini innefectual cycle route and a staggered slalem driving route. As for walking it is not a walkers route as the wooded and most dangerous section in the dark still has no path. How much did the council spend on initial research and investigations? A one way 20 mile per hour driving route and combined seperate walking route are the clear solution and it is a shame that the previous administration have squandered resources so that the current administration have produced a route that could not satisfy walkers, cyclists or pedestrians.

  6. Paul Gadd says:

    I’ve cycled it a number of times now and also walked the route last week from Saffron Walden to the station, and my immediate sense is that the route is an awful lot better than it was, just because the one-way section has effectively removed half the traffic on the road, so if you walk on the left hand side (coming from town) there are no cars passing close by you, as there used to be. Just getting rid of that line of traffic must make the route much safer – and more attractive – for cycling and walking, even if it’s not as good as it ought to be.

    Having said that, it feels very strange walking down the road without any segregation. A separate pavement would obviously be ideal, but even a demarcated white line along the left hand lane would make the route better psychologically.

  7. simon mcinnees says:

    Yes, This scheme has made it slightly safer than before for cyclists.
    However, it does have a lot of flaws and it introduces several areas of risk for cyclists and walkers. I ride this 8 times a week during peak commuting hours and i feel at risk every time i cycle back to Saffron Walden from the train station.
    1. Its not a safe segregated cycle path. Cars travelling uphill HAVE to use the cycle path section to overtake cyclist going up the hill. This could be fatal for any cyclist going downhill caught unawares.
    2. The rest of the route has no cycle path and no foot path. It completely fails to protect pedestrians. It also fails to provide a safe environment for weekend cycling with children. A proper segregated path would do this.
    3. Cars can travel faster now that they are not expecting traffic in the other direction. Combine this with the strange give way narrowings and you have the potential for cars to end up cutting in to where cyclists and walkers are.
    The give way signs/chicane between St Marks college and the airfield turning is particualarly dangerous as it is unsighted for a car travelling from Audley End. I have had one near miss there already.
    If we have to have these – please put them all on the AUD->Saffron Walden carriageway.

    Please consider taking this scheme further and actually using some of the verge to provide a proper segregated path that actually protects cyclists and walkers without frustrating driving.

    • accesswalden says:

      Thanks for your comment, Simon. All very well observed points.
      Though the general perception is that one-way traffic reduces the traffic and therefore the risk, your point regarding traffic driving faster is quite valid and wonder if you would support a 40mph limit – would that work?
      The segregated footway is an issue Access Walden pushed as part of their recommended (and well supported) scheme idea, unfortunately this was dismissed, presumably on the basis of space, however ECC have confirmed this will be considered during their stage 4 audit after the October half-term.
      We will be sure to bring your comments to the attention of ECC to enforce similar ones we have already made.

  8. David Hoy says:

    Although, as a pedestrian, I will now be fairly confident about walking to Audley End station in the light, I am very dubious about walking back frm the station with unseen traffic behind me – particularly in the dark.

    • accesswalden says:

      Hello David, thanks for your comment. I presume you are referring to walking along the left hand side where the white line still exists, what are your thoughts to crossing over and walking on the right hand side, along the cycleway?

  9. Nikki Sweeney says:

    I agree with others. I do find it a lot safer. Great not having that feeling of cars bearing down on you! On the way to the station. Like others I think I would feel vulnerable walking home. I do think it is confusing. As a result this makes it less safe.
    Perhaps you could clarify. ? Is the cycle path at the top of the hill, going in to Walden, one or two way. It seems bikes have been painted over? Making it look one way. So if a car has to come past me as I cycle back in to Walden. This them make cyclists and walkers at risk from cars passing me. But other wise the rd is a great start. Thank you all.

  10. J Willmott says:

    I do not feel it is safe, it maybe slightly safer than it was but i believed that the whole scheme was going to be two way going up the hill to swchs and one way from the farm to main road. Cars as it is now have to over take cyclists and walkers are no better off. I will not let my children cycle to school as it is not safe.
    if a cyclist is coming down from swchs and a car and cyclist are going up the hill there is not enough room for all 3. it is an accident waiting to happen. an awful lot of work and money on a half baked scheme that hasnt been thought through. A great shame

  11. Shaun Johnson says:

    I am a driver who has overtaken Simon a few times on his way home and he says he feels unsafe, and whilst it may seem strange it has made me feel unsure and unsafe when overtaking cyclists as there are islands which squeeze the cars into cyclists and I’m never quite sure whether they are looking or not.

