Like a lot of people, we’re pretty excited at the imminent opening of the new Aldi just off the bypass tomorrow
We were especially happy when we saw that the shop would have a path up from the Maxwelltown Cyclepath, meaning that cyclists and pedestrians could easily get to the store without having to worry about the A75/A76 roundabout. This is pretty forward-thinking for Dumfries retail stores, when you consider that getting to Cuckoo Bridge Retail park by anything other than a car (which also backs on to the cycle path) involves two sets of lights and then crossing right in front of the KFC drive thru exit …
So we were especially disappointed when we saw these barriers on the path, which are not only completely unnecessary, they also contravene design guidelines.
Here’s what Cycling By Design has to say on chicane barriers:
““If staggered (chicane) barriers are used, the arrangement should be designed to slow cyclists rather than force them to dismount. Chicane layouts should provide gaps of at least 3.0 metres between barriers and walls to permit access by tandems, tricycles and child trailers. Tonal contrast banding and night-time reflectivity will normally be required.” It also goes on to state that “Chicanes should be placed at least 5.0 metres from any bend or junction, so riders can approach from straight on.”
As far as we can see, these barriers meet absolutely none of these requirements.
This means that less-able users – like those using the Buddies’ trike – will be unable to get to Aldi independently. This could also be a problem for those using wheelchairs and even pushing double buggies. The visually impaired will find them hard to see, and even someone on a normal bike will be squeezed into conflict with other users of the path as they try and negotiate these obstacles
We’ve contacted Aldi to find out what’s going on and they told us that this was a planning requirement from the council. So we asked the council for the reason why they’ve imposed these barriers – they suggested that cyclists would be expected to dismount and walk up and down the path – even though the cycle parking itself is right at the top near the store.
So what’s going on? We are none the wiser because our questions to the council as to why they have required these barriers have gone unanswered.
What’s really frustrating is that the council should be doing everything it can to make access to and from shops like Aldi from the cycle path as easy as possible. Otherwise new stores like this will just generate more congestion – especially on the bypass. Given the new hospital will be opening soon, also on the bypass (and also with a lack of forethought for the needs of cyclists as the council have refused to put in a light to help them cross the Garroch Loaning), we can only hope that the result won’t be further traffic jams and daily gridlock.
Aldi opens tomorrow – and we’ll definitely be giving it a go to see whether cyclists can indeed negotiate these chicanes. If you encounter problems, let us know and we’ll press hard to get the barriers removed or replaced by something accessible by all.