3/5/02 I overheard a conversation in which a young lady asked: 'Where can I get some stones for a rockery?'
'A garden centre,' she was told.
'Oh no, I can't afford to buy any, I mean somewhere like a beach or that kind of place,' the lady said.
Her informer replied: 'You risk a heavy fine for taking them from a beach, and also for taking wild plants.'
'There would be nothing left in the wild if everyone did it'.
'I don't get it. They build roads, car parks, tin sheds and buildings all over the place around here, they don't care about the wild things then, do they?'
The silence lasted some time before the answerer said, ' can't answer that, I really don't know what to say.'
I knew how he felt, it is difficult to explain. The time is fast approaching when the only green left could be our gardens- if they have not been compulsorily purchased for a 'must have', 'prestigious', 'innovative' busway that does nothing to improve anything but destroys a natural wildlife cycle/walkway.
We have government departments telling us to 'look after the wild things' and others ripping them down. We have a government policy eneouraging walking and cycling and another saying a National Millennium Cycleway can be ripped up and used for a two-lane concrete busway.
The ignorant say: 'Well, you will still have a pathway with what is left.' Do they mean a narrow strip is all we deserve for leaving our cars at home? Is this really the message they wish to convey?
Most Chester & District residents wish to keep the natural wildlife habitat area they can walk or cycle, without motor vehicles every four minutes. Otherwise it will be back to our cars.
This wonderful asset is threatened by a busway which even the council admits would not do what was intended.
Abandon it for all our sakes, even if a gobli says he would pay for it in exchange for something he wants very badly!
Audrey Hodgkinson, secretary, Anti-CDTS campaign.
16/5/02 May I take this opportunity all those good people of Hoole All Saints who trusted me with their vote in the recent council elections.
Although naturaily disappointed by my failure to become your councillor, I feel that to have worked alone, without any form of party support, and still manage to take 25 per cent of the vote was no mean feat. This was entirely due to you 238 residents who listened to what I had to say and voled accordingly. Thanks again.
May I also take the time to correct the apparent misunderstandings of your correspondents Eileen Burrows and Alan Hendrie, who, in remarkably similar letters just before the ebction, referred to me as standing as an 'anti-CDTS' candidate. This- as anyone who had actually read my dection literature- would know, was not the case. I stood, entirely unsponsored, as an independent, non-party political candidate.
But, of course, I'm sure they knew that all along.
My letter to the people of All Saints discussed issues such as safe routes to school, traffic problems; house prices, policing, issues affecting our splendid 'shopping village'- in audition to the scandal of CDTS.
The truth is, during the course of visiting the great majority of homes in the ward, I failed utterly to discover local support for the busway. It was as simple as that.
The great majority of the people I met want to keep the cycleway, they want it finishing- as far as Mickle Trafford- and they want it properly landscaped and well maintained.
As a private citizen, I remain anxious that the alleged helplessness of our city council in the matter of CDTS should not go unchallenged. To spend, in partnership with the county council, many thousands of pounds of our money over several years producing reams of grossly biased 'consultation' material in order to force through their developer-led 'imaginative' transport system - in arrogant disregard of the sustained opposition by the majority of the population- and then to deny ultimate responsibility is, to my mind, an action which should be treated with the contempt it deserves.
Steve Howe, 25 Lime Grove, Hoole, Chester
20/5/02 I usually walk along Brook Lane to my local fitness centre.
I would like to thank the lady I met who was campaigning against the building of the busway for telling me that the fitness centre could be accessed via the cycle/walkway which runs alongside Brook Lane.
I now use this route every morning and it is like walking in the countryside. There are so many different birds and their song is not drowned out by the sound of traffic. Butterflies and bees are now to be seen since the weather has become warm.
I believe Sustrans would like to landscape the route and I hope they get their way. It is beautiful now and if it were landscaped it would be magical. A two-way concrete busway along this route would be madness.
Wendie Pitt, Dicksons Drive, Newton
23/5/02 We would like to add our objection to the CDTS busway to the many others from right-thinking, genuinely environmental Cheshire citizens.
