Work has started to install a new park footpath and make some other changes at the Queen’s Road junction.
The new footpath will follow one of the ‘desire lines’ which have developed in that area. Desire lines are the routes people choose to walk, rather than follow the designated paths, which over time create unsurfaced and often muddy pathways. They are usually the shortest or quickest way between two points.
The Friend’s group has not had any role in helping create or design this small project. It was only announced in December to the Victoria Park user group. However, we understand that there will be a new two metre wide tarmac surfaced footpath, with timber edges, which will run from the Queens Road lights to join the footpath which goes across the park to the war memorial. This new path will follow the desire line, the existing muddy track, which has been created over the years by people walking across the grass to cut the corner.
A new 1.2 metre (4ft) metal fence will also be installed at the edge of the cycleway on Victoria Park Road to guide pedestrians along the designated paths in that same area. At the time of writing we are not clear exactly where the fencing will be installed, nor what it will look like.
The area where the existing path meets Queen’s Road is in very poor condition. This area will also be resurfaced and the existing bollards will be replaced by new ones to give access for events when required.
This area at the Queen’s Road crossing is a complex of footpaths and cycleways which has evolved over time. Each addition has made for more complexity. The cycleway and footpath cross over and change sides at one point, and at others there are conflicts between pedestrian routes and cycle routes. Unfortunately the new footpath will do little to improve the separation of walkers and cyclists as it also crosses over one lane of the cycleway.
In the picture the new path can be seen to cut across one lane of the cycleway. However, avoiding this would have required a much larger redesign of the whole area. It should also be said that the new footpath doesn’t create a new conflict – it was already there because that was the route people chose to walk anyway rather than use the existing footpath. It may be that the new fencing will help in creating a better flow of walkers and cyclists. The cycling officer for the Council has approved this layout which will have signs giving priority to cyclists.
The paths in this area badly needed improvement so this is a welcome step for walkers. However, the design will not contribute to resolving the conflicts between cyclists and walkers which exist in this area so in that respect it won’t make things better, but probably won’t make them worse either.