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Choose How You Move - hollow Council rhetoric


twowheelsgood
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This is the reality of cycling in and around Hereford (and the County at large). Potholes and dangerous surfaces everywhere. Take your eyes off the road for a second and, at best, you've lost a tyre (3 this year so far - £105) or, worse, you're off and costing the NHS a lot of money.

 
This is Three Elms Road - the surface of which up by Grandstand Road can only be safely cycled by moving into the middle of the road. Potholes can't be seen when it rains, making things even more dangerous, because gullies are no longer cleared, meaning surface water builds up very quickly along the sides of roads.
 
Still, at least this hole has a white circle around it for a passing Balfor Bodger to aim a shovel of tarmac at. Don't get me started on marked up potholes that never get filled - that must be some sort of racket.
 
Perhaps we can use this thread to record some of the daily hazards that cyclists face - for a tiny fraction of the money spent on the SLR, for instance, we could have safer surfaces that would encourage more people to cycle and reduce car use.

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I for various reasons are a retired cyclist - one of the main reasons is the apparent danger of cycling on our country roads , I live 4 miles to the north west of the city , a number of motorists have complete disregard for cyclists , overtaking them with a few inches to spare . Another problem , as I see it , lands fair and square in the Council Highways Dept for not supervision the Utility Companies and others who dig holes in the road for whatever reason and do a bodge job when filling in , quick example is the trench dug across Whitecross Road through the Pelican Crossing by the Monument Roundabout . Very poorly filled in . But who in any sort of Authority cares - it's apparent to me that nobody cares .

 

Keep banging your drum Twowheelgood , perhaps somebody in the Council or Councillor might listen and do something - just don't hold your breath.

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Yes, you're right about the surface just there - I just liked the irony of the pothole right in the middle of the cycle wheel - perhaps this should be symbol for our new pressure group.

 

The present group, who should be campaigning to pressure the Council to address this failure by BBLP, go under the collective name of 'Councillors' I believe, but it seems that they have no interest in the cause.

 

Interesting to read the Destination Hereford Phase 2 (DH2) bid for funding (which we don't seem to know the outcome of yet - should have been announced in April) - lots of good things in principal, yet no where does it mention the actual conduit for moving around - the road system- and how that is fundamentally failing. Until this is really sorted, its all just box ticking in my view.

 

"Herefordshire is a great county for cyclists. It's not too hilly, our weather is mild, and, for many people, school, college, work and local shops are just a comfortable bike ride away." Choose How You Move

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I had a survey thing posted to me yesterday about transport from the council. More money wasted as we already done this a few years back and also the council have decided what they are going to do, so what ever we say will make no difference. 

 

Also, when I said about cycling in the city I got laid into and yet now people on here are more or less saying what I said.

 

Make up your minds.

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GWW Opposite rowing club is dangerously overgrown. Overhanging/fallen trees. And the loop by the tennis courts is like polished glass in the wet. To be fair the GWW is the safest & best "road" surface to cycle on in the county. And the new holmelacy rd is a joke. Cyclists still have to dodge in and out. Where is the cycle lane? A farce in its entirety. HC and BB haven't a clue.

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Ah, yes, the Holme Lacy Road "improvement". A lesson in how to irritate the greatest number.

 

There was a bus stop, with bus shelter, outside Tescos (the Gamecock). The bus shelter has been left where it was, and a wide pavement put in front of it, with a kerb step at the roadside for access to the bus. However:

  • bus passengers have no protection from the rain as they move from shelter to bus - and, given the number of older bus users, it will take them longer (and they will get wetter);
  • cyclists will have to dodge them.as they use what I presume to be the space for the cycle path;
  • drivers will have to wait behind the bus,

There would clearly have been space for a bus bay, so the shelter could have been moved to the roadside, and the cycle path could have gone round the back of it. 

 

Would that have been too imaginative?