We are a Hoole family of four who have walked the length of the cycleway from Newton to Queensferry and find the path an exceptional oasis of natural calm amidst a modern, busy city and its surroundings. It offers remarkably convenient access for walkers and cyclists to various parts of the city away from the noise, pollution and dangers of Chester's roads and pavements.
We have read many of the objections in the local press and on the web over the last couple of years and would like to endorse all of them, and add some thoughts of our own.
A gas-powered bus is still a vehicle with an internal combustion engine- with its associated sounds and dangers. A guided busway would occupy the entire width of the current path for a number of stretches along the route- we know, because we have measured it. Pedestrians and cyclists would therefore be restricted to the wider sections only- and thus be prevented from accessing to the whole path (or take their lives in their hands amd walk in the bus 'trough' for significant lengths).
Children can safely cycle along the current path- the greater human traffic of a busway would add more 'stranger-danger' at the exit and entry bus stops.
Chester's current park and ride services are not utilised to capacity. To improve the environment, why not just convert these buses to gas? A recent study of Cambridge's transport scheme, and particularly the newest park and nde facility (published this year and discussed on the Jimmy Young Show- Radio Two3 shows it to be an expensive waste of taxpayers'money. Each parking space is calculated to cost £2,000- and is under-used!
Current academic thinking believes park and ride schemes should not be expanded in the light of current out-of-town retail development and their general under-utilisation.
In 1999 we learned that Chester City Council has put aside £900,000 to fight objections to the CDTS busway scheme. Now is the time to stop spending our money to fight our objections.
In the light of recent academic analysis, not known until this year, Cheshire County Council has an honourable get-out from this anti-cyclist, anti-pedestrian and grossly wasteful transport scheme.
We would like our council tax (and the allocated central government monies) to be spent on enhancing the current cycle and pedestrian path. We would like to see the cycle access extended to Mickle Trafford. The whole length to Connah's Quay should be maintained to a high standard to encourage wildlife and reduce litter and vandalism.
My wife and l shall base our local government voting entirely on candidates'approach to the unnecessary CDTS.
We urge you to listen to those who pay your salaries and fund the council's spending.
Geoff and Margaret Curtis, Corrie (18) and Richard ( 13), Kilmorey Park, Hoole
23/5/02 Councillors have a very important decision to make shortly. Whether to breach the green belt to provide a further 1,200 car spaces and degrade a most successful cycle/walkway (part of the National Millennium Way) to make way for a two track concrete busway (CDTS) with resultant mature tree felling and destruction of wildlife habitats.
I.The cycle/walkway has proved to be a great success by encouraging people not to use their car but choose the healthy alternatives. This success is due to the tranquil safe nature of the route.
2. Tranquil green space is needed for both humans and wildlife and must be protected especially in a built up marooned area such as Hoole with by-pass and motorway blocking our way to the countryside.
3. The Millennium Way also reduces congestion and pollution. Those using the route now can exit/access where they need to for school, shopping, work (not an option using the planned busway)
4. Families use it for leisure instead of hopping into a car.
5. The Millennium linear park walk/cycleway is maintained by Sustrans, not by local council funding.
6. Councillors are being asked to buy a pig in a poke- 'complimentary measures' for Hoole Road for instance.
7. Busway projects have been abandoned elsewhere, including the 'good' example shown at local public consultations.
8. Providing 'green' buses tor public use (not just car users) on existing roads and upgrading our railways are a priority and a truly sustainable transport policy. Transport experts say there are dangers in over providing park and rides.
Councillors are elected by the public- they alone will be held responsible for their decision. I hope they bear in mind those pushing hardest for all three phases of this project- council officers, 'Chester in Partnership' and commercial interests have not been elected, they will not carry the can if the wrong decision is made.
Important changes since the public inquiry- plans to provide more car space in the city centre. Wrexham Road Park & Ride has a contract car park for the Business Park of over 300 spaces (even at Christmas time) means Chester has enough Park & Ride site spaces. Chester has four sites already with planning permission tor an extension at the Upton P&R.
Council figures show demand for Park & Ride is now levelling out and this extension has not been needed mean councillors now have much more information on which to make their decision.
Anti-CDTS have recruited over a thousand members since the public inquiry. Public opinion is still massively against this scheme. Many live miles away from the route, letters in the local press should have proved this point by now.
