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Swansea cyclists to protest removal of cycle path by council

New works on The Kingsway see eastbound cycle path totally removed

Cyclists in Swansea are set to embark on protest rides to complain about the council’s plans for The Kingsway.

Swansea Council wants to create a new temporary cycle lane, since the removal of all buses heading east.

The new lane would run westbound in the same direction as cars and buses, but there would be no easterly route.

The Swansea Bay cycling campaign’s chairman Nick Guy told the South Wales Evening Post: "First of all, we are very supportive of the council's long term plans for a 'green plaza' on The Kingsway, but we understand that's about two to three years off."

"But we are concerned about the temporary plans. We feel that cyclists don't represent such a threat to pedestrians as cars and buses, and we are pushing for a two-way cycle lane on The Kingsway.

"We think they are making things worse for cycling in the short term.

"The other main point is that the council is very conscious of safety — we think that cyclists are used to pedestrians stepping out in front of them, and make allowances for pedestrians.

"Cycling is increasing in Swansea by about 20 per cent per year, and we want to make sure the voice of cyclists is heard in Swansea.”

Swansea Council responded that safety reasons mean it is not possible for the cycle route to operate in both directions.

A Swansea Council spokesperson said: "As part of the temporary plans to remove eastbound traffic along The Kingsway, we have taken the opportunity to introduce a dedicated, two-metre wide cycle route. This will travel in the same westbound direction as buses and cars.

"We are also exploring the possibility of creating an additional cycle route travelling through the city centre to provide cross-city cycling.

"Although no decisions have been made about the long-term plans for The Kingsway, we would hope that they'd include two-way cycle provision along the route."

Urban designer Gordon Gibson said: ”Does the council really think that this is going to make it safer on The Kingsway for pedestrians?

"The bottom line is, the first thing we should do is design for pedestrians, and then cyclists, and then we should think where are the cars going to fit into this?" he said.

Earlier this year we reported how The Rhondda Tunnel Society has earned the backing of a number of Welsh Assembly Members in its bid to reopen Wales’ longest tunnel for cyclists and walkers as a tourist attraction reports Wales Online. The tunnel – the longest in Wales – was closed as part of the Beeching cuts in 1968.

The Rhondda Tunnel runs from Blaencwm in the Rhondda to Blaengwynfi in the Afan Valley. Formed in September 2014, the Rhondda Tunnel Society’s initial aim was to replace the tunnel's original cover stone above the entrance of the tunnel at Blaencwm. However, the group now has the larger aim of reopening it for the use of cyclists and pedestrians.

Speaking at a debate led by Plaid AM Bethan Jenkins, Transport Minister Edwina Hart described the opportunity as ‘very exciting’ and said she would give further consideration to any future discussions.

Jenkins, Plaid South Wales West AM, said: “This is a grassroots campaign that will open up the Afan Valley and would, I believe, lead the way to far more of the kinds of facilities for cycling and walking visitors that have been springing up there, such as accommodation, cafes and cycling shops.”

After an unpromising start, having to be bribed by her parents to learn to ride without stabilisers, Sarah became rather keener on cycling in her university years, and was eventually persuaded to upgrade to proper road cycling by the prospect of a shiny red Italian bike, which she promptly destroyed by trapping a pair of knickers in the rear derailleur. Sarah writes about about cycling every weekend on road.cc.

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