Friday, 8 November 2013

Busway neglect - latest photos of debris

This week I've been in contact with my two local County Councillors about the dire state of the cycle track, especially between St Ives and Fen Drayton.

There is a lot of tree debris lying on the track, made worse by the recent gales. In the last  few days, a Council maintenance team has been working on the track. They've strimmed the verges for about 300 metres either side of the Ouse Viaduct, and have left the track covered in even more debris, including chopped up bits of bramble (puncture hazard!). The solar lights are still covered by vegetation encroaching from the verges,  and now also with strimmed debris.

Here are a couple of photos showing the state of the track BEFORE the Council team has worked on it.




And here are some taken AFTER the team has done its not very good work.





Photo below was taken on 18 November, after the maintenance team had cleared away vegetation around the lights. Note that they haven't cut the entire verge back, just a small patch at each light. Most likely the leaves and debris will soon encroach on the lights again.


38 comments:

  1. Yes made a right hash of that didn't they. Imagine how it felt coming back into that the other night and path disappeared. I emailed the county Councillors who sit for the areas all along the busway. One reply (just ccd me in) to another person not me. Didn't say much though, but my email pointed out the lack of use that HOG thing is getting.

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  2. Maybe they don't have any brushes for Multihog!

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  3. normal pavement sweepers would suffice, but didn't they state when they brought it, that it would be used for the cycle paths in and around the city all year round!

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  4. Truly awful, had to brake at the top before the dip back to the bus stop and nearly went over on the stuff. Slippery as hell. Monday I will be emailing the County Cycling Officer.

    I just don't get it, they have had all summer to keep on top of it, and yet wait for the one of the more darker, wetter times to do it. I had just started clearing the stuff from the lights on my way home over a few evenings, when they had done it!

    Maybe they should start re surfacing roads when its snowing!

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  5. Yep I hit the debri at 20mph and nearly came off my bike and then a had a puncture! I did phone up the busway team the following day and they said they would ask the contractor to clean it up but they didn't!

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  6. I've heard back from Councillor Bullen who is contacting the 'officer' concerned. He says 'Clearly, we must check the work of our contractors before signing anything off' - which is as it should be.

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  7. I examined this stretch this morning. Seems to me that the contractors brief was just to cut the grass but not to restore the path to its full width or leave it usable.

    I don't think a sweeper will be able to clear the sides of the path - because some of the creeping weeds are still attached by their roots! It appears they have used a strimmer with the head horizontal about 50mm above the ground, which does not clear low creeping vegetation. Some edge trimming is still required.

    I also noted a an extra thick bramble halfway up the slope to the viaduct which was clearly too much for the strimmer to cut through, and the end of the remaining piece is nearly 0.5m onto the path - this was not apparent until you kick back the debris and find out where the edge really is!

    I noted along beside the lakes it appeared somebody had cleared around some of the studlights to improve visibility, and I did the same with my feet to some studlights in the stretch between St Ives and the viaduct.

    Is anyone able to meet a councillor at the site and show them the issues?

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  8. Has anyone been on the busway this weekend? Just wondered if it's been cleaned up? If not then I will let you know in the morning

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  9. No change as far as I could see from the bus this morning.

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  10. Was definitely just as bad this afternoon - Sunday 10th Nov - to the north of Fen Drayton Lakes Busway stop. (South of there is all clear)

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  11. Today (Monday 11th November) the maintenance team was working along the next section towards Fen Drayton. They had strimmed the verges, and there were small heaps of debris at intervals, which suggests that they'd done some sweeping up.

    However, I could see no evidence that they'd cleared vegetation off the solar lights.

    Updates from cyclists would be welcome.

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  12. I've run out of tubes patches and gas, waiting for my wiggle order before I brave puncture alley again!

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  13. Still bad, but most of it has been cut but its all over, but I was cycling with my mates, one of which had very good lights so could not see if the solar ones were still under cover. Hopefully get a better look tomorrow.

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  14. I have ridden the busway this morning and this evening and I also noticed that they had cut the verges again! And they still haven't cleared it properly. It's definitely puncture alley! Perhaps I should send county council an invoice for inner tubes

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  15. @Kevin, so its your bunch with those super bright lights, do they not have a dip setting? Whenever someone ever rides down the busway with those, everyone coming towards them get blinded, even worse if helmet mounted.

    Path was a mess this morning and really hard to find in the heavy rain, my shoe covers were totally covered in cutting debris and not just dirt.

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  16. @james Barlow. Not me mate, that's the first time I have ever ridden homw with them with them coming home I am 99.99% on my own, sorry mate! I only did it cause I got a puncture and they caught up. I I can't even say my light is bright either being a tight Yorkshire man, I don't have any of that fancy stuff just a cheap light that just about gets me home! But I do sympathise because I suffer the same problem. Some people have lights that I think come from police helicopters!!! :)

    anyway its still bad but better now its drying up.