There are really important, necessary and advantageous applications urgently requiring council spending funds.
24/5/02 It is not only humans who are benefiting from the old railway track. The whole route provldes a wonderful habitat for birds.
Not only common bids are there- starling, wren, dunnock, robin, house sparrow, whose numbers are in decline, the crow family, including jay, but also greenfinches, chaffinches, goldfinches, bullfinches (endangored), blackbird and song thrushes (endangered) linnets, blue tits, great tits, long tailed tits.
At the moment, warblers are in from Afrlca: chaffinch, blackcap, whitethroat and willow warbler. There must be a better way of transporting shoppers and tourists to Chester city centre than the destructon and pollution of such an environment, especially when we are aware nationally of the decline in our bird numbers.
As I understand it, the park and ride car parks are not filled to capacity, and there is little or no financial inducement to use that system if there are two or more adults in one car. Should we not be trying to improve and resource a system that is already in place?
A last thought. Will the public be allowed to know how many of those who are to decide on the adoption/rejection of the CDTS will have walked or cycled the route themselves?
Mary Prince, Appleton Road, Chester
27/5/02 My apologies go out to your recent correspondent Kath Stephenson, who wrote that, had I knocked at her door in Panton Road during my campaign to become her city councillor, I would have met with "one elector strongly in favour" of the CDTS busway proposals.
Although under the impression that I had indeed called at every home in Panton Road- in addition to most of those throughout the rest of the ward- apparently I missed her out. A shame really- although, during these visits I learned a great deal about local issues and personalities, it would have been most illuminating to have spoken with a supporter of the busway too.
One rather misses them since the disappearance from the pages of the local press of Cllrs Byrne and Boughton and Mr Clough-Parker.
Judging from the contents of her letter, however, I suspect that all I would have heard would be a parrot-fashion recitation of the same blinkered propoganda that has, at huge public cost, been put about by Chester's planners and politicians- and that has doubtless become tiresomely familiar to your readers- for far too many years now.
They- and Ms Stephenson- may be interested to learn that it is not just their imagined ragged band of NIMBYs, cyclists and dog-walkers who dare to think otherwise. I recently had a most illuminating conversation with a gentleman at Chester City Transport- the council's own bus company.
He told me that, in a nutshell, "they are not in favour of CDTS".
Remarkable? Read on.
We were all informed, as part of the 'consultation' process, that the CDTS buses will run on "safe, environmentally friendly LPG (liquid petrolium gas) fuel".
I asked the gentleman how many buses powered by these means they currently operated.
"None. Crosville had one on hire from Arriva for a while, but were glad to see the back of it. It was unreliable, slow to refuel and special, expensive tools were required for its maintainance. Arriva, do, however, currently still operate several of these vehicles on the Business Park Park & Ride route."
I then learned some remarkable facts about this 'safe' LPG fuel. For example, that it is not only highly imflammable but also heavier than air; in the not-uncommon event of a leak, the gas does not disseminate into the atmosphere but accumulates in a layer at ground level (especially so, one imagines, in the closed-in environment of a railway cutting)- to be breathed in by passing cyclists and walkers, and probably the local wildlife to boot. Heaven knows what the effect of lighting a cigarette may be!
The method employed to deal with such leakage by the operators of the LPG-fuelled BART transport sytem in San Francisco is to "flare it off"- ie set fire to it.
What effect is that likely to have on the area's flora and fauna (that little of it that is not destroyed by the busway's builders, that is)- or to adjoining properties?
Where will the stuff be stored? Potential operators of the route will apparently not be allowed to costruct facilities at the new Park-and-Ride site.
We recall the public outrage back in January 1999 when the city council proposed building a bus maintainance depot incorporating a gas and diesel storage facility right next door to the Queen's Junior School in Liverpool Road- and 'coincidentally' adjoining the route of their planned busway.
It was interesting to learn that those shining examples of clean, civilized public transport, the Dutch, have apparently decided to do away completely with LPG.
I learned, too, that there were alternative 'green' fuels, such as Bio Diesel, manufactured from Oil Seed Rape. Apparently much cleaner than LPG but, in the words of my bus company friend, "it smells like a chip shop every time one passes by"...