    I would certainly not feel any safer walking the route than before because sight lines are so poor it only takes one lorry from the farm to wipe a person out.

  12. Ed Rowe says:

    Thought I would walk the new cycle/pedestrian route from Audley end station to County high school as a try out this morning (Saturday 12th). Had high expectations of a safe dedicated path way separated from traffic by kerbing. Reality was very disappointing, the road is much as it was apart from a couple of bollard’s for cars to swerve around, a bit of white painting on road, and a semi one way system. Apart from a section from school down to farm turning there is no marked path to follow, nothing to indicate safest part of road to be on. I think this is probably because there are no safe areas. This route is poorly thought out,unfit for purpose and in fact downright dangerous. Another large chunk of tax payers money wasted! May I suggest more of you walk this route and send in your opinions.

    • accesswalden says:

      Hi Ed, thanks for your comment. Do you not think the reduction in traffic has in fact made it safer for pedestrians and cyclists? You have a valid point regarding pedestrian segregation, this is something Access Walden pushed for but seems to have been omitted from ECC’s scheme, however, as you see from the article above, this is something they will be considering during their stage 4 safety audit in October half-term. Please note though, this scheme is being paid for out of S106 monies, not out of the highways budget, hopefully this makes you feel better about the scheme and will see that it is a good start that needs constructive feedback for improvements.

  13. Tony Pullen says:

    I drove along the road from Wenden to Saffron Walden a week ago, I found the entire drive very confusing, with various dangerous pinch points, I had assumed it was now a oneway route for cars but was taken by surprise as a Taxi rounded a bend coming towards me on his way to the station. I felt it was dangerous for me as a car driver and it must feel even more so for cyclists. I had expected to see a completely separate cycle lane, that seems to me to be the correct solution to making the road safe for cars and bikes. A one way system makes sense, but I would have thought it more sensible for it to be oneway going towards Wenden.

  14. Simon says:

    I’ve been very supportive of the project but have been disappointed with the implementation. I’ve driven along the route once but haven’t attempted to cycle or walk it yet; I may alter my view once I’ve cycled it.

    The no entry signs at the London Road end are difficult to see from some angles.

    My initial impression was that it’s far more dangerous than it used to be; the various signs and islands are so confusing that neither motorists nor cyclists seem to know how to use the route, and it seemed to result in some odd veering and sudden stopping.

    That said it’s probably now safer simply because it’s so confusing that motorists no longer use it at all.

  15. Jacquie Meredith says:

    Are pedestrians supposed to walk in the cycle lane? Why put the islands there at all? They just make the road even narrower for pedestrians, cyclists and cars. I feel that this should have been thought out before work began.

    • accesswalden says:

      Hi Jacquie, it is our understanding from ECC that a cycle-way is indeed also for pedestrians. The islands are supposed to deal with the two way traffic around the cycle path, however on both counts we agree that the scheme in its present state proves confusing to pedestrians and motorists.

  16. Rebecca del Tuo says:

    It is great as a cyclist, and I feel much safer now. But I just saw a car driving down past the no entry sign. Can there be no right-turn and no left-turn signs on the road as these would be much more visible to drivers.

    • accesswalden says:

      Hi Rebecca, thanks for the positive comment. With regards to the one-way system, there are already no turning signs on Audley Road, but unfortunately these are being contravened, in some cases on purpose. All these need to be reported to the Police on 101 and with ECC Traffic Enforcement.

  17. Samantha Pearmain says:

    Enraged does not come close to my feelings about this cycle route one way system another exit route for full time working mothers denied us for the sake of a handful of cyclists. 7 years I have utilised this road to leave the area after the school run to go to work. Now this route removed as an option.
    So this week I am on holiday and decided to observe how many cyclists utilised this route, the figures were shocking shame on you all. Hundreds of cars did use this route each day. Not a single child on a bike? one hour and the grand total of cyclists was One. Shame on the council. An article by T.Rumble from Sewards End in the local walden local was spot on this week.

