Sunday, February 2, 2014

Win one; lose one

That's how it is with bridges round our way at the moment . . . 

The new bridge over the River Soar at the Space Centre is open, and the graffiti have been cleaned off.  Must be coming up to an opening ceremony (?).  
Wolsey Island's new approach

Good  - though not exactly nice - view from there.

Bit late for hospice care, really . . 
Whereas for Belgrave Flyover, beloved of so many kids on bikes during Leicester City Skyrides (well, it's - or rather it was - the only hill on the route) is being dismantled, starting today.  The road deck was fast disappearing, and the Council's
Road deck disappearing . . .

. . .  and gone.
crowd stewards were well in evidence there this afternoon (Sunday 2nd) - though not tbh the crowds.

Friday, October 18, 2013

New R Soar bridge at Space Centre, Leicester - 2

New bridge in place 17 October 2013
updated 10 Jan 2014
updated 23 Jan 2014
New R Soar bridge near Space Centre   17.10.2013
Work is in hand to complete the supports for this bridge, which was lifted into place recently.  The approach paths will then be completed.  Work is now complete (Jan 2014), but the bridge remains closed:  available only for graffiti artists.  Bridge is now OPEN, 20 Jan 2014 - but still leads nowhere.  Let's await development on the 'Island'.
Still closed 10 Jan 2014

It looks a very standard construction - the artist's impression (see below) available at the time the idea became public was a bit less mundane.

Artist's impression from 2012
As it stands now, this is a bridge to nowhere.   The massive development site between Ross Way and Abbey Meadows on Wolsey Island (or whatever it is called this week) has been tidied a bit, but awaits any actual development.  The bridge will shortly be ready to serve as a cycle route serving this area, nonetheless.

The road called Abbey Meadows leading north from Abbey Park Road still peters out into wasteland at the eastern end of the new bridge, though it is passable on bikes/foot over Swans Nest bridge over the canal, and along the bizarre new elevated walkway leading through dereliction to an unpleasant cul-de-sac doubling as a tip, and then to Ross Way.  This stretch is frequented by drinkers and doubtful gatherings, so best avoided until the hoped-for developments clean up the place.

New bridge from Abbey Meadows 17.10.2013
I can't work out whether that walkway is unfinished, or even a permanent fixture.  It's not on the 'Abbey Meadows MasterPlan' - the new canal bridges are both to the south of it.  It looks temporary, being all wood and rather fragile, unfenced, so riding off the side could be easy, black surfaced and unlit.  Today (17 Oct) one section was broken at one point E of the canal bridge.  It's now broken at 2 points.  Just cyclable, with care.

Alternative, non-flooding route for NCN 6
This is a pity, because at least that route doesn't flood, as the present path of NCN 6 N of the Space Centre* has 3 times earlier this year, leaving a foul residue of mud and, worse, plastic waste in the grassed areas and hedges, which has only just cleared.  Perhaps, when the development starts, a diversion of NCN 6 over the new bridge could be contemplated.  It would pass N along Abbey Meadows to Swans Nest bridge, and along a re-salubriated version of the elevated walkway to Ross Way, via Mill Hill and Vicarage Lane to Belgrave House, and thence past the former church to rejoin the current route of NCN 6 at Thurcaston Road.

Well, one can dream . . .  

*10 Jan 2014:  NCN 6 under water there again.  However, the Environment Agency have started on the investigative work needed for the design basis of the flood prevention works between Abbey Park and Watermead Way.  They were working there today.

Wednesday, October 2, 2013

Milepost Reincarnation - 5 . . . . AND LAST!

A tale in several instalments, at last complete - 5

 'Tracks' in situ near King Lear Lake
courtesy Leicester County Council
Well, here is the Milepost on site and bolted down today - after a 2 1/2 year gestation.  Leicestershire County Council have installed it in Watermead Park North, where it can form another item of artwork along NCN 48.  (There is a Portrait Bench commemorating the Watermead Connect2 scheme half a mile nearer Leicester.)