He wondered, in the light of the evident current unreliability of these vehicles, if they would prove to be economically viable on the route or how one could be removed from the line in the event of accident or breakdown. The system in Adelaide, Australia had to commission the designing and building of a special, and extremely expensive, double-headed recovery vehicle, during the use of which, inevitably, passenger operations are brought to a standstill.
And how would one get a fire engine or ambulance into a concrete trough?
He was concerned, also, at the fate of the Upton (Zoo) Park-and-Ride site should the planned vast new one be built, declaring it unlikely that there would ever be enough demand for parking spaces to support the retention of both.
Remember, too, that yet another large Park-and-Ride site is already located just down the road at Sainsbury's.
A final response to Ms Stephenson, for it seems it's not just Cllr Hale who enjoys telling porkies about the cycleway's builders, Sustrans. For Ms Stevenson to claim that "from the beginning, Sustrans were happy to have the busway along the cycleway" is stretching the truth somewhat. Despite malicious rumours to the contrary, they have always remained committed to the continuance of the cycleway- but faced with a fait accomplis from Chester's planners, and no alternative route to complete the local stretch of the National Cycle Network, they were far from happy- but what choice did they have?
I recommend interested readers should try to obtain a copy of Sustrans' 'Official Guide to the National Cycle Network'- a well-spent tenner's worth (it may be in the library) of maps, guides and stunning photographs illustrating their wonderful transport and landscape achievements throughout the length and breadth of the UK- or at least those parts of it where they weren't forced to compete with the likes of CDTS.
You and your families may even be tempted to enjoy some of them for yourselves!
Or take a 'virtual stroll' along Chester's Millennium Cycleway from the comfort of your own home: http://www.bwpics.co.uk/railstroll/railindex.html
Some responses to Steve's letter are here...
29/5/02 The members of the Anti-CDTS (Chester Deeside Transport System) Campaign Groups would like to ask councillors and others still in favour of ripping up the Millennium cycle/walkway for yet another Park & Ride, exactly what type of bus the planners have in mind?
The LPG buses dumped by the City Bus Company and others?
These are unreliable as a leak of gas would leave it hanging about in a cutting on the planned busway for users of the route to breathe.
I believe if a leak does occur it has to be burnt off- is this environmentally friendly?
Or perhaps planners have in mind the 'environmentally friendly' but stinking of stale chip oil, rapeseed oil diesels?
Great for walker/cyclist out to get fresh air- but we would still have a pathwayl
And if you sit in the gardens backing onto the route, listen out for the buses coming and get ready to run in.
Newton school children at playtime and those (hundreds) using the school field, footballers and runners etc may be affected by the fumes!
It ironic that more than 1,700 members of Anti-CDTS and many others are fighting to save the 'monument' to the Millennium and the precious green wildlife corridor for Chester and district to enjoy only two years into this century.
30/5/02 I have followed the opinions regarding CDTS with great interest.
I see it all as just another shining example of the 'make them have it' attitude.
We had the poll tax- when some brave souls even went to prison to make their democratic point, we had the Dome folly and then the demise of our rail system. Now the politicians pay someone to think up a fast track roadway. Hey, guys, we already have one- also known as the rail system- which ought to be made safe and brought back into public ownership- pronto If not sooner!
The existing CDTS walkway is a civilised stretch of British countryside to walk down the miles, listen to the birdsong, enjoy the land of poppies and honeysuckle and see horses grazing and kicking. It is more than money can buy, or a lifetime's workout in any gym you care to mention.
As far as local democracy is concerned, it is our land. We don't want another bus route! Please don't force it on us.
Marie Dixon 22 Oakfield Road, Blacon, Chester
30/5/02 I am astonished to read that there are a few people about who still support the guided busway idea in spite of all the overwhelming evidence against its viability. Sadly, it seems they have been taken in by that 'old chestnut'- 'economic benefits to the area'. This is an excuse as old as the hills and a favourite for councils to indulge in some hairbrained scheme. It was once the preserve of Whitehall 'spin doctors' but has now filtered down to local politics and government.
