By Dominic Williams | News Editor
In March 2020, Cardiff Council held a public consultation regarding improvements to the Taff Trail. These improvements are set to be located in Hailey Park, between Bridge Road and Ty Mawr Road.
Cardiff has a number of cycling paths in the city and as a city is constantly improving or building new cycling paths. It is anticipated that works will begin in the Spring or early summer, though a date is yet to be confirmed.
The Taff Trail is a 55mile waymarked route for walkers and cyclists running from Cardiff to the Brecon Beacons National Park. The wide range of routes from the Trail is to seek and develop active travel throughout the city.
As of now the path through Hailey Park is formally shared by pedestrians and cyclists, however the proposed work would mean the path being widened and to realign part of it in order to enhance the experience of all path users.
The aim for the council is to provide an improved shared use path facility which enables all park users to move safely within or through the park. Alongside this the path is being made wider and designed to separate pedestrians and cyclists where possible and to remove blind bends and conflict points. Raised sections have been proposed along the path to slow cycle speeds and to identify crossing points especially near the play area at the southern end of the park.
Furthermore, the improved path will follow the alignment of the existing path, however parts of the proposed scheme run along an alternative alignment. At the Northern end the alternative alignment avoids a narrow section of the existing path which passes close to the trees. The existing path will be retained and the Taff Trail will follow the new alignment. At the southern end an alternative alignment is proposed to avoid a number of constraints for example the proximity of trees, existing infrastructure and ecological features. Therefore, this means it is not possible to widen the existing path where it passes between the tennis courts and the River Taff.
A representative of the project said: “The plans in Hailey Park have been a long time coming, we’ve seen in recent years that there has been conflict with park users and some cyclists have been going at a speed that can make pedestrians feel unsafe. This came to a head in 2019 when a resident was very badly injured. The work around improving the Taff Trail in Hailey Park began in 2017 when the Council and Sustrans Cymru surveyed park users, and the Council worked with stakeholders such as Friends of Hailey Park, my self and my ward colleague as Local Councillors and others to draw up plans that would alleviate some of the issues.
“The trail has gained popularity and Hailey Park is a popular destination anyway – but we’re limited by space, protected mushrooms and financial constraints. I’ve argued for alternatives but unfortunately they just aren’t viable at the moment and, as it stands, this is an issue that needs to be addressed. I don’t foresee the plans changing dramatically at this point because we’ve already held a public consultation and changed the plans based on the responses. For me, I don’t see this as being the end but I’m hopeful in the future we can add to safe cycle routes through Llandaff North.
“Cycling in Cardiff has doubled in the last 5 years and there is a growing cycling culture. The new infrastructure is an important part of this as people can see efforts are being made to make it safer for them and their children. I think it’s really positive, for kids in particular, to see this behaviour modelled and normalised for them. Certainly, it’s something I’m mindful for my own children – living by the Taff Trail with a safe route into the city, that I don’t want them to see the car as being their default way of making a journey. And, particularly as a woman, there’s something very liberating and joyful about cycling – that’s certainly how I feel about it! We have a really engaged cycling community in the city and their input and support is invaluable not just to the Local Authority but also to other people who will see them and hopefully want to get out on their bikes too.”