ROADWORKS to extend a cycleway and footpath have been dismissed as a waste of money because the extension does not go far enough in protecting cyclists, according to one campaigner.
Chris Passmore, 52, of Beechcroft Road, has worked for the past year to draw support to pressure Swindon Council into providing a cycleway along the full length of Kingsdown Road.
The current work taking place in Kingsdown Road is funded by Gazeley, as a part of its planning permission for the G.Park Swindon development, and extends the cycleway to allow access to the B&Q distribution centre on-site.
The work began on July 29 and is expected to last until September 20, with two-way traffic signals in place for an extension, which includes replacement of the bridge parapet over the A419 and changes to carriageway widths.
Chris said the upheaval and costs involved in providing this extension would only be worth it if it were a full extension along Kingsdown Road to where it meets Highworth Road and South Marston Industrial Estate.
“Nobody was doing anything to change the road and get a path put in, so I started taking names,” he said.
“It’s a dangerous stretch of road. The Prime Minister has said he wants to see more people riding their bikes, so a scheme like this should be done properly.
“Doing the extension just past the bridge is a waste of money. If you want to benefit as many people as possible you need to extend it the full length and bring lights in too. It’s a very dark and narrow road.”
Chris works as a technician on South Marston Industrial Estate, so cycles along Kingsdown Road as a commuter.
He says he has had some lucky escapes.
“I have been very lucky a few times –riding down there at night when a fast car comes by, it can get scary,” he said.
Speaking about the current roadworks, a council spokesman said: “Once finished, the route will give cycle access to the B&Q site.
“It is an aspiration to continue the cycle route along Kingsdown Road to link up with the network on Highworth Road.
“But this is dependent on us obtaining the necessary funding.”
Coun Paul Baker (Lab, Penhill & Upper Stratton) has backed Chris’ petition And he drew attention to Government grants which may be available to cycle schemes across Swindon.
He said: “There is money available through the Government for cycleways in the form of grants. I’m sure there are going to be a few around Swindon, but I don’t know if that’s something we can dig into in this case.”