After three years of deloays and prevarication- and with an election pending in May - the Vale Council has finally installed lighting on the controversial Zig-Zag path in Penarth Marina

After three years of delays and prevarication – (and with an election pending in May 2017) – the Vale Council has finally installed lighting on the controversial Zig-Zag Path in Penarth Marina

The Vale of Glamorgan Council has finally completed the installation of night-lighting on the £227,000 zig-zag  path which links Penarth Heights with Terra Nova Way.

When the path first opened on May 23rd 2013 , local residents walkers and cyclists were dismayed to discover that no lighting had  been included in the scheme and pointed out that the lack of lighting on the steep pathway – with its multiple bends –  made it dangerous to use after dark, particularly in the long winter months .

In August  2013 the council promised – in principle – to install lighting on the  combined foot-and-cycle track but later appeared to be backtracking and delaying the scheme.

In November 2014 the Vale of Glamorgan Council’s ruling “cabinet” took the decision  to fund the lighting of the path – subject to planning permission (from the Vale itself) and to comments from Penarth Town Council .

Construction of the Zig Zag path was carried out in early 2013 - but no lighting was provided for in the scheme

Construction of the Zig Zag path (seen here in 2013)  was carried out in March  2013 – but no lighting was provided for in the original scheme

Penarth Marina Residents Association members were informed at one point that the Vale Council had  “no legal obligation ” to install any lighting – but the association continued to put pressure on the council to get on with the work

The Council then agreed to spend an additional £1o0,000 on lighting for the Zig-Zag   within the  “2015/16 financial year ” at a cost of £75,000 plus £25,000 for “design work” . However the installation did not happen.

The Zig Zag Path is meant to cater for walkers and cyclists - but it had been dangerous to use at night until now

The Zig Zag Path is meant to cater for walkers and cyclists – but it had been dangerous to use at night until now

Only now – in the 2016/17 financial year has the lighting been installed and switched on – ironically at a time when the Vale Council is switching-off public street lighting across the whole of the Vale of Glamorgan .

Whilst thousands of street lamps across the Vale are being switched off at midnight and faded down to reduce power costs and save money,  the Zig Zag Path however has a total of 31 LED timer-controlled mains-powered lamps which stay on from dusk all the way through to dawn  .

The construction of the path was originally carried out by Penarth Heights developers Crest Nicholson  (who, in felling the trees, helped improve the views from their clients’ properties). Maintenance of the Zig-Zag is the responsibility of the Vale Council’s Parks Department.

Many cyclists find the up-hill climb of the Zig Zag path is too steep for them.

Many cyclists find the up-hill climb of the Zig Zag Path is too steep for them.

The path was the initiative of the Vale of Glamorgan Council in collaboration with SEWTA (the South East Wales Transport Alliance) and the pro-cycling “charity” Sustrans.

Most Sustrans income is derived from projects paid for by public money but it also received direct funding from bicycle manufacturers. The funding for the Zig-Zag Path project was originally estimated to be £227,000 comprising:-

  • £150,000 from Sustrans – subject to the project being physically completed by the end of December 2012 – (which it wasn’t)
  • £25,000 from Crest Nicholson.
  • £52,000  from Vale of Glamorgan Council (to cover the shortfall)

In the event construction over-ran by five months and the eventual total cost was estimated to have been well-over £250,000. The additional lighting, now installed, brings the total cost of what has been described as a Labour Party “vanity-project” to £350,000.

It was originally envisaged that seating, trees and planting as well as “street-art” would   be placed on each bend of the Zig Zag. That is something which local residents are still waiting for .

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  1. Peter Church says:

    Sustrans the so called sustainable transport “charity” More akin to a pro-cycle lobby and general cycle mouth piece!
    Maybe pedestrians should ask Sustrans for some of those annoying cycle bells?
    If you are walking along a pavement and some people get in your way, then you can ding the bell “warning” of your approach, then ding it again, until they move out of your way 🙂
    I have tried a similar approach with cyclists while driving in my car, but they don’t like me blkowing my car horn for some reason?

    • ian says:

      You are promoting dangerous driving. It must feel very empowering for you to be sat in your relatively safe metal box while you intimidate vulnerable cyclists.

      • RosyB says:

        I can’t help myself, but I have to correct this! Its ‘…for you to be sitting in your…’

      • Peter Church says:

        Ian, I was being sarcastic you know!!
        I do what all safe motorists do, slow down to the speed of the cyclists and wait for a safe place to pass, if only cyclists would do the same when the shoe is on the other foot.

      • Ford Prefect says:

        Peter, I’m a cyclist and I do. I also know and see plenty of other cyclists who do the same. Maybe you shouldn’t extrapolate the behaviour of a few bad eggs onto everyone else.

      • Frank Evans says:

        Exsclty, Car drivers dont beep at every other slow moving vehicle they approach they slow and overtake when safe. Why do bike owners feel the need to beep at every obstacle????

    • Ford Prefect says:

      FYI A few times I’ve cycled past people on shared paths without ringing, and they’ve shouted “You could’ve rang your bell!”. So it is now my policy to ring my bell whenever passing people. It seems you like it the opposite way round. I guess there’s just no pleasing some people.

      If you hear a bell, it is not a demand for you to move out of the way, it is just a friendly warning to say that someone is coming, so that you don’t get a fright. That said, if you are on a shared path, simply stay to the left and don’t drift around from side to side (same advice applies to cyclists).

      If you really can’t stand sharing a path, then you should consider moving somewhere there are no other people.