    • accesswalden says:

      Samantha, thank you for your comment. You do have the option of going through Audley End if you are driving. I am not entirely sure when you undertook your survey but it contradicts the figures gathered by Access Walden and ECC. There are in fact over one hundred cycle journeys made along Wenden Road each day and hopefully now that it is safer it will tap into a latent demand for healthier and economical travel. It’d be great to see you and your child cycling to school and onto work soon.

    • Tom Cobbold says:

      Let’s get ready T’ Rumble ! Samantha I empathise with your tight schedule but you know the other two routes are really only costing you about 120 seconds extra. Where do you go to work by the way and how do you get there ? The Wenden Road thing is all about trying to create a clean and safe amenity for us all, in a town increasingly bedevilled by pollution and law breaking speedsters. We all need cars, but as VW has recently reminded us, the air they create kills us softly, whilst we need no reminder that banging into them kills us less softly. The primacy of car drivers is ripe for attack, period, until we are all in electric vehicles controlled by computers. in a few decades time. Meantime, I think our mindset around motoring today is not altogether unlike how we viewed cigarettes in the first half of the twentieth century. It’s time for progress. Never easy, but generations will look back one day in disbelief that we had such a dangerous liberty. Unfortunately, a minority of us can do nothing but abuse the privilege; driving too fast, having no courtesy, sometimes losing all humanity, not switching off engines even when parked in pedestrian areas (I see this all the time, people sat texting, waiting for someone to come back from a shop or something, engine running, children breathing the air adjacent to the exhaust in narrow streets), not letting pedestrians cross even with prams and children waiting in narrow medieval streets, even in the rain, even when people are standing there on crutches (yes I saw this happen two weeks ago, in a DELUGE, cars hammering past a man waiting to cross Castle Street on crutches). THIS IS WHY CAR DRIVERS NEED HELP TO HELP OTHERS, in addition to the fact that car drivers kill and maim other road users every day. Often because they are in a hurry on roads they think are familiar to them. Please have a safe journey. I probably sound like a ROSPA intern. I’m just someone who is disgusted by car drivers in general, and I’m most especially sensitive about that when children are nearby, rather than neighbours getting drenched whilst on crutches, though they matter too !

  18. Samantha.Pearmain says:

    Enraged about this one way system for a handful of cyclists I cannot believe that the hundreds of cars that utilised this route to exit the area on there way to work and who pay car tax whereas the cyclist does not have had another exit route removed. I did my own survey this week to try to assure myself that my poll tax money was well spent to renovate this road for cyclists, one hour during rush hour equated to one cyclist can you believe this one cyclist. Shame on the council. Disgraceful at the expense of the car driver again.

    • accesswalden says:

      Samantha, the safer cycle/pedestrian scheme that ECC has implemented is being paid for through S106 monies, not through the Highways budget. Hopefully this will make you feel better about the scheme.

  19. S Hunt says:

    I have to say as a user of public transport, I am very unhappy about cyclists being seemingly put before those who get the bus to the station, which has never been entirely reliable but has now been made even worse by the one way system that has been put in place along Wenden Road. Two bus stops are now out of use. On top of that, all school buses now need to turn right when leaving SWCHS which has added to the already heavy traffic before and after school. I have experienced cars using the one way road as a race track, weaving in and out at various points, making it dangerous to walk or cycle the route. There is no protection for those not on the road, as there is no kerb or segregation between the cars and cyclists/pedestrians. I cannot actually see how these so-called improvements have improved anything at all!

  20. Holly says:

    I definitely think that the bike lane to the station is a good idea, but the current path really doesn’t work at all. The new bike lane doesn’t stretch the whole way to the station and is only one way, so there isn’t actually a cycle path from Audley End to Saffron Walden. The result is that cyclists going towards Walden are still having a dangerous cycle with cars coming up behind them – bad for cyclists who aren’t always left enough space and bad for the cars who are still being delayed. I think it would have been much better to make the road one way for cars the whole way, not just for the start, and then the other lane of the road could have been used to make a two way cycle path. Also, the road is definitely not fit for pedestrian use! At the moment it feels like cars (and the bus service) are being disadvantaged for absolutely no gain for pedestrians and little gain for cyclists as they only have a safer journey in one direction.