Maybe that 'Green Route 1' sign can be removed now

Rear of base with security nuts

No surprises to report.  The Milepost is held down by 12mm Rawlbolts, with security nuts.  Presumably these will obviate then need for a further layer of concrete to conceal the holding-down fixtures.

Whew - level!

The arm has been properly fitted, using the witness marks described in part 2.  So the text in the centre of the arms is level, as intended.  The destination and distance text in the arms slopes of course, this being determined by the artistic design of the Milepost.

To quote David Dudgeon '. . a track for me to follow . .'
Thanks are due to James Lowe (Sustrans Area Manager), Richard Himan (Sustrans Volunteer), Renée van Baar (Sustrans Project Support Officer), and Samantha Ireson (Leicestershire County Council, Senior Access and Development Officer, Travel Choice & Access Team)

Monday, September 23, 2013

Milepost Reincarnation - 4

A tale to be told in several instalments, not yet complete - 4

Site and Foundation
Been a long Summer . . .  seems ages since the Milepost, fully painted up and wrapped, left my place for installation in Watermead Park North.  The planned site, marked by a red star below
 is on NCN 48 where it passes King Lear Lake Car Park:  OS ref 6071 1059.  Leicestershire County Council agreed to provide the foundation block, transport the Milepost to site, and install it.

Last week the concrete foundation block (for which there is a Sustrans standard available from Head Office) was constructed.

and now awaits delivery and bolting down of the milepost.

The Sustrans online mapping STILL hasn't caught up with the actual route of NCN 48 in Watermead Park North.  The on-the-ground signage provided under Connect2, and linked to 'Green Route 1' marks a more easterly route, passing the Portrait Bench at Thurmaston Lock, and traversing the eastern, not western, side of King Lear Lake.  As a result, both the Leicester Cycle Map and the newly printed Sustrans Midlands cycle map are in error.  The reason for mentioning this here is that the mapping shows NCN 48 as NOT passing the milepost site, though there is a fixed 'Green Route 1 sign' right next to the new foundation - see upper photo!

Milepost for National Forest
Leicestershire County Council hinted last week that they may be taking on the installation of the second Milepost held in store by Leicester Sustrans Volunteer Group.  Details of its siting, information to carry, new arm(s) to be cast, etc. are awaited.


Thursday, September 19, 2013

Leicester Cycle City Workshop - Wed 18 Sept 2013

Andy Salkeld kindly included discussion of my note " Re-use of the Glenfield Tunnel:  Launch of Scheme" on the agenda, so I attended the meeting.  Apart from Anna Scull, there was no other Sustrans representative, so mainly LCCG and CTC representatives and County Council present.

1     Re-use of the Glenfield Tunnel

The 'Launch of the Scheme' note summarised the aims and purposes of re-using Glenfield Tunnel.  It outlined the scope of work required, and the phases which this work would probably fall into.  I then listed the organisations who would be likely to participate in the first 'launch' phase of the re-use scheme, and drafted a list of what I see as the immediate first steps.  'Immediate', that is, if there is a will to progress the scheme from right now.

Why right now?
The urgency implied by the above seemed to me to stem from:-

In Leicester:

  • the current publicity and enthusiasm concerning the Tunnel itself, aroused by a series of local visits to the Tunnel organised by Leicestershire Industrial History Society and British Cycling.  Over 150 people took part in the former visits, with 50 more on the waiting list.  The visits will be repeated in early November.
  • Sir Peter Soulsby's mention in a TV interview outside the Tunnel, repeated in an interview published in the Leicester Mercury last week that it might be possible to re-open the Tunnel as a cycleway.  
  • The promotion by Leicester City Local Access Forum of the re-use of the Tunnel.

In Bath:

  • The completion of the Two Tunnels Greenway in April 2013, (see blog of 10 Apr 2014), bringing the prospect that the action group Two Tunnels Team who promoted the entire work of creation of the Greenway, including reopening of their two tunnels from initial concept through to first months of operation, and from whom any Leicester scheme organisers could learn so much, might close down, making their experiences much harder to learn.

