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Latest Update - September 2017

Politician backs plans for traffic-free route to town

On a busy Sunday Afternoon on Barmouth Bridge local residents and visitors were out making use of the path that stands at the start of the Mawddach Trail.
  
Some were able to stop and chat with Shadow Secretary of State for Wales, Chris Rees MP who was visiting Barmouth to find out more about the proposed new bridge access from members of the Barmouth Viaduct Access Group (BVAG).
  
BVAG members John Smith, Graham Hogg and Jamie Brooks took Chris on the existing route that families, both walking and on bikes, take from Barmouth Harbour and up the busy and narrow A496 as it passes through a twisting gap through to approach the start of the bridge path at Porkington Terrace.
  
Local Town Councillor and BVAG member, Jamie Brooks, explained that BVAG had been campaigning for many years to have a traffic free alternative route from the Harbour alongside the beach to join the bridge near the toll house.
  
Chris Rees, who always enjoys visiting Barmouth, said "The mouth of this estuary is a stunning location, and I'm keen to work with local people looking to make access safer and more enjoyable for visitors. I have been in touch with Cabinet Secretary for Economy and Infrastructure Ken Skates, and I am delighted that he has agreed to look into the issues raised by BVAG and respond in writing to both myself and the group."
  
Barmouth will be celebrating the 150th anniversary of the iconic viaduct on the weekend of 15th October. mpbr
  
Christine Rees (centre) meets with members of the Barmouth Viaduct Access Group.


  

Update - July 2017

Active Travel Plan Wales

Gwynedd Integrated Network Consultation
Barmouth added to the consultation sessions list

A drop-in session on the Active Travel Integrated Network consultation is being held at:

Parlwr Bach,
The Dragon Theatre,
Barmouth
on Friday, 4th August, 9:30am until 4pm.


It’s a chance for you to discuss the integrated network for walking and cycling, or any other aspects of Active Travel as part of the consultation.
More details about the consultation are available here: http://socsi.in/cAlHe


  

Update - July 2017

Active Travel Plan Wales

Gwynedd Integrated Network Consultation
Barmouth Viaduct Access Briefing Paper

1. Active Travel Wales. The Active Travel (Wales) Act 2013 sets a path to help transform our country into an 'active travel nation'.
The Active Travel Act focuses on walking and cycling as a mode of transport, i.e. for purposeful journeys. Purely recreational walking and cycling were not covered by the Act. On the important issue of infrastructure the Welsh Government makes the following comment:
"Availability of good quality walking and cycling infrastructure in places across Wales is essential to achieve our vision. Whilst there are some exemplary routes, current provision tends to be inconsistent, disjointed and in some cases not fit-for-purpose. We need to move from a situation where people walk and cycle despite a lack of suitable infrastructure, to a situation where people choose to walk and cycle, because it is easy, safe and convenient and desirable."
The Welsh Government lists local authorities as key partners who will assist in bringing forward plans hence Gwynedd Council is now in consultation on its proposals for its "Active Travel Integrated Network".
  
2. Gwynedd Council Consultation. On 28 June the Council opened up a 12 week consultation period on the maps it has produced for walking routes and cycling routes. The maps focus on the main centres of population including Barmouth (Barmouth Walking Map; Barmouth Cycling Map) and to be involved in the process people can send an email to

and attend consultation events as follows:

3. Barmouth Viaduct Access The Barmouth Viaduct Access Group (BVAG) are pleased to note that Gwynedd have included adjustments to their draft maps showing what appears to be an alternative to using the A496 between the Harbour and the Bridge. In the case of the cycling map this appears similar to BVAG's proposed access route but in the case of the walking map it is less clear what alternative is being proposed. BVAG have commissioned research and a study which makes very clear that an alternative to the extremely hazardous A496 is needed to link the bridge and Harbourside. It is essential and economically viable. BVAG has also put together the outline of an alternative route, the viability of which has overall been accepted locally.
  
4. Consultation issues
a. Explicit adoption of the BVAG access option for the Active Travel Maps. At the moment the maps appear to imply the inclusion of the BVAG Beach Side access route to the Bridge however this should be made more explicit and it should be clarified that at present the route does not exist and that it is adopted as a high priority infrastructure project for the Active Travel Plan
b. Consultation session in Barmouth. The Barmouth Viaduct Access route is probably the most costly, high impact and high profile aspiration within the plan and as such necessitates a consultation event in Barmouth and therefore a further consultation event should be included to be held in Barmouth at the end of July or early August.
c. Extension of the walking/cycling maps to Fairbourne. The Barmouth Viaduct is part of an important commuter route allowing residents of the neighbouring communities of Arthog, Friog and Fairbourne to travel to Barmouth to access work and services and therefore this should be illustrated on the map. The bridge also forms part of a cycle route between Barmouth and Dolgellau enabling students at Coleg Meirion Dwyfor to cycle to college.
d. The route between Barmouth and villages on the south bank of the Mawddach is the perfect illustration of the issues flagged up by the Government of a key route that is not fit for purpose; that is used in spite of its hazards rather than because of its safe nature. It is the stretch of the A496 that makes this route so hazardous. This is a very busy road squeezing between a rocky gorge with very little pavement and a perilous crossing at two points
e. Research commissioned by BVAG has shown that the bridge is well used and has the potential for much greater use if safety concerns were addressed.
f. At a time when we are sadly all too well aware of the need to prevent fatal disasters it is appropriate to highlight the role that an alternative access could have in preventing a very serious traffic accident involving pedestrians and cyclists on this stretch of the A496.
g. Residents and members of local communities around Barmouth, Fairbourne and Dolgellau are encouraged to take part in the consultation and stress that not only is the bridge and route between the Harbour and the bridge a vital route but that it is imperative that a safer alternative is programmed in and included as a major aspiration in the Active Travel Plan.
h. Figures for the last complete year show almost 160,000 journeys being made by cyclists and pedestrians across Barmouth Bridge.


  

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