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