“SCRAP BIKE-LANES – PLANT TREES IN THE MIDDLE OF THE ROAD” – PENARTH CIVIC SOCIETY IS TOLD

Most of Plassey St – which once had more than 70 trees along it – is now a tree-free zone – but could the unused cycle lanes be scrapped to create a central green reservation and “tree corridor” down the centre of the road? Such innovations have the effect of slowing -down traffic and boosting local house prices,  Penarth Civic Society has been told.

The expert behind the Tree-Bristol project has told Penarth Civic Society that –  on wide roads – dedicated cycle lanes should be scrapped and central reservations created instead –  on which trees could be planted.

Advocating this new approach to incorporating trees in urban streets is Russell Horsey a former senior officer City of Bristol’s “Tree-Bristol” project who made the case in a special presentation to the Civic Society earlier this month .

Members of Penarth Civic Society take their seats for this month’s meeting at All Saints Lesser Hall

The idea runs counter to the politically-fashionable view that cyclists should have have dedicated lanes installed on roads just for them – but the experience in Bristol indicates that it works.

Russell Horsey formerly of Tree Bristol made the presentation

Mr Horsey, Development Director at the Institute of Chargtered Foresters, has shown in Bristol that there are better things that can be done with the roadspace than providing special lanes for cyclists.

In that city,  cycle lanes were removed and the extra space was used to create a green central reservation for trees – enabling them to be planted without obstructing  – and potentially disrupting – pavements.

Mr Horsey recounted the many benefits of having trees as part of the urban landscape – pointing out that trees make streets pleasant spaces; property prices are higher in tree-lined streets and a tree canopy helps in traffic calming and in the implementation of 20mph zones.

Tree-lined streets also, he says,  have the effect of increasing the use of  buses because the walk to the bus stop becames a more pleasant experience .

Plassey Street traffic speeded up after resurfacing carried out in 2012/13 which made made the wide downhill gradient smooth, …and fast. The council thought the solution was mobile speed  cameras but  Mr Horsey says more trees cut speeds on urban roads

[PDN Note: One of Penarth’s widest roads – Plassey St – which has over the years lost many of its pavement trees, would be a prime candidate for the installation of a central “tree-corridor”. Getting rid of the mostly-unused cycle-lanes on either side would enable a green central reservation to be created on which  trees could be planted. There is already a 550 yard long green central reservation on Dinas Road in Penarth – but only 7 trees have been planted on it ]

Only 7 trees have been planted along the entire length of the green reservation running along the centre of Dinas Road, Penarth – where electronic speed signs have had to be installed to reduce speeding. With more trees, – it’s suggested – the speed signals wouldn’t be necessary

The former Labour-run administration in the Vale of Glamorgan has also consistently refused to replace most of the trees it removed from Penarth streets – claiming it was too expensive to install “root-cages” to confine the spread of tree-roots .

Mr Horsey however challenges this view and the quoted cost of  £4,000-£6,000 on root containment for new on-street trees close to buildings and walls. Mr Horsey says that root containment is really a “small problem” and that “root-deflectors” – which have been installed in some – cost only  £20 compared with the £350 cost of 4-metre standard trees.

Meanwhile the Vale of Glamorgan Council planning department has approved the felling of more trees on private property in Penarth’s Conservation Area:-

A dead tree is to be removed from the rear of 39 Plymouth Road.At 37, Plymouth Road, 1 lime tree, 3 ash trees, 1 apple tree and 1 sycamore are to be felled at the rear of the property. At 15, Marine Parade, Penarth a pine tree is to be felled and replaced with a magnolia and at the Marie Curie Hospice at Bridgeman Road a silver birch is to be felled.

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17 Responses to “SCRAP BIKE-LANES – PLANT TREES IN THE MIDDLE OF THE ROAD” – PENARTH CIVIC SOCIETY IS TOLD

  1. David Moorcraft says:

    Penarth used to be described as a “leafy Seaside town”. No more ! I really don’t think the previous (and much lamented !) Labour-controlled Vale Council cared about trees in Penarth.
    Will the new Conservative-led Council turn out to be an improvement ?

    Clearer road-markings and warning signs on Plassey Street where it joins Windsor Road would help to avoid near accidents – traffic lights will only serve to increase congestion

    • Vic says:

      Have there been many accidents at the Plassey st/Windsor rd roundabout? I’m not aware of any been reported so I do not understand why the council want to change it to traffic lights.

      • AK says:

        The Council thinks traffic lights are the answer to all junctions.

        The traffic planners walk to work

      • Penarth says:

        On the culverhouse junction there are now over 300 individual traffic light fittings. The latest 26 units added at the old HTV junction.
        The traffic management consultants say you must have traffic lights but guess who funds research!

    • RosyB says:

      Have you forgotten that the Council is bound by law to provide cycle lanes? I cycle a lot, and could not do without them. At least you feel a bit safer on them, not having to weave in and out of the traffic.

      • John64 says:

        RosyB, I am both a cyclist and a motorist and I adhere to the Highway Code. No road user, either cyclist or motorist, should ‘weave in and out of traffic’.

  2. Clive says:

    In terms of priority resurfacing some of Penarth’s worn out roads should take precedence over digging up the rather fine surface of Plassey street

  3. Max Wallis says:

    I do use Plassey St as a cyclist. Whizzing downhill on its fine smooth surface, cars have no need to pass by keeping me on the cycle-lane (close to parked cars who might open a door on me). Uphill I seldom use its steep bottom section. And the cycle-lane peters out in the busier upper section where it’s needed. So I wouldn’t regret the loss of its cycle-lanes and certainly welcome a line of trees down the centre.

  4. hopenotnasty says:

    Surely the article should read: Meanwhile the New conservative vale of Glamorgan planning committee has approved the felling of more trees.

  5. snoggerdog says:

    whatever anybody comes up with,one thing is inevitable there are going to be more & more & more & more (thats enough mores) vehicles on the road year after yea thats enough whoa!

  6. Stewar tMcgregor says:

    Anything is better than all these cycle lanes. For example Cardiff Road up to Merrie Harriers. Must be at least 6 bikes per day and one way only. As for the one in Wenvoe, I am beyond comment.
    I understand one of our political parties intends installing one from Dinas Powys to Barry. Ludicrous.

    • Max Wallis says:

      The Eastbrook and Wenvoe cycleways were conceived by officials, wanting to spend grant money (with a slice for the Council). The Dinas to Barry (actually Bryn y don to Biglis roundabout) results from lobbying by cyclists and clear need on the narrow road for a foot/cyclepath. The problem lies with officials who have boosted the design into a £M highway-standard scheme instead of a low cost and low impact path. An example of the latter is. the Ely Trail from the pumping station bridge to the Leckwith Rd, which may have gone unnoticed in your list of hates..

    • Vic Mildew says:

      Stuart – how do you know that only 6 bikes per day use that cycle lane? Do you stand there all day and count them?

  7. AK says:

    Cycle routes are great – but not at the expense of the highway. I cycled from Brecon to Penarth at the weekend, 99% off-road and it was wonderful.

    More off-road routes please (not badly designed cycle lanes)

  8. Vince says:

    A tree-mendous idea!

  9. Fishhenge says:

    Great idea.

  10. Vic M says:

    Plassey St is not wide enough to retro-fit a central reservation with trees planted on it. The trees will be too close to the edge of the reservation and will block visibility for vehicles turning right out of or in to a junction making it much harder to see vehicles approaching from the opposite direction. This arrangement would be more affective on a much wider road but then you have the added problem of cars then parking on the central reservation, as happens on Plasturton Ave in Pontcanna.

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