Tuesday, 3 March 2009

A ride around the Borough

On Sunday mornings I like to cycle around North Road ward, looking out for any problems to report to Streetscene. This Sunday I took a circuitous route to the ward to try out some new cycle paths. From the Yarm Road retail park, over the Eastern Transport Corridor and Haughton Road, along the riverside path to North Park. Apart from a short stretch crossing North Road, all on cycle paths.

Then across North Park, under the railway and on the newly resurfaced path to Faverdale. It was a great ride. There are some good cycle paths around the outskirts of town. The problem is, that's not where most people want to ride.

Radial routes around the Borough are fine for the leisure cyclist, but until the Council make it as easy for people to ride to and from the town centre, cycling will be a less important means of transport than it could be.

I took a few snaps on my ride: not all good! Swans on the Skerne, grafitti on a cycle path sculpture (in Haughton West ward - tvm for correction, NW), a thoughtlessly parked car in North Park and the newly laid cycle path to Faverdale.


Darlington Councillor said...

(Ahem) The 'sculpture' is actually in Haughton West, Mike. When the bridge opened, there were cables which connected from the chimney stack to the structure, giving the impression of a suspension bridge. These rapidly became a vandal problem, and had to be removed. It was a great shame, and I hope that sometime in the futire they can be reinstated.

Anyway, I've reported the grafitti, so thanks for that!

As for your broader point about cycle paths and their location - whilst it's true that they don't all go to the town centre, they do (in the case of the paths you were using on Sunday) link up residential areas and places of employment. From Haughton West and North Road, then, it's very easy now to access both Faverdale and Yarm Rd industrial estates by bike, mostly off-raod.

Of course, once the link between the Skerne Valley cycle path and John Street is completed (under the £5 note bridge) then access to the town centre for much of the northern end of the town wil be much easier. This will, I'm confident, revolutionise cycling in Darlington.

There are still land issues to be resolved, but I continue to monitor the scheme with officers, and you can be sure will blog when completion nears!

Mike Barker said...

Good heavens, so it is. Only just though! Lol. Get it sorted then Nick!

Yes, the completion of the cycle path to John Street will be a real benefit to cyclists.
Locally, questions have been asked recently about whether the path, which comes to a dead end shortly after the Albert Road bridge, can be blocked off at the bridge, to discourage the anti-social behaviour that emanates from that area on Friday and Saturday nights. I have had to point out that, in due course, the path will be completed, so blocking it off is not a good idea.

miketually said...

The off-road route to the town centre will be fantastic.

I have to say, the Springfield to Town ride, using Haughton Road is also a pleasure at the moment.

miketually said...

We raised the issue of cars parking on that bit of cycle path in North Park at the cycle forum. Apparently, it happens a lot when there are football matches in the park, when people also block the drop kerb used for crossing Whessoe Road.

Mind you, it's easier to get past the cars than it is to get through the kissing gates at the other side of the park...