Rhondda Cynon Taf Council propose reinstating new footbridge over the River Cynon but not over Aberdare Bypass
Well, you voted for more of the same and that’s what Rhondda Cynon Taf Council is proposing for easing the traffic problems at the Ynys Roundabout. I say it's more of the same because the proposal is to provide a footbridge over the River Cynon in exactly the same position as the one that the council demolished next to the swimming pool to make way for the Aberdare Bypass.
Rember the bridge that the council demolished
So no proposal to alleviate a traffic bottleneck at the Ynys roundabouts but just move the existing pedestrian crossing closer to the next pedestrian crossing, is this good planning? Redstart and CAPITA the same organisation that designed the bad road junction layout in Newtown Mountain Ash.
Below is taken from Commercial Street Footbridge Active travel Statement 2021 if you want to see all documents they are availably on RCTC website planning application 21/0096/10
As part of a scheme to reduce congestion along the A4059 and improve pedestrian links between
Aberdare Town Centre and the surrounding amenities, a new Active Travel Bridge is required.
The structure will cross the Afon Cynon between the Michael Sobell Sports Centre and the A4059.
The primary reason for this new crossing is to alleviate congestion on the A4059, specifically that resulting from the at-grade toucan crossing immediately south of the roundabout which provides access to the sports centre and school from the town centre. The crossing is to be relocated south of its current position to increase the available queuing capacity for vehicles on the carriageway, thus mitigating the congestion at the roundabout.
In relocating the crossing, it has been determined that a new Active Travel Bridge is required.
This planning statement relates to the new active travel bridge only and is part of a project to relocate the existing toucan crossing on the A4059 to alleviate the ongoing congestion issues and to provide an active travel compliant route between the town centre and the school, sports centre and railway station. The existing Commercial Street Footbridge, which is not active travel compliant, is to be demolished and the current toucan crossing beneath it removed. The elements of the project (apart from the active travel bridge) will be undertaken under permitted development and as such are exempt from the planning process. This application concentrates on the provision of a new footbridge over the Afon Cynon only but is explained in the context of the overall project.
This statement is written as a supporting document to the formal online application giving additional details on the scheme overall.
BLUE PEDESTRIAN ROUTE – EXISTING AT GRADE CROSSING (TO BE REMOVED) PEDESTRIAN ROUTE – RED EXISTING FOOTBRIDGE (TO BE DEMOLISHED) GREEN PEDESTRIAN ROUTE – PROPOSED CROSSING & FOOTBRIDGE
In October 2018 a Feasibility Study was undertaken into Mobility Access at Commercial Street Footbridge in Aberdare. The purpose of the study was to determine if the structure met modern mobility access requirements and to outline potential solutions to either change or replace the bridge to achieve compliance.
The findings of that report were that the existing structure was inadequate for modern accessibility standards with no feasible way of improving provision for less able users or for cyclists. Alternative options for a new active travel footbridge, compliant with modern accessibility standards, were also presented.
Following this, further discussions were held with the Client and it was requested that a comprehensive assessment of options for alternative crossing arrangements was undertaken.
The primary purpose of this subsequent study was to consider options that would alleviate the congestion on the A4059 whilst providing an active travel compliant route between the town centre and the surrounding amenities.
The study considered four primary options;
1. A new modern accessibility compliant Active Travel Foot/Cycle bridge and closure of the
at grade crossing
2. Provision of an underpass located southeast of the current crossing, adopting a raised carriageway to minimize the length of access ramps required;
3. Relocating the at-grade crossing location southeast with a traffic-controlled Toucan type facility.
4. Provision of a Foot/Cycle bridge located southeast of the current crossing over a lowered carriageway to minimise the length of access ramps required
The study concluded that relocating the crossing was the optimum solution to alleviate the congestion on the roundabout. Based on an objective analysis of cost, safety and function relocating the pedestrian crossing, combined with a new active travel footbridge across the Afon Cynon, was found to be the most effective solution.
A supplementary study was prepared to further refine the preferred option, the variations considered were;
1. A relocated crossing without a new footbridge
2. A relocated crossing with a new footbridge to the Sobell Centre/cycleway
3. A relocated crossing with a new footbridge to the Sobell Centre/cycleway (highly skewed alignment)
It was ultimately determined that the option which best balanced the requirements of all users was a relocated toucan crossing with a new active travel footbridge. Without the footbridge the pedestrian route would become significantly longer, requiring a footway along the A4059 which would intersect with the previous existing crossing location. This may have encouraged
pedestrians to cross at this location and give rise to potential conflict with vehicles. A new bridge
with a highly skewed alignment was discounted owing to level differences across the river corridor
and the surrounding buildings on the Sobell Centre side.
The proposed new footbridge will cross the Afon Cynon, linking a new toucan crossing on the
A4059 with NCN478 to the rear of the school and sports centre. Linking the route in this way will
facilitate a more direct, and therefore desirable, access to the crossing from the Sobell Centre and adjacent school, improving connectivity between these sites and the bus station/town centre.
This planning application is required for the Active Travel Bridge. The adjoining works, including the toucan crossing and associated footways, are classed as permitted development (as the work
is within the adopted highway) and hence do not require planning permission.