  21. Caroline says:

    As a regular car driver to Audley End who has a lot of sympathy with cyclists wanting to be safe, sadly I do not think we are quite there with current arrangements. First, just to make current arrangements safer, we need more signs to warn of change – I have been behind a number of vehicles trying to turn left into the road that used to be the way to go towards the station. One coach got in a real pickle, eventually realising they had to keep going straight on, to then get stuck at the weight restricted bridge – a dangerous three point turn was then executed. Solution – a separate cycle/footpath all the way from town to station would have been worth the cost as it would have provided a long term solution. To not have a safe footpath let alone cycle path between town and station is mad! So I support the basic idea of cycle path and sympathise with those who have come up with current solution as I can see what they are trying to do but I would prefer money to be found for better solution.

    • accesswalden says:

      Hi Caroline, thanks for this brilliant comment. If you have been supporting the campaign over the years, you’d have been aware that an off-road solution just was not viable – it would have involved complicated and lengthy land acquisition negotiations and lots more money which is just not available for Uttlesford. Besides, there are perfectly good on-road solutions, we feel the scheme that ECC have implemented needs refining.

  22. Jacqueline says:

    I am very disappointed. All that money wasted on turning the road into a shambles!! I thought that a proper cycle path would have been carved out along the whole route . This allowing both cyclists and cars to use it safely . Now we have a road that causes people driving back from the station to swerve around bollards , brake suddenly and it still appears un safe for both cyclists and pedestrians. Why wasn’t this given more thought before money was spent. I feel it should still be used by commuters who use all forms of transport . Cars , buses , bikes and feet !

    • accesswalden says:

      Thanks for your comment Jacqueline. Obviously Wenden Road needed something doing to make walking and cycling safer, so this is a good start. No cost has been released from ECC, but it does not appear to be much compared to say, a set of traffic lights or a roundabout. Remember, Access Walden proposed a route very much as you suggest, a compromise for all users and ECC have tried to do this but it seems it needs some refining.

  23. richard dear says:

    Review of the route after cycling up this evening is that the lane is OK but signage is useless. I assume it is 2 way due to the blue sign at the bottom but on the lane all cycles suggesting I can cycle up it are greyed out. If it is not 2 way and I should have cycled up left then it is dangerous as cars would overtake me by entering the cycle lane. Signage on road and by the side needs sorting. Also the speed of road should be reviewed. May have missed sign but national speed limit is too quick for the amount of road furniture there is now especially as the layout seems to be confusing all. I have not cycled up this way as found this road too dangerous and instead went to Newport and cycled long way home. May consider this route now though as is so much quicker and feel I am not putting my life on line. I wear fluorescent top have lights and helmet but know that a single misjudgement by a car and non if these will help. Any car driver that thinks this lane was not necessary should try cycling the other routes without and see how they like how close many drivers think it is OKto pass a cyclist by.

  24. Paul says:

    I cycle daily from Saffron Walden to Audley End station. Sadly, I feel the new layout of Wenden Road is more dangerous for cyclists than before due to the bollards which are, quite frankly, unnecessary and force cars into the path of oncoming traffic, particularly bikes. I can see no benefit to these bollards. Further, there appears to have been no development to benefit pedestrians, with no segregated path. The turning into Wenden Road by SWCHS is awkward and itself dangerous due to the tight turn. Finally, what went on with all the misplaced markings on the road, which have been painted over in black, creating an additional hazard for cyclists in the rain? I feel the entire outcome could have been achieved just as easily by placing ‘No Entry’ signs at the top of the road, by SWCHS, with no other changes required at all; this would have cost a fraction of the actual spend. Whoever designed the new layout, and felt it was safe, clearly has never been a regular cyclist or pedestrian along such a route.

  25. Barbara says:

    I too was disappointed, as I’d expected half the roadway to have been made into a physically segregated pedestrian/cycle lane. I occasionally walk to or from the station, but more often use the bus service, and sometimes drive. So share concerns about the lack of safety for pedestrians and delays to the already poor bus service.
    But at least it’s a step in the right direction, and thank you Access Walden activists for getting this far.