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Because of being in the EU contractors do have a problem and that is the strict guidelines imposed on them they cannot just turn up and repair a job.They have strict protocol one being chapter 8 which all the staff have to be trained in this is so that when for example the problem in the picture at three elms is . Under chapter 8 they have to carry out a risk assessment how much signage do they need do they need traffic control how many members of staff required how long will it take to complete the job yes all that and it goes on and on.The staff do not like it but that is EU regulations if the staff make one error it is instant dismissal so before we all have a go the staff work under strict rules and regulations it is so different to what it was when my husband worked in civil engineering in the 70s.One interesting point to note yesterday the crew from Ross were sent to floodgates to do a job which had already been done.Does the council pay twice ?

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Mentioned above is the disregard that some motorists have towards cyclists.

Here is another example...

Saturday morning, just gone (2nd July 2016) I was out for a bike ride, nice and early to start the day...

I decided to ride up Aylestone Hill from the A4103 roundabout.  Now, just past Aylestone Park, going up the hill towards town there is a painted cycle lane...  Parked half on the pavement and most of the way over the cycle lane was......  A driving instructor!?!  What chance is there for anybody?

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Ah, yes, the Holme Lacy Road "improvement". A lesson in how to irritate the greatest number.

 

There was a bus stop, with bus shelter, outside Tescos (the Gamecock). The bus shelter has been left where it was, and a wide pavement put in front of it, with a kerb step at the roadside for access to the bus. However:

  • bus passengers have no protection from the rain as they move from shelter to bus - and, given the number of older bus users, it will take them longer (and they will get wetter);
  • cyclists will have to dodge them.as they use what I presume to be the space for the cycle path;
  • drivers will have to wait behind the bus,

There would clearly have been space for a bus bay, so the shelter could have been moved to the roadside, and the cycle path could have gone round the back of it. 

 

Would that have been too imaginative?

 

This project is a tragic waste of limited resources - nothing but a sea of tarmac and traffic lights - the limit of BBLP's imagination and councillors interest. As for cycling provision - pah - they must have looked in the book of really stupid designs because this is some of the worst provision in the City. In fact, it's positively dangerous. I'll get some photos and report back - and yes, the stupid little lanes are already blocked by cars (not that any half sane person on a bike would use them anyway).

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Whilst you all carry out the campaign to have pothole etc repaired to an acceptable standard ( which I agree with ) please try and educate cyclists to wear helmets - today I drove along the Tillington Road towards the village , riding in same direction down the hill to the bend where the Travellers used to live was a woman on a pedal cycle , I presume the mother of the child in the child seat behind her , neither were wearing safety helmets , the child was aged no more than 2 years old - I think that was very irresponsible of the mother , I accept that it's a free world but we all know that if there was a collision the child may well finish up,seriously injured with head injuries.

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Helmets save lives!

I came off, off road admittedly, bounced off a tree, slid 20yds on my side and a large rock stopped me in my tracks. I got up dusted myself down and kissed my helmet! Immediately went home and spent £30 on another helmet, no questions!!post-1208-0-36154600-1467668677_thumb.jpegpost-1208-0-76263200-1467669066_thumb.jpeg

Should be made compulsory like in many countries. Save the NHS money too!

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Okay TWG, last word on helmets...  Please?

I always, always wear my TSG lid.  And I make sure my son always wears his,

And, i actively encourage friends who are cyclist to wear a helmet also.

Having seen a friend of a friend fall off, at a very low speed (less than 5mph) and bang his head causing serious brain injuries, it's better to be safe, in my opinion.

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Ah, the "improvements" on Holme Lacy Road (and I use the word very loosely) - as a driver it's, well, what was the point of it? as a cyclist, well, I have spotted about 10 feet of cycle lane, or are we supposed to contravene the highway code and ride on the footpath? Why didn't they reduce the width of the footpaths they have created by 2 feet each side, use the excess tarmac to fill the potholes as you come round the lights by the Broadleys,and provide some proper cycle lanes (skirting around the bus stops, as has been mentioned) - at the moment it's pretty pointless waste of money and effort from what I can see.

