This post is one of our Missing Links series, where we’ll be detailing how the existing cycling network could be made more joined up. The aim is to make it easy for people to cycle safely anywhere they need to go, making the bike a true practical alternative to the car for shorter journeys in Dumfries.
The Moffat Road – like the Lockerbie Road – is not an easy road to cycle and nor is it an easy road to do much to improve it for cyclists. It is too narrow along much of its length for proper cycle provision, and it’s too busy to make it comfortable for cycling along without it, especially where there are cars parked along it, buses, driveways, and impatient drivers. On the whole, most cyclists locally avoid it – but this can mean going out of their way, using the Caledonian cycle path and the St. Mary’s Industrial Estate road (which means mixing with delivery vehicles).
One change which we’ve already covered, is the need to complete the path from the High School to the Caledonian Cycleway. This is still awaiting completion, because it was due to be finished by the developer of the new houses which got put on hold back in 2008. We will be pressing both the council and the developer to finish this work as soon as possible. It seems to us a ridiculous waste of money to build half a path and then leave it going nowhere – an entire intake of High School students will have come and gone before this path has been completed. Once this has been done, cyclists will be able to get all the way to the school avoiding the Moffat Road and – by cutting through to the Birchwood Road as suggested by a commenter on our last post – can then also avoid the worst bits of the Lockerbie Road as well if they are heading that way.
On the other side of the Moffat Road, there’s another shortcut through the Auction Mart which is widely used by pedestrians, indicating a major desire line. It takes you from Huntingdon Road to Greystone Crescent, and from there onto the Caledonian Cycleway, avoiding using the industrial estate (which because of HGV traffic, we wouldn’t recommend for cyclists). As this crosses private land, it would need permission from the owners, and the narrow gates at either end would need to be replaced, and the path itself could be upgraded. This doesn’t necessarily have to establish a right of way, unless one has already been established by custom.
Ultimately it would be better if the Moffat Road itself could be made more civilised – through a combination of a 20mph limit or cutting through traffic (as we suggested for the Lockerbie Road). However, providing these direct and well-signposted parallel routes will do a lot to make cycling a realistic alternative to using the car.