Paper petition details

Tarmac planned for section of Cole Green Way

We the undersigned petition the County Council NOT to tarmac the section of the Cole Green Way from St Mary's Lane Hertingfordbury to Hertford Viaduct.

Hertford County Council are resurfacing the track from St Mary's Lane Hertingfordbury to Hertford Viaduct using TARMAC. This will result in urbanisiation of a natural rural route that currently benefits multi recreational users and is already sufficient for this purpose; it will also impact wild life and the natural environment.
Many people use this track but this surface change is being implemented for predominantly the commenting cyclist.
Is this a good way to way to use financial resources?

These are the main points of concern:-

Impact to wildlife and natural environment.

Increase in speed of cyclists making it unsafe for families, dog walkers and horse riders potentially causing conflict. Cyclists may feel they have priority. During lockdown this was an extremely popular route, speeding cyclists would have been hazardous.

Surface would be slippery and dangerous in icy weather especially as there's a lack of sunlight through the trees. This would particularly affect both cyclists and horse riders.

Aesthetically would look out of place in a woodland environment.

Other surfaces to tarmac not adequately investigated. Flexi pave was ruled out but other alternative surfaces could be investigated.

Biased to the needs to the commuting cyclist over and above other users.

Alternative routes via the old coach road not thoroughly investigated.

High cost solution, has there been any analysis done on exactly how many people on average this is being provided for against total amount of users. Horse riders use track on a daily basis but how many commuting cyclists will there be?

What maintenance plans are there, leaves will build up on tarmac, where as breakdown naturally now.

Trying to raise awareness as consultation and plan wouldn’t make you think tarmac would be the result. Not sure the public/users of this route are fully aware it’s resulted in tarmac. The petition will be a true representation of people’s feelings.

This Paper petition was received on 02/12/2020.

245 people signed this Paper petition.

Council response

Petition response, Cole Green Way resurfacing

After careful consideration of all available options,?Hertfordshire County Council has made the decision to proceed with the planned Cole Green Way surface upgrade between St Mary’s Lane,?Hertingfordbury?and the Hertford Viaduct.

The Cole Green Way is a redundant railway line which forms part of the National Cycle Network and links Hertford and Welwyn Garden City. Between Hertford Viaduct and the A414 to the west the Cole Green Way is owned and managed by the County Council.

The Cole Green Way provides a traffic free route for active travel between Welwyn Garden City and Hertford, connecting existing and potential future communities and with onward links beyond in both directions. It is also a popular recreational route for a broad range of user groups.

Improvement actions to be implemented on the Cole Green Way were set out in the Cole Green Way Greenspace Action Plan 2018-23, published after careful consideration of the feedback received during two stages of community and stakeholder engagement. The intention of the plan is to improve the route for all users, while prioritising active travel. The plan is clearly aligned with the aspirations of Local Transport Plan 4 (LTP4), which provides the overarching policy direction, prioritising infrastructure improvements which encourage a switch to modes of active travel, such as walking and?cycling.

To achieve the aspiration set out in LTP4 of encouraging a move to active travel options for short to medium journeys, it will be necessary in some locations to seal previously unsealed surfaces in rural settings. This is dictated by the geography of Hertfordshire where the majority of population and destinations are within a number of market towns between which our residents must travel.

Encouraging non-motorised travel, in place of the car, contributes to our achievement of?reduced carbon emissions,?identified in the Sustainable Hertfordshire Strategy and forms part of our response to the Climate Emergency?declaration.?

Resurfacing plans strike a balance along the route between the needs of different user groups. The section of the route in the ownership of the County Council is to be resurfaced in its entirety. Approximately three quarters will be resurfaced with recycled crushed concrete, an unsealed surface; part of this work was completed in 2019.

The final 900m section of the route between St Mary’s Lane, Hertingfordbury and Hertford Viaduct is to be resurfaced with hot rolled asphalt (HRA), bringing it up to the minimum acceptable standard for the National Cycle Network. This surface solution was selected after careful technical consideration of alternative options in relation to the geographical setting, including unbound and flexible bound products. A longitudinally split surfacing approach cannot be accommodated due to width limitations arising from the original railway cutting construction.

HRA can be machine laid and allows for the installation of a central camber to aid drainage. HRA was chosen over alternative macadam products to reduce the negative impact on equestrians. This is a conventional choice for road surfaces, whereas standard macadam used on footways and cycleways is asphalt concrete, which has a smoother surface with less grip.

The proposed works will also include extensive improvements to drainage, which will work in combination with the central camber to minimise the chance of water sitting on the surface and the risk of ice. Maintenance will be undertaken to keep the surface clear and in good useable condition.

This short section provides a traffic free route for cyclists into Hertford and links to the Old Coach Road / Hertingfordbury Road, completing a sealed route between Welwyn Garden City and Hertford. The improvements will meet the minimum specification for the National Cycle Network and the LTP4 objective for active travel.

Other alternative routes from Hertingfordbury to Hertford were considered, however these include busy on-road sections and multiple road crossings which cannot be made comparably safe or appealing for cyclists.

The County Council remains committed to the Cole Green Way as a shared use route. This has already been promoted through installation of bespoke shared use signage and maximising the width of the new surface to provide users with as much space as possible to share safely. Railway heritage features as well as car parking for recreational use have been updated and upgraded over the previous two years. Proactive woodland management has been instigated during this period to support the ongoing development of tree stocks and enhance associated biodiversity.

The sealed surfacing is entirely funded by a grant from the Department for Transport distributed by SUSTRANS, a national charity committed to making it easier to walk and cycle.