|Potential for conflict with pedestrians|
|Poor visibility junction opposite Hobb Lane|
At one point a footpath linking Lower Northam Road with Allen Road meets the proposed cycleway and a brick wall will prevent pedestrians seeing if a bicycle is coming.
Mature trees and hedges will also need to be cut back along the section between the Hobb Lane junction and the roundabout.
Get Your Bike Out of the Garage
The Council's Cycling Strategy is to encourage cycle use over the car for shorter journeys, and the Hedge End to Botley trip would seem to be an ideal candidate. With petrol prices increasing inexorably, traffic queues in the centre of Hedge End getting longer, air pollution getting worse and a growing emphasis on a healthy life style with more exercise, a decent network of cycle paths is long overdue. This initiative will also provide two safer crossing points for pedestrians in Lower Northam Road near the Hilton Road and Hobb Lane junctions.
Overturning decades of highway development during which everything was done to make car driving easier, more convenient and cheaper is never going to be easy and some compromise is going to be necessary. It's a pity that cycle path will not go all the way to Botley, leaving cyclists to continue to share the busy A334 for the final section. Perhaps the DfT grant will give the Council some leverage with the private landowners along the route to enable this to become a really useful cycleway.
It's also regrettable that the shared pedestrian / cycleway is only going to be 2.5m wide. That's going to be a bit tight if a cyclist meets a pushchair or mobility scooter.
If the Lib Dem plans to build 4000 houses in Botley and Woodhouse Lane come to fruition, all those extra cars trying to get to the M27 will have to cross this cycleway at some point, possibly at the Maypole Roundabout. That's going to be interesting.
Still, if the Council finally gets a move on with this project (which was first approved in 1998, fourteen years ago!) Hedge End residents will have a few years to enjoy their new cycleway before all those additional cars start cutting across it.