Following lengthy discussions at the Friends meetings in Nov, Dec, Jan and Feb about the plans for the new cycle route alongside the park we decided to make a deputation to the B&H City Council Environment, Transport and Sustainability Committee meeting on 4 March, to explain why we felt that it would be unwise to replace the two pelican crossings on Dyke Road alongside the park with zebra crossings, and to remove the guardrails near these crossings.
On behalf of the FoDRP, I read out a statement which expressed our general support for the cycle route, but explained our misgivings. (This statement had also received 25 additional messages of support (and 2 against) when it was circulated via email.) FoDRP statement on Dyke Road Cycling and Pedestrian Improvements
I was also able to respond to a recently published report, commissioned by the Council planners, on the use of the two crossings, which makes interesting reading, but which did not, I felt, take sufficient account of the experience and concerns of the people who use these crossings daily. Read report here.
A deputation was also made by Windlesham parents, written questions were put by three other people, and a petition was presented by Cllr Ruth Buckley of Goldsmid Ward. A wide range of issues was raised, including the wisdom of having a shared pedestrian/cycle path on the park side of the road (which was not something the Friends group had objected to).
It had always been the intention of the Committee to defer a decision on the pelican/zebra issue and on the proposal to remove all guardrails until a later meeting, but the planners were hoping for the go-ahead to start other aspects of the work. In the end, the Committee agreed that the planners should look again at the shared pedestrian/cycle path and try and find a ‘third way’ – maybe a dedicated cycle lane on the grass verge.
All three Labour Councillors, led by Gill Mitchell, and two of the Conservative Councillors, led by Geoffrey Theobald, stated that, after listening to the points made in the various presentations, they were persuaded that it would not be sensible to remove all the guardrails, nor turn the pelican crossings into zebras.
There will be a vote on the matter at the next meeting of the ETS Committee on 29 April.