Council refuses to light city centre cycleway that has seen spate of collisions and a robbery

St Albans cycle route is popular with commuters, but the council says it's too expensive to light...

Sy Albans council has said that it has no plans to light a popular cycle route that has recently seen collisions and even a robbery.

The Alban Way is a city centre route that conveniently runs around St Albans and Hatfield.

It is used by commuters and pedestrians, including cyclist Phil Fletcher.

He told the Herts Advertiser: “I have recently moved to St Albans, and one of the nicest things here is the Alban Way, like an arrow through the heart of the city, conveniently connecting various shopping centres and going beyond to Hatfield.

“One can avoid congested roads and simply go about one’s daily business on a bike.”

But, he said, after dark he recently came off the path when he was forced to swerve as a cyclist came towards him.

He said: “I don’t know whether there are plans to widen the pathway, to install lighting along at least part of the Alban Way, or to mark the edge of the path, making it easily visible at night.

“For that matter, I do not know what funding is available to carry out these measures or any other improvements to cycling infrastructure.”

It was more sinisterly the location chosen by assailants in November who threatened and robbed a young woman in the early evening.

Head of community services at St Albans council Debbi White said: “We have investigated lighting the Alban Way but the cost is prohibitive. It is more than six miles long and lights would cost many hundreds of thousands of pounds just to install.

“Lights are not a guarantee of a complete end to the occasional cycling accident or any other incident.

“Thankfully such events are extremely rare and thousands of cyclists, pedestrians, and dog walkers enjoy using the Alban Way every week.

“The Alban Way encourages people to use green transport and take healthy exercise while plants, birds, insects and other animals can thrive.

“If anyone feels unsafe after dark, then they can use the surrounding lighted streets and take an alternative route.”

It’s not the first time this piece of infrastructure has been criticised.

Back in 2015 we reported how cycling campaigners spoke out about work to widen the Alban Way, a 3m shared footpath and cycleway to form part of the Green Ring. Campaigner Peter Wares said that the path still wasn’t wide enough.

“It should have been widened by 2m as 0.5m is not enough. It is going to be even more used when it becomes part of the planned Green Ring route. Some people feel we shouldn’t be chopping down the trees as they are oak and are of some value but they will still have to come down in a few years’ time because the problem is going to get worse,” he said

“The trees will continue to grow out across the path, which will inevitably lead to further narrowing and I feel at least one of the trees should have been removed as a compromise.”

 

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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