Daft cycle infra at Bellway Pannal development

8th January 2020

Daft cycle infra at Bellway Pannal
What is this for?...mystery 'cycle infra' at Bellway Pannal development

"We're on a ride to nowhere...come on inside," sang the Talking Heads. Anyone using the 12m long cycle path pictured above might get a similar feeling, but I don't suppose anyone ever has.

With most daft cycle infra, you can at least see what the intention was, but here I'm struggling.

There's a new roundabout on the A61 south of Harrogate, at the entrance to Bellway's new housing development on the old Dunlopillo site.

Bellway development, Pannal

They have made some theoretical provision for cycling, but on the face of it, the design doesn't make any sense or give a useful benefit to anyone riding a bike. The layout is something like this:

Dunlopillo roundabout layout
Dunlopillo roundabout layout (click to enlarge)

Daft cycle infra at Bellway Pannal: the mystery 12m arc of cycle path

It seems to me the 12m arc of cycle path doesn't serve a purpose. If you're coming from Harrogate, you're already cycling on the A61 (pictured below). This is looking north towards Harrogate.

A61 north towards Harrogate
A61 north towards Harrogate

It's unpleasant, and most people won't do it. But anyone who has already braved the traffic to get to the roundabout, will use the road at the roundabout. There's no point in giving them an isolated 12m arc of cycle path. You have to look after people from the start of their journeys to the end, not provide a tiny fraction of a cycle route.

12 arc of cycle path, Pannal
Another view of the amazing 12m cycle path

Ok, you can't build everything at once, but if you're going to do a little bit, it has to be part of an overall, coherent plan for a useful network, with a timetable.

Daft cycle infra at Bellway Pannal: short, isolated stretches of shared use path north and south

A61 shared use path south towards Buttersyke Bar
A61 shared use path south of the Bellway/Dunlopillo roundabout

There's about 25m of shared use path going north to Harrogate, but it stops where it turns into narrow pedestrian-only pavement. Going south, there's another shared use path, which stops when the path runs out altogether after about 25m. There's a shared use path on one side of the road that leads into the Bellway development.

Shared use pavement

Cambridge Cycling Campaign says of shared use pavements: 'Generally speaking, the Campaign believes that pavement provision should be the provision of last resort. Planners should always try to improve the general road environment first, which means making space for cyclists.'

A brand new housing development is a blank canvas, as far as the roads and paths are concerned. It's incredibly disappointing to see that the provision of last resort has been chosen.

Isolated infrastructure

These shared use paths don't go anywhere. For the time being, they are no use to anyone. If there's a grand plan, let's hear it, and give us the timetable.

I'm not arguing for less infrastructure, I'm arguing for more and better. But what's the point in providing the lowest quality of cycle infrastructure, which isn't linked to a network?

If I'm wrong about this, and there is a coherent plan, I'll be delighted. Tell me in the comments.