      • Nice Cup of Tea says:

        I have found most folk riding bikes ring the bell in the expectation that walkers, dog owners, people with push chairs etc stop and give way to the folk on the bikes.
        just saying like.

      • Ford Prefect says:

        How do you know what their expectations are? Is it something in the tone of the ring?

    • Colin Davies says:

      I didn’t realise anyone over the age of 7 had a bell on their bike… ah well, you live and learn…

      • snoggerdog says:

        i was told by karey,penarth blke shop,its a legal requirement to sell all bikes new or second hand with a bell.

  2. pompousfruit says:

    Better to ring a bell when on a bicycle than yell or run people over. I was pleased when it was mandatory to sell new bicycles with bells attached to them. I find the normal sized bells and the ping bells to not be loud enough so am considering buying a large bell since so many pedestrians on cycle paths don’t hear normal sized bells. And for your information Sustrans is still a charity even if it has carried out a few local government contracts and has lobbying power.

    • Colin Davies says:

      mandatory bells? are you sure? I’ve bought two bikes in the past 12 months, neither had bells attached…

  3. pompousfruit says:

    And I don’t cycle on pavements but a bell is pretty useful on roads and cycle paths. The problem isn’t cycle bells but people cycling on pavements.

    • Peter Church says:

      “Cycle paths”
      Yes this is the cycle mentality all summed up in two words!
      I think you’ll find there are not many dedicated cycle paths around here, they are mostly shared use between pedestrians and cyclists.
      By the way, pedestrians still have right of way on them, no matter how many times you ring your little annoying bell, which you find it not loud enough 🙂

      • pompousfruit says:

        I was ringing my bell on the cycle side of the shared path as pedestrians were walking on that side so yes I had right of way. Most shared paths in Cardiff are split down the middle and demarcated. Also pedestrians are often walking four abreast and not giving space to anyway travelling in the other direction.

  4. Brickie says:

    A little unfair, Mr Church. A bicycle bell actually is to warn pedestrians of a cyclist’s approach as they are relatively silent. Sometimes a subsequent ring is required – usually when the pedestrian has their ears blocked up with their phone earplugs. I am a pedestrian, a cyclist and a car driver, and I believe a bit of respect to other path/road users goes a long way in keeping us all safe.

    That said, I think Sustrans need to take a hard look at themselves. This is not their finest hour; firstly in lobbying for this proposal, and then not following through with the money. Shame on them.

    • pompousfruit says:

      Well said about the bicycle bells. They are there for a reason. I find many pedestrians to be either too engrossed in conversation or with ear plugs in so often have to keep ringing the bell. And on shared paths cyclists are allowed to cycle around pedestrians who are expected to stick to one side of the path to also allow pedestrians walking in the opposite direction space. But too often groups of them spread across the path or pavement.

  5. Alwyn says:

    The original planning for the zig-zag path included lighting, but right from the start, the council knee they had insufficient finance, so provision for trunking eas incorporated with lighting to follow when finance was available. Now they’ve done it. What’s the issue?

    • newsnet says:

      This is not correct. No lighting was envisaged in the original scheme. The Design and Access statement dated 2012 states quite clearly “3.5 No lighting is proposed for this development”.

    • Lindsay says:

      Shocking. The local council keeps a promise. It’s simply not good enough.

  6. T.J. says:

    pedestrians and cyclists dont mix in the same way that cars and cyclists dont mix
    with the advent of e-cycles capable of doing well in excess of 30mph the time must have come for some sort of insurance and identification scheme for cycles
    i cant remember any instances of being hit by a pedestrian haha
    why do we need 100k lights on this zig zag path
    pedestrians now carry a torch when walking about in penarth at night as the council have turned off most of the street lights and cyclists have proper non flashing white lights to let them see where they are going

  7. Ethel says:

    At the end of the Railway Path where it turns right onto the lane which connects to the lane which is known as Berkley Drive there is a sign asking cyclists to dismount. l have never seen this happen. The lane connecting Plymouth Road to Berkley Drive is not a cycle path.

  8. Guido says:

    The cynic in me says that by placing the lights so low means yet another target for the vandals. Re

  9. Kath Osbourne says:

    Have you ever noticed when someone dares to criticise cycling or cyclists they appear out of the woodwork to muster support.
    I really don’t mind them too much, but what does baffle me it the latest craze for groups of them find the steepest hill possible and then time their accent.
    The one near Abergaveeny where there is a constant flow grinding there way up with faces like they are constipated then going back down at brake neck speed.
    These are public roads middle aged gentlemen not olympic time trail racetracks.
    Maybe they could use the zigzag path for this lighting or no lighting .

    • Bobby says:

      And have you ever noticed Kath how many cyclist haters appear out of the woodwork too?

    • Colin Davies says:

      Strava has a lot to answer for…

    • whatsoccurin says:

      agree-with you-I have curtailed my week-end drives into the mountains because of the antics, mainly of motor cyclists, but pedal cyclists are not blameless-even locally ascending Beach Road I have driven slowly behind cyclists struggling up the hill, only to find when the road straightens out they suddenly move to two or three abreast to make overtaking difficult and dangerous.
      The hill near Abergavenny is called “The Tumble” and in my youth I drove down in neutral and my engine cut out-not recommended!!

      • Sidney says:

        What makes me laugh is that all these cyclists think they’re really hip and like that Bradley Wiggins one with the sideburns.

      • Bobby says:

        Sidney – can you read everybody’s mind or does your gift only extend as fare as cyclists?

    • pompousfruit says:

      Not just middle aged gentlemen but also those in early old age as well.

  10. Frank Evans says:

    I luv articles bout cycle paths ad it brings out the worst in people on both sides of the track.

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