I want to express all my disappointment regarding the current facilities for cyclists and, in particular, for cycle-commuters in Cardiff.
I have been living in this city for almost six years and I have witnessed little or no improvement.
Cardiff is an extremely bike-unfriendly city. This is a true shame, given its consistently flat layout and small size. A simple look at the map provided by the council (http://www.cardiff.gov.uk/cycling) shows that, outside Bute Park, there are effectively no traffic-free paths apart from the link between the centre and the bay. Unfortunately, not many people work in Bute Park, which, by definition, is a recreational area.
Two of the three main employers in Cardiff are the University and the NHS. Because of the presence of the University and the University Hospital, an extremely large amount of commuters transits daily through Cathays and Heath. The area enclosed by North Road to the West, Dumfries Place and Newport Road to the South, Waterloo Road to the East and the Eastern Avenue to the North comprises some of the busiest commuting routes; yet there are zero traffic-free paths. This is unacceptable.
Park Place, Albany road, Newport Road, Column Road, Richmond Road, with buses, cars (often parked on both sides of the street) are a nightmare for a cyclist.
I live in Princes Street and work in the Heath Hospital. My natural itinerary goes through Connaught Road, Pen-y-lan Road, Ninian Road, Wedal road, Allensbank Road. These streets are horrendous. There are a lot of potholes, badly placed patches and unlevelled surfaces. Nothing has changed in the last year and half. A lot of these disrupted spots are located at the far sides of the roads, exactly where people cycle. Exactly where, in some streets, the supposedly red bicycle lanes are painted (it seems that in Cardiff, to create a cycling path, all you need is a bucket of red paint and a brush). I am not even getting into the layouts of these lanes, very often starting and ending abruptly and without any logic (e.g., Senghennydd Road, Crwys Road, Allensbank Road, Withchurch Road).
The whole segment which starts from the roundabout where Ninian Road meets Fairoak Road until the junction of Allensbank Road with King George V Drive (which is the entrance of an Hospital Site!!!) looks like a freshly bombed ground. The same applies to the side streets of Ninian Road and to Inverness Place. The link in the header of this text shows once more how bad Cardiff is at this regard!
I understand that the maintenance of the roads is not an easy task. However, a traffic-free cycling path requires almost no maintenance, given the very little weight passing on it as compared to cars. This point can be readily proven by cycling along Jamest St. and Clarence Road in the bay, where the cycling path that a year ago was brand new, now is already completely ruined.
Whoever is responsible for all this should be ashamed in front of the people, because he/she miserably failed in taking care of such an essential aspect of the daily life of the city and the commuters.
The United Kingdom is one of the worst places in Europe for cycling (http://www.peoplepoweredmovement.org/site/images/uploads/MakingCyclingIrresistible.pdf) with an incredibly low use of the bicycle itself and a high rate of fatalities and injuries. In particular, in Cardiff cars are far too many and commuting traffic is the worst among several towns in UK.
Recently millions were spent to refurbish the city centre. What for? Yet another shopping mall and, surprise surprise, more multistore car parks. Is this the way, by attracting people to drive more and more, they think to make Cardiff a greener and more livable place?
The conditions of a lot of the streets are deplorable.
Finally, I do not hide the frustration rising from being constantly told off by car drivers, who, never educated to having cyclists around, cannot understand that the same road also belongs to the cyclists, given the lack of dedicated alternatives. Overall, the physical and mental damage we are subject to from cycling every day in Cardiff is not irrelevant and I wish it could be quantified to be better understood.
I support a radical change in the policy of Cardiff regarding cyclists and cycle-commuting, following the lessons from places such as the Netherlands, Denmark and Germany. I want the city council to hire a team of professional designers of cycling networks to develop a plan for incorporating a substantial network of traffic-free paths in the most trafficked areas of the city.
Without this, the recent city-bike scheme will be as useful as trains without railways.
The Radical Changes in the Cycling Policy of Cardiff petition to Cardiff Council was written by Giancarlo and is in the category Roads & Transport at GoPetition.