I’ve written a little before about the ideas of Greenways – and mainly in relation to the potential future treatment of the corridor from the city centre to the bay along Bute St and Lloyd George Avenue following the tramway upgrade of the bay line in Butetown[i].
Greenways typically enable the introduction of liner parks prioritising green space, cycling and pedestrian paths. They often, but not always, utilise old often disused industrial artefacts (e.g. old rail lines); The High Line in New York[ii] is a good example – Figure 1.
Figure 1 New York “High Line” weaving its way through the West Side of Manhattan
Now I want to spread the concept a little further and explore briefly how such a Greenway approach could be applied to connect more of Cardiff with high quality Green Active Travel (AT) routes – and done in a way that also connects some of the city’s major green spaces. Specifically, Roath Park, Bute Park, Heath Park, Waterloo Gardens, Tremorfa Park and the Taff Trail.
I’ll use (again) the example of Vancouver and its Greenway projects[iii], which are being developed across the city with the objective of making Vancouver a more walkable and bikeable city. Figure 2 Figure 3 They state:
Greenways provide beautiful urban connections to important destinations throughout Vancouver for pedestrians and cyclists.
Greenways enhance the experience of walking and cycling by including improvements like expanded parks, increased landscaping, public art, and drinking fountains.
Figure 2 From City of Vancouver Greenway Documentation[iv]
Figure 3 From City of Vancouver Greenway Documentation[v]
Figure 4 Castlefield Corridor, Manchester[vi]
There are also plenty of other relevant example of Greenways around the world, including in the UK. For example “The Newham Greenway”[vii] in East London which runs on an embankment above a sewer from Victoria Park to the Royal Docks. It also incorporates its “pollinator trail” concept.
Figure X – Images from Newham council https://www.newham.gov.uk/news/article/847/the-greenway-pollinator-trail-is-coming
Cardiff has set out objectives via its Transport White Paper[viii] focused on reducing car dependency via more Public Transport and Active Travel, which lend themselves to the introduction of Greenways in the city.
Figure 5 Example of potential Greenway corridors in Cardiff
Aside from the scheme already under consideration re: the Bay Line/Bute St corridor, there is an opportunity in Cardiff to create perhaps 20km of continuous greenway to encircle the core of the city Figure 5 . Key sections would include:
- #1 Integrate a Greenway with the Crossrail from Cardiff Bay and the Bay line via Roath Dock, Splott to Newport Rd. Much of this route in Splott could be very much like the “High Line” concept in New York and now developed at Castlefield in Manchester Figure 4 given the amount of disused rail infrastructure along the freight corridor in Splott as well as a section running to the north of Roath Dock
- #2 Then a route from Newport Road north to connect via Waterloo Gardens to Roath Park and via Wedal Road to Heath Hospital /Heath Park. It’s a shame that the old rail line in this part of Cardiff has been built over – it would have been an ideal route for this section of Greenway as it would have connected directly Newport Rd with Heath Hospital! (Don’t start me on the loss of the Glamorgan Canal through the heart of the City!)
- #3 From the Heath develop a route along the Western Avenue corridor to connect to the Taff Trail, Llandaf Field and on through Cowbridge Rd to the Ely Rive Corridor (this could also route via Victoria Park)
- #4 Then along the Ely River corridor to join with the Taff trail in the Bay.
Each of the these connected routes would provide:
- new/upgraded segregated cycle and pedestrian pathways (with priority crossing over road where required) that connect up more of the city and integrated with the city’s planned cycle network
- Space for plants and vegetation (new habitats for birds, bees and insects for example)
- Community Spaces and opportunities for public art
- Spaces for cafes (inc. pop-up) along the route.
Now I can see there is a lot to do in Cardiff in just public transport terms….
A Cardiff Crossrail… – Mark Barry (swalesmetroprof.blog)
Metro Moans for 2023… – Mark Barry (swalesmetroprof.blog)
Metro Hopes for 2023… – Mark Barry (swalesmetroprof.blog)
Nonetheless, I hope some energy can also be found (and funding!) to progress Greenways for Cardiff!
[i] South Wales Metro & Lloyd George Avenue – Mark Barry (swalesmetroprof.blog)
[iii] Greenways for walking, cycling, and rolling | City of Vancouver
[iv] Open House Boards 2.indd (vancouver.ca)
[v] make walking safe, convenient & delightful support a vibrant public life (vancouver.ca)
[vi] Castlefield ‘High Line’ moves forward – Place North West
[vii] The Newham Greenway: London’s Answer To New York’s High Line | Londonist
[viii] Cardiff Transport White Paper – Mark Barry (swalesmetroprof.blog)
3 thoughts on “Greenways for Cardiff?”
Really interesting to read this and the references to New York and Vancouver. My experience of the Taff Trail is that it is close to capacity for the multiple types of users, commuter cyclists, runners, pedestrians (often with pushchair), dog walkers. Segregating users will reduce physical space. What are your thoughts on the scope for widening it?
Ideally it needs to be wider – and to separate pedestrians and cyclists – given its popularity. However, if the minority of speeding lycra clad cyclist could cycle more slowly around people then the space problem reduces somewhat? And scarce capital could be deployed elsewhere??
#2 and #4 are well developed (as trails) already.
I’d love a closeup on the top of #2 to the end of #3. That’s a challenging route to green as shown.