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Some extra-ordinary ineptness and absolutely no joined up thinking here - this is where Fir Tree Lane at Rotherwas was effectively cut in half by the new Skylon View Road. Fair enough, but where is the provision for cyclists and pedestrians? The Greenway cycle path is on the other side of the gate, the new Archive Centre is on this side - you can either get off your bike and climb through a makeshift gap in the hedge or cycle three sides of a large square to get to the Archive Centre, crossing a junction on the way. Why a gate? Just some bollards would have done the job. 

 

Choose How You Move, but don't be surprised to find a gate in the way.

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  • 2 weeks later...

If the council want more cyclists then they better plan more useful routes, not like the haphazard and frankly dangerous Holme Lacy Road. As the Belmont Road is being churned up again this week, no doubt more bycyclists will be taking to GWW. This has in places been reduced to single file and dangerous due to overhanging BRAMBLES, hedgerow and trees; especially between Hunderton & Old bridge. Just recently it has also become an oblivious wanderers paradise due to some new phone game!! Needless to say I've nearly skittled a few teenagers who randomly change direction with their head stuck in a phone!

It won't take a tractor 5mins to trim it back. Is this too much to ask? Oh and please clear up the thorns afterwards. Wouldn't want a claim put in from some dog owner with a pooch with a saw paw or angry bycyclist with with a double flat!!

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If the council want more cyclists then they better plan more useful routes, not like the haphazard and frankly dangerous Holme Lacy Road. As the Belmont Road is being churned up again this week, no doubt more bycyclists will be taking to GWW. This has in places been reduced to single file and dangerous due to overhanging BRAMBLES, hedgerow and trees; especially between Hunderton & Old bridge. Just recently it has also become an oblivious wanderers paradise due to some new phone game!! Needless to say I've nearly skittled a few teenagers who randomly change direction with their head stuck in a phone!

It won't take a tractor 5mins to trim it back. Is this too much to ask? Oh and please clear up the thorns afterwards. Wouldn't want a claim put in from some dog owner with a pooch with a saw paw or angry bycyclist with with a double flat!!

Yes, the vegetation on that section of the riverside path is making progress difficult - particularly as there is a curve in the track where the overgrowth is worst, creating a complete blind spot. Apart from anything else, it's creating a dangerous environment where ne're-do-wells can lurk and pounce on the unsuspecting. Why do we have to lodge complaints with the Council to get stuff like this sorted? It's vegetation - it grows - put it in the schedule to trim it!

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Yes, the vegetation on that section of the riverside path is making progress difficult - particularly as there is a curve in the track where the overgrowth is worst, creating a complete blind spot. Apart from anything else, it's creating a dangerous environment where ne're-do-wells can lurk and pounce on the unsuspecting. Why do we have to lodge complaints with the Council to get stuff like this sorted? It's vegetation - it grows - put it in the schedule to trim it!

The vegetation is also encroaching across the cycleway at Rotherwas. But you are correct TWG why do we have to complain about stuff like this.

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The problem is there is NO money to do these things

 

The problem is we have paid for it to be done via the Council Tax! I've just spent two weeks cycling in Gwynedd - wow, the contrast with Herefordshire could not be greater. A smaller population (120k v 180k) over a much larger area, yet the roads are near perfect, the verges are cut, pavements are smooth (and clean), there is NO litter, the street bins are emptied every day, the toilets are open and free, the car parks are reasonably priced and a lot are free, there are regular buses, there are tourist offices and so on. Big difference - they haven't hived off their essential services to profit led private companies. We have no money because at least 25% profit is going to BBLP and others to distribute to shareholders rather than to do what we have paid for. As mgelliland has highlighted elsewhere, £2-£4m a MONTH is going to BBLP alone - what on earth is that being spent on?

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Strangely enough Slim I was told the same today they have no money left in their budget.  I do not know when their financial year starts/end but hard(er) times ahead.  Nobody in HC seems to be holding BBLP to  account whether HC have lost the will or whether they have not the know how I do not know.  

