The Chester Cycling Campaign believes that there is a strong case to be made for a new River Dee crossing for cyclists and pedestrians. The bridge pictured was planned but never built by Cheshire County Council as part of the Connect2 project. Maybe it is time to dust off these plans and to find the will and imagination to make such a bridge a reality this time…………..
The misery faced by motorists using the Post House roundabout recently is a sharp reminder of how our local roads are nearly filled to capacity at peak times. Even minor roadworks or traffic light outages can lead to lengthy, stationary queues of traffic in some areas of Chester. What will our roads be like after the two new proposed housing projects are built at Saighton Camp and Wrexham Road? Many hundreds of new homes are due to be built, adding additional pressure on our already crowded roads.
Perhaps it is time for a major rethink regarding transport in the city. A bold approach may be required if we are to avoid total gridlock. How about getting the housing project developers to create a fund for a traffic-free pedestrian/cycling link across the River Dee between Huntingdon (just a little down the road from Saighton Camp) and the south end of the Meadows?
As Chester has fewer crossings of its river than other similar cities, this bridge would be a very useful traffic-free link for journeys to the Wrexham Road Business Park or into the City Centre. Workers at the Business Park, pupils at the King’s School, students attending the former West Cheshire College site when it becomes part of the university, and Sainsbury’s shoppers would be able to reach their destination using a safe and direct route, on foot or by cycle. The benefits in terms of improved health, fitness, reduced congestion, quicker journey times, and reduced transport costs would be experienced not only by residents of the new housing developments but also by all those already living in the south and east of the city.
It simply isn’t good enough for developers to build hundreds of houses without being required to take steps to mitigate the impact on local roads. Experience in other cities in the UK and on the continent have shown that where bold steps have been taken to provide high quality cycle and pedestrian routes, people change their chosen modes of transport accordingly. What have we got to lose, apart from hundreds of cars from rush hour traffic?