The million-pound-plus project to make a central Hereford street more cycle-friendly is doomed to fail and could even be dangerous for cyclists, a veteran local transport campaigner has claimed.

Amanda Martin, who holds a transport planning qualification from Cardiff University, claimed the work now under way to create a separate cycle lane on one side of St Owen Street does not leave enough space for cyclists, while still forcing them to share road space on the other, and will also put them in conflict with traffic at “poorly designed and dangerous” junctions.

Herefordshire Council recently announced that the cost of the scheme will rise to more than £1 million owing to new measures to make it compliant with government guidance.


“It will cost a fortune, yet is still designed around the assumption that there won't be many cyclists, which defeats the whole object,” Ms Martin said.

Behind this lies the continuing priority given to motor vehicles over other forms of transport, she claimed.

“We need to start changing assumptions about who has priority, with good design that stops speeding with narrow lanes, street furniture, trees, even parking bays, creating a street environment that which requires more vigilant driving to negotiate.”

This would help local businesses, by “creating quieter, more pleasant streets where people will linger”, she claimed.

“We can learn from the Netherlands, where transport planning has been bike-focused for 50 years.”

Instead, the council’s wider city transport plans take “a scattergun, piecemeal approach that reflects a lack of expertise among its officers and public realm contractor”, she said.

The current council administration missed early chances to win the city’s residents over to its transport vision, and now the measures will more likely alienate them, she claimed.

“If you're going to ask people to use their cars less, you have to show them the benefits and what they could have instead, not just impose change on them.”

A Herefordshire Council spokesperson said: “The St Owen Street scheme has been subject to a number of road safety audits, and includes changes recommended by the audit to address safety concerns.

“There is not sufficient width to provide a segregated south east bound lane on the northern side of the street without further impacting footways or the removal of significant numbers of parking spaces, both of which were significant issues to businesses and users on the street.”

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