Paper petition details

Create a safe route for cyclists/runners/walkers travel along the Redbourn road (A5183).

Create a safe route for cyclists/runners/walkers travel along the Redbourn road (A5183).

The Government is encouraging more of us to find safer ways to travel in the light of the impact of Covid 19. Cycling, walking, running all enable us to avoid public transport. This petition, launched by the Active in Redbourn community group, calls on Hertfordshire County Council to create a long-awaited safe cycling, walking and running route between Redbourn and St Albans This major highway route for travel between St Albans to Redbourn (formerly the A5) has become downgraded from a “trunk” road over the years but traffic flow has increased. It has become an extremely hazardous, often dangerous road over the last few years and has led to several cycling
fatalities. Despite this it is still used by hundreds of cyclists a week be it as individuals or riding as a club or part of a group. A “ footpath” is in existence but poorly maintained and not inviting for cyclists, walkers or runners to utilise this route (though it is currently only a pedestrian path in its current form). A safe shared space for cycling, walking and running would connect the much used Nickey Line which currently links Hemel Hempstead to Harpenden, along with many existing routes through St Albans, then onwards other parts of the county. Many families and residents of Redbourn and the surrounding areas would love to have the option of a safe, environmentally friendly and easily accessible route to St Albans for work or leisure. Equally St Albans residents would benefit from a safely made trip to Redbourn to enjoy the village common, pubs and destinations like the Redbournbury Mill, thereby sustaining the Redbourn's facilities and improving their health. The cost of one fatality is nearing the ?2 million mark, the probable cost of providing a safe, maintained pathway would become cost effective and “ pay for itself” in a couple of years. It is possible to ride to St Albans via Harpenden but is around twice the distance and consists of a much more challenging route, prohibiting large groups of people wishing to travel sustainably. A route following the old A5 (Watling Street) has no significant hills and easily navigable passing the Ver Valley and other rural landmarks. Please support our campaign to make this safe route a reality by signing our petition

This Paper petition was received on 22/07/2020.

1000 people signed this Paper petition.

Council response

Thank you, Simon, for presenting this petition.

We are fully aware of the challenges along the A5183 between St Albans and Redbourne, and Cllr. Annie Brewster is fully supportive of creating a cycleway, and has been discussing with me, the directors and officers with this aim.

It is recognised that this route is not one that those other than confident users would consider as a viable option for regular use. The route also has a chequered accident history and, as the highway authority, we have made a number of changes to try and improve the safety of the route over the last 15 years. However, there remain challenges as a result of both the physical nature of the road along with user behaviours, particularly as the use and nature of users changes over time.

The Government has awarded the County Council £1.25m from Tranche 1 of its Emergency Active Travel Fund, part of which will be used to provide pop-up cycleways, and we are to bid next month against the £6.79m available from Tranche 2. This funding is a great opportunity to try and address the issues.

However, the government guidance in support of Tranche 2 is quite clear:
To receive any funding, authorities will need to satisfy the Department for Transport that they have swift and meaningful plans to reallocate road space to cyclists and pedestrians (both groups rather than one or the other), including on strategic corridors. Schemes that do not meaningfully alter the status quo on the road will not be funded. All cycling schemes, permanent or temporary, will need to include segregation or point closures to through traffic. Advisory cycle lanes, and those marked only with white paint, will not be funded.

We have consulted cycling groups, District and County Councillors on their views and nominations, and will shortly be putting in excess of 100 suggested schemes into priority order. Unfortunately, it will not be possible to deliver all of these projects within the funding budget and timescale, but I would like to assure you that the A5183 will be given due consideration, and we are conscious of the massive local support.

There are clearly difficulties to delivering a cycling route along the A5183 but, equally, significant benefits to those cycling and the adjacent walking network if it can be achieved. We are carrying out assessments in relation to the above points, to help ensure that we have fully considered the opportunities.

Councillor Phil Bibby
Executive Member, Highways & Environment.