Perhaps one day someone in council will detail these wonderful 'economic benefits'- or will that question join all the other outstanding details wanted by the public regarding environmental damage to the Northgate Park, fitting it all in a mere 24ft embankment, scale pictures etc? Predictably, none have ever been answered and seem to have disappeared into the depth of committee room silence in the Town Hall and County Hall!
May I suggest supporters of the idea properly examine the practical facts of the idea as well. The proposal is for incoming commercial and private car drivers to leave their vehicles at Mannings Lane and transfer to a bus- but not one capable of street 'delivery'. Instead it will run a rigid remote track into town where the luckless passengers will have to find their way to their various destinations. To quote just one simple case, will such passengers with business visits between Hoole and Boughton be happy with this idea? I think not. Such examples could apply for most of the city centre.
I suggest a look at the historic evidence of city commuters' transport to show the weakness of 'railtrack' bound transport. Some 40 years back the Northgate Station provided excellent transport to the Shotton Steelworks etc. The arrival of the 'door to door' delivery capability of the car quickly killed off this service- and the system. The busway is nothing more than a motorised copy of this and, as such, a failed idea.
Unlike other major 'younger' cities, Chester always has been, and still is, too small in every respect to support a city commuter service based on a railtrack route. If anyone doubts this may I suggest they read the inspector's report from the public inquiry. A more lukewarm version of 'support' would be difficult to find!
Like it or not the obvious practical benefits of the 'door to door' capability of the car can never be equalled by the rigid-tracked principle of a busway from outside the city to its centre. Of course, there is a problem here- but this is not the answer to it for Chester. Incidentally, it has been tried in many other more suitable cities than Chester- and been abandoned as ineffective.
I feel we have another example of a would-be 'prestige' project adorned with nebulous unprovable 'benefits'- not uncommon in local government. Unfortunately in this case, to proceed with such a doomed experiment would mean the permanent loss to the residents of this side of the city of one of the greatest amenities ever made available to them.
M.H.0. Hoddinot, 19 Dicksons Drive, Chester
30/5/02 The few people who support the busway idea seem to bring up the same excuse to concrete over yet another green area. Even the council admits the busway would not reduce congestion. 'Solutions' have been tried before, for instance the by-pass which carved our city centre up as well as our green areas. Then the motorways and all the new roads built over the past few decades. Have any of them stopped congestion?
I arn indeed puzzled at the explanation 'fast' for this planned bus route would cross the busy by-pass by the Northgate roundabout. It would hold up traffic every four minutes or so. Then along Frodsham Street congested with buses standing and commercial vehicles off-loading. Then into Foregate Street, then two very busy roundabouts, stopping the bypass traffic again. Yes, the buses would have the capability of changing the lights but what if there is a hold up along this road part of the 'busway' route it would be subject yet again to exactly the same thing as a bus on an existing road! This should end the argument for good but it won't, there will still be those unable to see anything but 'prestigious' in big red lights. Might I remind them that the Dome was called prestigious!
For goodness sake leave us with one route we can walk or cycle in peace and harmony with nature. We do not pollute or congest but just protect our environment.
A. Walker, Chester
4/6/02 When I agreed to become secretary (unpaid) to Anti-CDTS Campaign Groups I took on the responsibility of representing members to the best of my ability. It would, of course, save me being asked to write so often if those 'in favour' of the CDTS busway read council and unbiased expert documents to get a better balance. For instance, the writer of Trust the Planners would have known the busway plans include 180 more bus journeys through the city centre. The buses would only use the planned two-lane concrete busway as far as Victoria Road, then on to existing roads, including Frodsham Street. Details are in the council documents. These should be available in the library. This figure was also mentloned in The Chronicle- well worth reading again- where motoring correspondent lan Johnson asked: 'Do we really need a busway that brings 180 journeys a day along a predous bit of greenery in the city?' He also observes that a 1,200- space Park & Ride may take the car out of the city but only moves the problem up the road. He states: 'I have hardly any faith in the traffic planning around Chester.' It is surely only fair that if incorrect information is written it should be pointed out whether the writer is for or against the CDTS busway project.
It is worth my pointing out again the illustraffon of the planned busway is a computer image, as we know they can make pigs fly, and are misleading.