 

I wonder how the case is going with Amey and off topic how the Council farm enquiry is going.  There is much going on at HC and not all good!

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Considering BBLP is rumoured to be running out of money from reading above - details in the Herefordshire Council's Contracts Register 2016 suggest that more money could be coming their way in the future. Originally told that the BBLP contract was going to cost us £200,000,000 over 10 years it looks as if all those involved at the council and BBLP are already considering extending the contract and cost. Judging by their performance to date I hope that their contract at review is terminated. It appears that the management of the company is unfit for purpose and a complete waste of money for the local taxpayer. A classic example of the private sector sucking money out of the system to line the pockets of its major shareholders who have no idea what a brush and shovel is used for. Witness the state of the city and county roads and estates - a total disgrace.

 

Item 24 in spreadsheet

 

Reference No.

DN83169 (CS-DSIN-9XRG4F)

 

Contract Title

Public Realm Service Contract

 

Directorate

Economy, communities and corporate

 

Department

Highways and Community Services

 

Contracts Manager

Walter Longden

 

Brief Description

Highway management services, Highways maintenance and improvement works, traffic management, street lighting, street cleaning, public rights of way, land drainage and flood risk management, associated professional services, parks and open spaces, fleet management, public realm asset management, customer support services, public realm ICT solutions.  

 

Supplier Name

"Balfour Beatty Living Places"

 

Address

"Balfour Beatty Living Places Pavilion B, Ashwood Park, Ashwood Way, Basingstoke, Hampshire RG23 8BG

www.bblivingplaces.com"

 

Status SME/VCS

N/A

 

Registration Number

2067112

 

Estimated Contract Value £000

400,000

 

Estimated Annual Value £000

20,000

 

VAT not recoverable

N/A

 

Start Date

01/09/2013

 

End Date

31/08/2023

 

Review Date

30/08/2020

 

Option to Extend Y/N

Y

 

Extension End Date

31/08/2033

 

Quotation or Tender

Tender

 

Nature of Contract

Service

 

Funding Source

Council Funded

 

Sector Type

Private Sector

 

Comments

"The Public Realm Contract has a minimum term of 120 months (10 years) and a maximum term of 240 months (20 years) if all available extension options are taken.  

 

The value of the contract is estimated at between £200,000,000 and £1,000,000,000. The lower estimate is based on £20,000,000 per annum over the first 10 years of the contract period for the core services. On this basis the Contracting Authority’s spend over the maximum term of the contract is broadly but realistically estimated to be £400,000,000. 

 

An additional allowance of £100,000,000 has been included for the commissioning of any Non-Core services and any increase in spend for reasons which cannot be accurately predicted at this time. Plus a further allowance of £500,000,000 has been included to cover any usage by Contracting Authorities."

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We have just come back from a holiday to North Wales as soon as you come out of Herefordshire into Wales there are hardly any potholes the roads are lovely.So why is it they can keep the roads in such good condition and Hereford can't.They should employ the firm who maintain the roads in Wales.And now they have made redundancies I should think the roads are going to get a lot worse.

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I agree that the undergrowth and low hanging tree branches along the cycle ways in Hereford are really bad. You need to wear a helmet cycling up the Holmer path to protect your head from the tree branches that strike you as you go along - and I am not that tall! GWW around Aldi  is now very overgrown again and like others I dont like using it now as there are no clear sight lines if there are any unsavoury characters hanging around or even other walkers & cyclists ahead on what is now a narrow path. Surely there is some sort of cutting programme?

In view of the state of the Three Elms road surface I would say there is no reason that I can see that BB are anywhere near maintaining the road surfaces in a safe condition and notice should be given that they must be failing their contract terms. I have heard that no one is currently controlling budgets and transport spending as highways maintenance money has apparently been hived off to help fund some of the Council's capital projects such as the City Link Road and the Southern Link Road. I thought Central Government had given specific money for pot hole repairs and it shouldn't be used for anything else, so how do Herefordshire Council manage to get away with this? 

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