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Residents living on busy Swansea road say new shared-use path ‘will be a nightmare’

PEOPLE living on a busy road in Swansea said they didn’t want the pavement widened and carriageway narrowed to create a new path for cyclists and pedestrians.

Penllegaer residents protest new shared-use footpath

Those with drives said they were worried about colliding with passing cyclists when they pulled out while others bemoaned the loss of roadside parking when the new shared-use path is created in Gorseinon Road, Penllergaer.

Swansea Council wants to make it easier for people to cycle from Penllergaer to nearby Gorseinon and said Gorseinon Road – the A4240 – was the most direct route.

Starting in the east of Penllergaer, the 1.7-mile path will comprise an off-road cycle lane between Swansea Road and Phoenix Way, which will be segregated from pedestrians. It’ll then be a shared-use path on the south side of Gorseinon Road to just past the junction with Gelli-Gynore. At that point the design shows the shared-use path continuing on the north side of Gorseinon Road where it’ll join Heol Y Mynydd, Gorseinon.

The council said the choice of a segregated section between Swansea Road and Phoenix Way followed safety concerns which were raised during a consultation. It said it had been in close touch with residents and other stakeholders about the design of the scheme – a process which it said would result in improved crossings and more “formal” parking bays, as well as the cyclist-pedestrian segregation near Swansea Road.

But some people living in Gorseinon Road felt their concerns hadn’t been taken on board. One of them, Catherine Bell, reckoned she wouldn’t be able to park on her drive because pulling onto the road with cyclists passing on the new shared-use path “will be a nightmare”.

She said of the scheme: “I just don’t think it’s a good idea. It’s the safety side of it.”

Ellie O’Connor, who lives a few doors up, said she felt Gorseinon Road was already too narrow for the existing traffic. “You have juggernauts 24/7 – HGVs, farm transporters,” she said.

She said she was concerned for residents who normally parked on the south side of Gorseinon Road because they would have to park instead on the other side when the new shared-use path was built. She said she wasn’t against cycle paths and felt a better option for one in Penllergaer was within a huge housing scheme which is getting under way on fields south of Gorseinon Road.

Another Gorseinon Road resident, Ron Aston, said he felt speed cameras would be a better option because it would slow traffic and therefore make cyclists feel safer on the road.

Clive Goddard, of Gorseinon Road, said the shared-use path should be scrapped. “It’s beyond a joke – you can’t get in and out of your drive at the moment because the road is so busy and because of the speed of the traffic,” he said.

Mair Phillips, of Gorseinon Road, agreed. “I can’t get out of my drive,” she said.

No-one said they opposed cycle paths. Gareth Wyn Jones, of Gorseinon Road, said environmentally-friendly measures like cycle routes should be encouraged. But he felt the shared-use path was badly thought-out and claimed it, along with a narrower carriageway, could be dangerous. “I’m appalled,” he said.

Marlene Colwill and Andy Taylor, both of nearby Gors Road, also objected. “Massive vehicles go past all day,” said Mrs Colwill. “How are fire engines going to get through?” said Mr Taylor.

The council said the Penllergaer to Gorseinon link will connect with cycle routes at either end and formed part of a wider cycle network for the county which is gradually being knitted together. It said the carriageway in Gorseinon Road will still be sufficient for larger vehicles after the project was completed.

Swansea Council has secured considerable Welsh Government funding to design and build shared-use and cycle paths in recent years. The bike industry is booming and this infrastructure is seen as key to getting more people active and reducing congestion.

Cllr Andrew Stevens, cabinet member for environment and infrastructure, said: “This route will provide local off-road access to employment, education, shops, services and other amenities and will link to other active travel routes on the A48 to the east and running north and south of Gorseinon. It’s the most direct and convenient route for pedestrians and cyclists between Penllergaer and Gorseinon and provides safer walking and cycling facilities for people using the route.

“Feedback given through the consultation and engagement has resulted in the following modifications being incorporated into the proposals.”

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