  26. Tina McLean says:

    I travel from Arkesden into Saffron Walden and back regularly and am also a cyclist. I am quite honestly staggered at just how bad the new road layout is. It serves neither vehicles, cyclists or pedestrians better than the previous layout. The bollards are unnecessary, confusing and dangerous. The cycle lane is intermittent and switches from one side of the road to the other. It is not wide enough to take cyclists in both directions and is badly signed. I have driven on the road and had cyclists on either side of me both heading in the same direction! I am also very concerned that the journey back from Saffron Walden now requires us to take the beautiful little bridge at Audley End house which surely was not intended for this additional traffic. Overall a shambolic, badly thought out change that should never have seen the light of day.

    • accesswalden says:

      Thanks for your comment Tina. There are two alternative routes back to Arkesden, Audley End, or Newport Road, with the latter being quicker. Audley End bridge copes very well with extremes of traffic during Audley End house events, such as concerts, so this is not an issue. You have echoed the issues of others on the dual cycle traffic. The cycle path is supposed to be two way for cyclists but it does appear to be too narrow for this. Ultimately though, do you not think that the huge cut in motor traffic makes it safer for cyclists and pedestrians?

  27. Graham says:

    As a regular cyclist and walker, and occasional station user, I supported this scheme when it was proposed, but I have to add my voice to the chorus of disappointment and dismay over what has been provided. Be interesting to learn how much this shambles cost. So I’ve walked the route and found no footpath for much of it, no change there. I’ve cycled it several times in both directions. It’s awkward at the top, dangerous at the opposing bollards, badly marked, and the much-vaunted segregation simply doesn’t exist. It’s absolute rubbish. Away from the station, coming up into Walden the cycle ‘lane’ isn’t usable (even if that was intended) so cars coming up the hill still overtake cyclists by swerving into the opposing cycle lane.

    On the positive side, there is certainly less vehicle traffic away form Walden, so that’s a result, but as another write has suggested this could have been achieved for teh cost of a ‘No Entry’ sign at the top.

    Summary: Poor effort.

  28. Andrew says:

    Although I have great sympathy for the cyclists’ cause and initially supported a cycle path in principle, since the “4 options” town hall presentation, my view has been that either there is a fully segregated cycle/pedestrian path or no change at all, and having witnessed the new layout in action over the last few weeks, my view has only strengthened. I simply do not understand the new layout, the purpose of the bollards, the piecemeal markings, whether the small piece of cycle lane is one way or two, and generally how any of the road user groups are better off….to be honest its an embarrassment. On a couple of occasions already I’ve witnessed cyclists going up the left hand side of the hill up to Audley End Rd being overtaken by cars giving generous space but who have crossed over the solid white line into the cycle path of bikes potentially coming downhill at speed the other way. Was it the intention to still have cyclists on either side of the road with cars overtaking in the middle? And as for the bollards sitting in the middle of the straight stretch towards the station end, what’s the objective of those, just to reduce speed? Are there no better ways to achieve this other than suddenly forcing traffic into the direction of any oncoming cyclists? Surely the primary goal would have been to segregate those two forms of road users as much as possible. Trying to be constructive with improvement suggestions is difficult because I can’t understand what the design is trying to achieve. Unless there’s a full length segregated 2-way cycle/pedestrian path, I’d have to reluctantly support writing off the cost incurred and reinstating it to the way it was and go back to the drawing board because I don’t think the price being paid of sending outbound traffic over the Audley End bridge is worth whatever cyclists think they have got out of it currently. I can’t imagine that what we’ve got is anything like what was being asked for.

  29. accesswalden says:

    Thank you all very much for your feedback, we have received a lot of constructive comments which we can pass to ECC for consideration. It is positive to see that there are some common issues, some of which ECC have already mentioned will be considered during their stage 4 safety audit in October half-term, others, we hope will be given consideration as we feel there is definitely a need for some improvement.

  30. Angharad says:

    Hello – I am a supporter of provision for cyclists, but consider that the current road layout is not working well and is having unfortunate impacts on other parts of the community. I used the Copperfields bus stop: this ease of access to the station was a major factor in moving to our house, as I do not have a driving licence. This bus stop has now been taken out of service in effect for the route to the station. Although it would appear that there was meant to be a replacement bus stop established at the bottom of Newport Road, this has not been put into place. As a result, my access to buses (and those of others I know) has been radically cut down. We are advised that half of our buses now go from up near the Water Tower – which is a major change, and extremely inconvenient (especially if travelling with a baby in a buggy).

