Campaigners in Cardiff say more pavements and pathways to schools and workplaces should be gritted every day during icy conditions.
Cardiff City Council’s current plans for dealing with icy conditions includes gritting 600 miles of road and major pathways including popular streets like Queen Street and Mary Street.
But there are only 19 pedestrian walkways in the plan, mainly in the city centre. Lib Dem Councillor for Pentwyn and Cardiff spokesperson for strategic planning & transport, Emma Sandrey, said that she doesn’t think it’s good enough.
“Considering the council’s got a policy of moving towards a 50/50 transport mode split, if we want people to walk, cycle, get the bus, get the train to work or school, then, we need to be gritting the paths so that they’ve got a safe route to get there.”
Ellen Jones, Senior Policy Advisor at the charity Sustrans, that campaigns for sustainable transport, says they want Cardiff to adopt a plan like the one used in Copenhagen (See image above).
“Here in Cardiff we would like for all of the cycle paths to be cleared of ice before 8am in the morning… to ensure that people who are commuting to work or to education can actually feel safe.”
Cardiff Council have said it’s not possible to salt all roads and paths in the city. But the the Council has bought a gritter for the Taff Trail, a popular pathway for cyclists and pedestrians which has been iced over during cold weather.
Campaigner Chris Roberts, who works with a group called Cardiff Cycle City says they’ve been working with the council to get this new gritter but there are concerns over cost issues.
“As well as being really grateful for the purchase of the machine, there’s still a lot of work to do in persuading the Council that we need bikes to be treated in the same way as cars and the gritting exercise for bike to be just as extensive as it is for cars, and really for us to do that, we need to keep on campaigning”.
However, Councillor Sandrey says that the lack of grit on popular pathways encourages more people to jump into cars rather than walking or cycling.