In 2008 Woodley Town Council sponsored the Woodley Community Partnership, which asked me to produce a report on better cycling facilities for the town. The report was well received by the Town Council, and I offer the following review of the intervening years.
The new housing estate on the former University Campus on Woodlands Avenue is the perfect place to raise happy healthy families that have no need of a car.
There are a good Co-op Store, large areas of woodland to the south and green open space on the north side. Bus stops connected by a pedestrian crossing offer regular short rides into Reading town centre.
In much of Western Europe, the pavement along the south side of the road would be a safe and very busy route for cyclists and joggers. However they now face a significant risk of serious injury, because they have to give way four times to vehicles turning in and out of the new estate.
A few hundred metres east on the same pavement, the very wide entrance to the Reading University Sportspark is usually closed and the entrance is a popular drivers’ layby, thus creating a hazard for parents and children walking to Highwood School.
It is unlikely that an unaccompanied blind person would be able to navigate successfully between the two areas of stippled pavement (see Woodlands Avenue below). As Peter Howe has noted, Wokingham Borough Council says it “has to provide for all road users”!
In 2008 the south west pavement of Fairwater Drive was a good place for lonely people to enjoy fresh air and socialise, with little fear of irresponsible young cyclists.
The carriageway was a perfect route for a fast commuter cyclist: wide, not busy, good visibility and few parked cars. As it is a bus route, early morning cyclists could rely on the WBC salt spreaders.
The last thing that cyclists needed was an icy pavement with seven sets of ‘Give Way’ markings (see Fairwater Drive below).
I agree with WBC that parents with young children prefer to teach them to cycle on a pavement. That need was met perfectly by the old carriageway of Colemansmoor Road RG5 4DD at its north east end.
Between 7.20am and 9.00am on Thursday 4th April, I counted 850 vehicles under 3 tonnes, three motor cycles, 11 cyclists on the carriageway or the north west pavement and three bicycles on the new cycleway.
I think some drivers and cyclists would be interested to know how many potholes could have been filled with the bitumen and stone that was used to create it (see Colemansmoore Road below).