    The end result is fewer people from this area are using public transport. Both I, and others I know, have increased reliance on cars through lifts and taxis. This is the reverse effect of what should have been achieved.

    Further, the road layout is unsafe. Coming up the road in a car recently, we were confronted by a lorry coming the wrong way down the one way section!

    I have also tried walking the route a few times, and felt even more unsafe than before as it was more difficult to know which side of the road cars would be on, due to the chicane.

    • accesswalden says:

      Thank you for your comment. The bus operators responsible for rerouting the bus are your first port of call, they would have been informed of the change as part of the consultation process back in June. As you will already have read on our website, The contravening of the one-way system has already been raised with ECC and the Police. You will also have read that the pedestrian issue is being looked at by ECC during their stage 4 safety audit during October half-term.

      • Angharad says:

        Thank you for your speedy response. I think it would be great if Access Walden were also involved in lobbying bus providers to keep up previous levels of public transport provision. They may have been poor to start with, but are now obviously even worse. The cycling community ethos should definitely be on the same side as those members of the community who have to, or chose to, use bus transport : given the more environmental nature of public transport. Solidarity between cyclists and the bus-users would be beneficial, and help promote good community feeling etc – and might help achieve some results… Thanks for raising the other issues as well.

        • accesswalden says:

          Angharad, the bus operators have been involved in consultations for a couple of years and would have been given plenty of notice by ECC on route changes. We sympathise with your predicament, it must be frustrating having to walk further to a bus stop, however the responsibility lies with the bus operator. Is this the route to which you are referring? https://www.abelliogreateranglia.co.uk/f/109/109.pdf – have you contacted the operators and got an official statement from them? If you can acquire one, we can pass this onto ECC on your behalf to see what they say. Thanks.

  31. Silvano says:

    Hello, as an amateur cyclist, I am absolutely in favour of cycle-paths. This weekend though I tried both driving my car first and my bike later along Welden Road. To me it seems for both cars and bicycles a very dangerous solution. The cycle-path just abruptly finishes a few yards after its starting point; it should go all the way down to London Road. A one way road becomes immediately a two-lane road with dangerous lane width restrictions. There is plenty of land on the road edges, so why not trying to follow the safer cycling layout examples in The Netherlands, Germany and Austria? Even more dangerous that road has no public illumination at night. I see plenty of good will in this initiative but very poor design and implementation.

  32. Bemused says:

    Hello – I’m broadly in support of the intention, but this scheme is just a shambles. I’m a chartered civil engineer specialising highway design and have spent 20 years designing schemes like this.

    This just provides the worst of all options to most amount of user groups. I strongly advise everyone to get involved, especially at the Stage 4 Road Safety Audit. The measures as they stand are very unlikely to encourage new cyclists – the gradients, surface conditions and proximity to vehicles are the main issues affecting take up by new cyclists.

    As for the segregated track along London Road – this might just support a tiny handful of cyclists in the AM period but will be roundly ignored in the PM – it will also increase danger to cyclists given the speed with which cars accelerate on to Wenden Road in the evening.

    Much better to provide a more integrated solution that does not overly segregate modes, focusing on the current weaknesses and barriers (London Road etc.).

    As a regular cyclist of the route I’m much more concerned about traffic back towards Walden in the evening than I am in the morning, especially with the gradient back towards town. To that end, the Council should have considered a total one-way vehicle operation towards the station with contra-flow cycling back to town.

    An alternative that retains some flexibility would be a traffic order banning traffic at key times of day. This has been successfully trialled around schools in East Lothian and is currently rolling out in London authorities. Simple camera enforcement at the key times, with registered vehicles permitted (e.g. buses, emergency services, affected residents/businesses by St Marks etc.) via a white-list means that the road space is maintained and safety improved at selected times. it also means that bus services would remain an attractive option. The costs would be similar if not cheaper than the half-hearted scheme we now have.

    Otherwise we’ll just end up with a wider gulf in cyclist and driver behaviours leading to more issues elsewhere on the network.

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