Fast busway? It appears a few seconds may be 'saved' on a journey. Far better that buses are used to full advantage from the start of a journey. Chester is awash with roads, whatever they are called.
We only have one tranquil greenway- it helps reduce congestion and pollution by encouraging us to leave our cars at home and take heialthy exercise.
It is owned and run by charities at no cost to local taxpayers. Many used the MiIIennium Way for a day out instead of roaming around the countryside, using cars to get there.
Some chose it as their destination to cycle along and picnic during the celebrations. We saw and spoke to them and remembered to take a camera to prove it!
There is a lot to be said for trusting public opinion. A painful example, costing us all a considerable amount, was the Dome. Public opinion was ignored and what a disaster that was.
4/6/02 The use of Liquified Petroleum Gas (LPG) for the buses for the CDTS scheme is neither here nor there.
While this fuel has a greater potential to produce a gas cloud if released, it is contained in vessels of higher integrity than petrol or diesel, so the overall risk is very similar.
I say this in the light of my experience as a UK expert in the transport of dangerous goods. However, in view of the very small number of vehicles involved, it is hardly a plus either as the effect on emissions will barely be measurable.
It is the economics of the scheme that should determine whether it goes ahead. Basically, it is another Park & Ride, with the exception that its buses wbuld have a designated track for part of their journey.
The saving in time over a conventional bus servlce that this would give is not that significant in the context of total door-to-door timings.
In my opinion, it is unlikely that the requisite number of motorists will be tempted to use the service. But some test marketing would be feasible.
Rather than jump straight to the final scheme, a conventional Park & Ride could be tried first at minimum cost, using for example hardcore rather than concrete for the parking areas. This would show just how many more people are prepared to reduce their use of cars, and since the number of buses is small, much of the claimed benefits to the traffic flow along Hoole Road would accrue anyway.
Such a trial would give a base from which figures could be extrapolated with much more confidence.
David Beattie, Chester Road, Kelsall
6/6/02 MS Stevenson declared that the CDTS busway is "vital" for the future prosperity of our city- but she does not explain why. We already have four park and ride sites with 3000-plus car spaces. Added to this 5000 city centre spaces. This matches any city in the country.
Ms Stevenson does not recognise people can access Chester by other means. What if the cost of CDTS busway Phase One- £13 million (or whatever figure)- were to be used to improve local and rural bus services or upgrade school buses- or does she only consider those travelling to Chester in cars to be important?
It has never been made clear just how the busway is supposed to reduce traffic along Hoole Road. How is new traffic to be prevented from entering the road, taking up any space that may be created by the busway? The council has mentioned ''complementary measures", but these have never been spelled out in detail. How would the busway reduce the internal local traffic on the network of local roads- the shoppers, hotel visitors, delivery vehicles, buses en route to the city, etc?
The statement Sustrans is "happy" to have the busway alongside its cycle/walkway is disingenuous. Sustrans stated in its application that the new cycleway would be "forced" off the track at 'pinchchpoints' to make way for the busway. By the way, Sustrans is bringing out an A4 leaflet shortly with the access/exit points for the area due to demand. We will let readers know where copies can be obtained.
Ms Stevenson seems unconcerned that the busway would mean the loss of the green corridor, most of the trees, a section of Northgate Village Green and the wildlife in an area already suffering from shortage of green open space.
I do hope Ms. Stevenson is not telling us all we should be cycling at great speed down a fenced and narrow way. We would be back to a narrow pavement and the stress that brings instead of a peaceful and relaxing walk/cycleway. Fenced in on both sides, with no room to manoeuvre, it would be potentially dangerous being a shared and narrow pathway. How could anyone relax in such a place? The whole length of this Nathional Millennium cyclee/walk route along the old railway line is under threat, as all three phases of CDTS are on the cards. Most users would revert to their cars- me included.
7/6/02 May I thank the kind gentleman who donated a video of the Millennium cycle/walkway last Thursday? It has delighted viewers by capturing the relaxing and pleasurable atmosphere of this tranquil route. He called himself an amateur, though we felt his video would actually put some T.V professionals to shame. Made whilst cycling it gives a true picture of the routes natural setting of wild flowers, plants and mature trees. It shows how natural habitats and some human activity can be in harmony, a welcome change.