The note is entirely from my viewpoint, and was therefore put out as a draft for others to comment/edit.  The aim of the note is to encourage formation of some action group in Leicester to take up the cause of re-use of the Tunnel.

Of those at the meeting, only Andy Salkeld and Mat and Anna Scull of LCCG had seen the note before the meeting, so I presented it verbally, without passing out more copies.

Views of the meeting
The consensus of the meeting was that re-use of the Tunnel may be a desirable aim, but should not be taken up with any emphasis at present.  There were fears that taking up this single and large scheme might detract from both funds and effort available for cycling schemes, to the detriment of smaller, more vital jobs.  Point was made also that cycling/pedestrian approach to two of the main employers of people west of the City - Glenfield Hospital and County Hall - would not be helped by the Tunnel, so the likely usage by commuters was doubted.

The idea was mooted, that rather than a Feasibility and Initial Costing Study aimed solely at re-use of the Tunnel, a review of all access to the City from the West be undertaken, of which Tunnel re-use would be only one strand.

Presumably this wider study will continue as an agenda item for the Workshop.  No plan for action on study discussed.

2     Cycling map of Leicester to be re-issued

Comments/requests for any changes to Andy Salkeld, preferably in form of marked up map scan.

3     Re-construction of Lancaster Road/University Road junction and entry to Peace Way

Concern about plans for this work as part of construction of new University Medical building on sports field.  Current plans for cycling routes untenable, according to University of Leicester BUG.

Friday, September 13, 2013

Glenfield Tunnel re-opening scheme

Could Leicester emulate Bath's success in converting an unused relic, costing the City ratepayers enormous sums, into a tourist attraction - plus cycle and pedestrian artery into the City from the West?

See Leicester Mercury.  Far from tunnel vision, the next-to-last paragraph indicates that a reopening is on Sir Peter Soulsby's agenda.

The video is available here VIDEO
Fast forward to 16 minutes in.    [Sorry; BBC iPlayer will no longer show this video]

I would suggest the next move should be to ask Sir Peter to visit Bath, and ride the Two Tunnels Greenway, if he hasn't already done so.  It's stupendous!

Monday, September 2, 2013

Canal towpath/cyclepath issues

1     The repair on NCN 6 at Birstall Quay, between Whiles Lane and White Horse Bridge is STILL unfinished, lacking the tarmac to restore the path fully.  The unfinished stretch is unpleasant, being loose gravel/sand.  Canal & River Trust haven't replied to request for a completion date.

Spoke to crew on the canal vessels now repairing collapse N of 3-Way Bridge today (04 Sept 2013).  They say Birstall Quay tarmacing is responsibility of Leics County Council.  Well, what a surprise!  Tarmac repairs have been going on in White Horse Lane, 50m away, this week, but nothing done yet on the Quay.

County Council confirmed late September that responsibility for the still awaited tarmacing rests contractually with CaRT.  Since CaRT never deigned to reply to my (or recent County Council) enquiry re completion date, not much point in pursuing this further!  :-(

2     The towpath damage on the Cossington Link at the S end of 3-Way Bridge has been repaired, and the last paviors went in today, thought there are wooden sheets over them while they settle.  Looks as if the 'cyclists dismount' signs can be removed next week.

Removed 04 Sept 2013.

3     There are numerous other sites - 2 now fenced off - between the Hope & Anchor and Junction Lock where the cyclepath tarmac at the water side has cracked and slumped towards the water.  No doubt there will be other stretches to repair fairly soon.

CaRT are now repairing the collapse 100m N of 3-Way Bridge.  They say this was caused by County Council work at the  site during Connect2 work.  They say the same about the damage S of the Bridge, which they've just repaired, mind you!

So 'take care' along these towpath stretches is the maxim.

First published 02 Sept 2013
Updated 04 Sept 2013
Updated 30 Sept 2013

All these repair works recently completed, and all NCNs 6 & 48 diversion signs removed.

AKD   10 Dec 2013