Make Hoole Bridge in Chester, safer for pedestrians & cyclists

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The problem - The footpaths on either side of Hoole Bridge are not wide enough, if two parents pushing prams meet at any point along the bridge, one of the parents is forced to put their child / children, into the flow of oncoming traffic, in the same way, cyclists using Hoole Bridge take their lives in their own hands, as the pavement is not wide enough for them to share with pedestrians, leaving the roadway as the only route over, thus making themselves a physical obstruction to the heavy flow of traffic, with no room to pass safely, many drivers become impatient as cyclists slow whilst going up hill and often try to squeeze past, risking the cyclists lives, day in day out.

The History - Over the years there have been a number of attempts to improve the narrow, dangerous roadway the Bridge carries. In the 1870s the Hoole Local Board complained about its state and how the railway’s vehicles queuing at its weighbridge impeded the flow of traffic. In 1902 a conference at Chester Town Hall called for it to be widened, “on cattle market days it was impossible for pedestrians”. A scheme was proposed for a carriageway at least 30 feet wide plus 10 feet wide pavements; this was ruled out and in 1905 an amended scheme costing £15,500 was agreed, the costs to be shared between Chester, the County Council, Hoole Urban District and Newton Parish Councils; this would see the construction of a footbridge alongside the existing structure. 112 years later, we are still waiting. 

Source: Article by Ralph Earlam, initially published in ‘Hoole Roundabout’ in February 2017 -

In 2009 Cllr Byrne argued that due to the danger to pedestrians and cyclists, as well as motorists, County Engineer Steve Kent, who was director of environment at the new council, should carry out a study to see how pedestrians and cyclists could be separated from cars, vans, lorries and buses on the narrow bridge, what this would cost and how long it would take.

Hoole bridge now carries over 21,000 vehicles a day, 87% of which are cars. The remainder of the traffic, involving light and heavy goods vehicles and buses, is said to be "a high percentage" for a route of that type. In 2009 nearly 300 cyclists crossed the bridge in a 12 hour period and almost 3,000 pedestrians. Footways on the bridge are 1.5m wide and "do not meet current standards", according to the then chief bridges engineer John Violet. There is no separate provision for cyclists and for pedestrians there is "just enough width" for two to cross side-by-side. "It is possible for a lorry wing mirror to clip a pedestrian if the lorry is running very close to the kerb". The road itself is too narrow for a cycle to pass at the same time as two cars are passing and many cyclists use the footway instead of the road. The result of this investigation and these admissions, nothing. 

Source: Chester Chronicle 

The Solution - Ultimately we would like the Cheshire West and Chester Council (CWaC) to agree to build two separate footbridges on either side of the existing structure, one of which was promised and agreed in 1905, and turn the current pavements on the bridge itself, into a safe cycleway. This is nothing less than the people of Chester, specifically the residents of Hoole, Newtown, Upton and those living and working in the city centre itself should be afforded, for the safety of themselves and for the protection of their friends and family.

PLEASE SHARE & SIGN THIS PETITION - BEFORE SOMEBODY IS KILLED. 21,000 vehicles a day, 300 cyclists in 12 hours and almost 3,000 pedestrians a day are at risk, every day until positive action is finally taken.

Campaign Team: Steve Howe, Marko Williams and Adam Dandy.