It appears we are now to wait until September for the council to decide whether to kill this tranquil nature route everyone enjoys.
More time for those managing to locate access at last to write to county council leader Paul Findlow, County Hall, Chester CH1 1SF (email@example.com)
He asks where council spending cuts should be made- you may wish to suggest CDTS busway project.
Visitors staying in hotels close to the walk/cycleway say they luckily found and took full advantage of it and intend bringing their cycles next time they visit.
This is marvellous news and means Chester can encourage visitors to help lessen the problem of congestion and pollutionand keep fit too.
Due to demand, Sustrans is to bringing out an A4 leaflet. We will inform readers where they can obtain a copy shortly.
Sustrans intends planting up the route as a linear park cycle/walkway, when it is no Ionger threatened by a two-lane concrete busway.
ln the meantime, some of the access points are:
1. Kingsway, Newton- opposite the shops, passed the play area and along the lane, just before the bridge.
2. Brook Lane Newton- opposite the 'Garden'- visible from the road.
3. Lverpool Road- at the side of the Fitness Centre building.
4. Parkgate Road- by the old railway bridge on the left coming from Safeway Roundabout.
5. Blacon Avenue by the school and old railway bridge.
Steve Howe has an award-winning website. A Virtual stroll down the route- most enjoyable. Thr people of Chester, well as Sustrans, are proud of the Millennium cycle/walkway; we want everybody to know what it is like. http://www.bwpics.co. uk/railstroll/index.html
8/6/02 In replying to the two correspondents critical of my understanding of the safety of LPG gas in connection with the planned CDTS busway from Mr Goddard and Mr Hyslop, I will endeavour to be as brief as possible, as editing of my initial letter seems to have, once again, landed me in hot water.
Intrigued by the apparent absence of 'clean green' LPG-powered public transport in Chester, I turned to the greatest expert I could think of, namely Mr Hyslop, MD of Chester City Transport.
He kindly took the time to share with me his 'reservations' about many aspects of CDTS, including the wisdom of using LPG fuel on the route. In addition, I learned much about alternative 'clean' fuels currently available or in development.
I am indeed no expert in this field. The concerns I expressed in my letter, as a resident already uneasy about far too many aspects of CDTS, came about largely as a result of what I learned from Mr Hyslop. I see little reason to doubt his words.
Further internet research yielded a few more interesting facts about LPG. For example, that the most modern (Generation III) LPG vehicles tend to have slightly lower CO2 emissions and much lower CO emissions than petrol vehicles. For HC, emissions were also lower, though studies have shown that emissions could actually increase in congested traffic conditions. It has also been shown that NOx emissions can be much higher than from petrol engines. In comparison to diesel engines, emissions of particles and NOx are much lower. However, compared to diesel vehicles, LPG had higher CO and HC emissions. Refuelling pipes must be pressurised throughout which makes the process expensive and cumbersome.
We went on to discuss the economics of CDTS, and I noted Mr Hyslop's concern about the likely effects its construction and running costs may have upon the existing bus system and of the future of the Upton Park and Ride site- there patently being no need for three Park and Ride sites (Upton, Sainsbury's, CDTS) in such close proximity on this side of the city.
He also pointed out that Chester City Transport would indeed be bidding for the tender to operate the CDTS.
All this and more was, I think, fairly reported in my recent letter to the Chronicle. This, unfortunately, was then edited- doubtless in order to save space (I do go on a bit)- and the resulting printed version gave a less than complete impression of our conversation.
I am indeed very sorry if Mr Hyslop feels that I misrepresented his views in any way and I have telephoned him to say so. It was certainly not my intention. Indeed, I remain most grateful to him for his valuable insights.
If only those responsible for the planning and 'selling' of CDTS were as open and forthright. For example your correspondent who generously- but deliberately misleadingly- acknowledges my right to campaign on behalf of those who object to the busway "along the line of the route".
On the contrary, County Transport Co-ordinator Mr Goddard. It is by now, I hope, well known that my aim has always been that the cycleway/footpath be retained for the benefit of all of Chester's people- and for those visitors to our city via the National Cycle Network throughout the entire country.