Requesting improvements in Didcot -> Culham cycle paths

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Jack Lovell

Jun 8, 2019, 6:45:55 AM6/8/19
to Culham Cyclists (CulBUG)
Hi all

I live in Didcot, on the Ladygrove estate, and commute to Culham by bike. I've written to my county councillor, Neville Harris, to complain about the state of the cycle paths between Didcot and Culham Science Centre. He's agreed to chase this up for me at the council, but it would help our cause if there were other voices locally who also highlight these problems. If you use (or have tried to use in the past) the Didcot to Long Wittenham cycle path or the path beside the A415 between Clifton Hampden and Culham, and you would like to see them improved, could you please write to your local councillor and ask for improvements to these?



P.S. For reference, here's the email I sent to my councillor. Please don't copy it word-for-word, but if you agree and can make similar points when writing then this will strengthen our case.

Dear Neville

I am writing to you regarding the poor condition of the cycle infrastructure between Didcot, specifically Ladygrove, and Culham Science Centre. With over 1000 staff regularly on site - a good fraction of whom live in Didcot - it is important to provide good quality cycling facility for commuters. However, there are a number of significant problems with the cycling provision at present:

  • The path between Ladygrove (under the A4130) and Long Wittenham is badly deteriorated. Along most of the route the top surface has either worn away completely, leaving sharp stones from the base layer poking out to puncture tyres, or is scarred with potholes too numerous to avoid.
  • The same path is far too narrow for two cyclists, or a cyclist and a pedestrian, to safely pass one another. This is only made worse by the encroachment of vegetation, which needs to be cut back more frequently to maintain a usable path than if the path was wider in the first place.
  • The path along the side of the A415 between Clifton Hampden and Culham Science Centre is also life expired, and badly needs resurfacing. It’s so bad many cyclists simply use the road between the Science Centre and the village, which is risky and also holds up motor traffic which needs to overtake.
  • The A415 path also suffers from vegetation encroachment. Although it started life wide enough to safely pass another cyclist, grass and dirt has over time swallowed up one side of the path, to the extent that in places the path is less than half its original width. The section between Turnpike Garage and Clifton Hampden traffic lights is particularly bad in this regard. Just cutting the grass doesn’t help: the dirt and vegetation needs to be scraped away from the path.

I have raised these issues previously on the Fix My Street website, and have been told that the path is “not suitable for immediate repair”, only that it will be considered in future. The infrastructure is already past the point it should be been fixed, so getting a response which kicks the can down the road is pretty disappointing.

I note that the County Council’s “Oxfordshire 2050” transport strategy aims to increase cycling’s modal share to 30% by next year and 50% by 2030. How is that achievable when low hanging fruit such as ensuring the existing infrastructure is fit for purpose is not even being tackled?

Yours sincerely

Jack Lovell

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