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  17. Well the busway has still got debri on it but it's getting better after the rain this morning and other cyclists riding over the debri, I'm just dreading when they cut the rest of it! However the solar lights are still covered so it can be difficult to see the the cycle lane at times

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  18. Nearly ended up in the verge after I lost the path, no definition when it's covered in debris and no lights. Had another puncture yesterday, that's 3 in a week and I have brand new GATORSKINS, so this morning I i went by road and I will come back road until I hear better news. I'm also going to invoice The County Council for Tubes, Gas and Tyres!

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  19. Good luck with the Council. Make sure you let your local councillor know what's been going on.

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  20. Paul Bullen reply, almost instant.

    Hi James,

    I've passed your concerns to the officer responsible and will keep you updated on any progress.

    Regards,

    Paul

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  21. I have also emailed Mike Davies, Cambridgeshire County Council’s cycling projects team leader, who organised the night-time cycle ride along the busway in April to "celebrate the installation of new lighting along the guided busway"

    At the time Mike said "The solar studs make it brighter and easier for those cycling at night between Cambridge and St Ives. This cycle ride will demonstrate what a great addition the lights are to the route, and will hopefully encourage more people to cycle even when it’s dark."

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  22. Let's hope they listen, I spoke to the busway team last week after the first cutting job by the contractor and they said it would get sorted! Clearly it hasn't and I wonder if they really care

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  23. Got a puncture this evening at swaversey thanks to those fellow cyclists that offered to help, didn't realise how cold it was it only took 5 minutes and I was freezing

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  24. I've had an email from Campbell Ross-Bain,
    Bus Operations & Facilities Manager at the County Council, apologising for 'the poor execution of this relatively simple task' .

    Here is what he wrote: 'The specific order to the contractors was to ensure that the grass etc. was cut away from the solar lighting and blown or swept away. We need to check all the lights to make sure they are all functioning.
    I spoke again with the contractors on Tuesday to state that we were receiving complaints and that the debris had not been sufficiently cleared away. I received an apology and a confirmation that this would be done.
    I checked the area between the Lakes stop and Swavesey yesterday and found the cutting to be satisfactory. However we inspected the area between the lakes and the viaduct this morning and the photos we have taken match the ones you took on Friday.
    This is clearly unacceptable. I have been unable to contact the contractors this afternoon and have taken the decision to call in another grounds maintenance contractor that undertakes work on behalf of our Rights Of Way Team, to clear up the area between the lakes and the viaduct. We will be meeting the new contractor tomorrow morning.'

    So, a very good result now seems to be on the way. Thanks to all blog readers who complained to their councillors or Council officials.

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  25. Andrew,

    That sounds very promising!

    I cycled along this afternoon. The worst bit for debris is still the dip between the viaduct and St. Ives Park & Ride which he doesn't mention - I hope they don't miss that bit!

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  26. David is right, they seem to have cleared debris on the later parts that have been cut, but not the first bit they did. Now they just have to speed it up, as there is lots of areas the full length to Cambridge that need doing.

    I had the same email response.

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  27. Well it's still the same, debris was swept away, lights still not uncovered, basically nothing has been done since Friday. They don't even have to cut the whole verge, just uncover the lights!

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  28. I've added another photo (above) which I took yesterday, showing what James is talking about - how they've cleared back some of the vegetation to uncover the lights. I agree with James, there are still a lot of lights not uncovered. I'm also concerned that in a short time, leaves and debris will cover the lights again.

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  29. That's nice, uncover the light so you think the path is wider than it really is! How about cutting it back to the edge all the way along the busway, a crew of four could have that done in a couple of days, no need to cut the whole the verge.

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  30. That's a jobs worth approach to clearing the busway! That said it is getting better, but I do agree with you about 4 people spending some time to cut the verges, they would have wrapped up in a couple of days. There only going to spend more time and money at this rate.

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  31. Today (19 Nov) I received an email from Campbell Ross-Bain. This confirms what he sent to Andrew on 14th, but adds:

    "They (the contractors) have a sweeper attachment on a mini tractor which should give us a satisfactory clean. We hope that this will take place later this week."

    I do wonder if the sweeper will be strong enough to break the weeds from their roots!

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  32. Well, it's later this week and even though part of the busway looks clean they have clearly missed the bit after the viaduct

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  33. I have just written again, stating that cutting around a light is no good, as you approach you cannot see it still!

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  34. Looks like they have started to trim back right to the edge and not just around the lights. This happened the day I wrote to them. Still several kilometers to go though, might all be done by Easter!

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  35. They were working between Longstanton and Oakington today, cutting the wide verge between the bus track and the cycle track. I was on the bus and couldn't see if they were sweeping up the debris.

    I noticed also that there are a lot of leaves obscuring the lights near Histon, just opposite the jam factory.

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  36. Cycled from St Ives after dark this evening and I could see all the studlights until I got to the tall trees by Fendrayton lakes where freshly fallen leaves had obscured a few. Fendrayton to Swavesey there are still quite a few obscured, and it needs the same treatment.

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  37. I would have thought "punishment" for the contractors should include all of them having to cycle from Histon to St Ives....or vice versa

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