Mapping the city

The Cycle Winchester Big Map

The latest addition to our website is a big interactive map of Winchester showing the things that make it hard for people to cycle, together with ideas for making it better. You can find it here:

The Cycle Winchester map

Why we’ve made this map

Two main reasons:

Although the core Cycle Winchester team lives all over Winchester, we don’t know about every road and path, so we wanted a place to share the knowledge of what’s wrong and what could be done better. 

Whenever we  talk to council staff about improving cycling, we get asked, “What are the top-priority places that need improving for cycling?” Now, we don’t think it’s enough just to paint a few lines here or change a few junctions there – the problem in Winchester is too big too be fixed with a bit of tinkering. However we have to start somewhere, so a list of problems and suggestions is a good thing to have handy. and it provides solid evidence of the scale of the problem.

Cycle Winchester campaigners can use the information from this map to put proposals and suggestions in whenever the opportunity comes up. We’re also sharing it with Winchester Movement Strategy team at Hampshire and Winchester councils.

Where the information comes from

Partly from discussions stretching back several years between local cycle campaigners and the county and city councils. In 2016 we agreed a long list of cycle improvements that could be made around Winchester. (You won’t be surprised to learn that almost none of them have happened.) On top of that we have suggestions from within the volunteer team, and ideas and comments collected from a public exercise we did last year, where we handed out paper maps to people and asked them to scribble on the paper to show where they cycled – or would like to cycle – and what the problems were with their regular routes. 

We’re looking for more ideas, though. So please have a look at the map, especially at the routes between places that you personally might visit in town,  and let us know if you think there’s something more we should add. We’re looking for things that put people off cycling or make it difficult for them to do so: maybe a too-narrow path, a busy road where cyclists feel intimidated by close-passing traffic, a path where cycling is banned unnecessarily – anything. We also welcome ideas for fixing the problem, but you don’t have to have a solution – you can just tell us the problem. Send us an email.

Although we’re mainly concentrating on Winchester we also want to capture the issues for people wanting to cycle into Winchester from surrounding villages and towns as far out as Otterbourne or South Wonston or Alresford. 

Please note that we’re not looking for general statements (e.g. “There should be more cycle lanes in town”). This is about identifying specific places on the map where improvement is needed – a junction, a stretch of road, a bridge, whatever.

Moving on

The next stage with the map is a comprehensive exercise to identify some “strategic routes” around town – routes you might use to cycle between the main suburbs and key destinations like the city centre, schools and colleges, the hospital, the station and so on. We’ll then use this to demonstrate which problems are highest priority because they affect one of these routes. (For example, cycling from Winnall to the railway station ought to be a fairly short, easy trip – but it isn’t. We’ll be mapping the possible routes for that journey and highlighting how the could be made better.) If you’d like to get involved with doing that, let us know.

The Cycle Winchester map

2 thoughts on “Mapping the city

  1. I feel very strongly that the surfaces of the roads should also be considered seriously, but rarely comes into discussion. A road with dips and cracks means the cyclist must swerve out to avoid the hole or be thrown off the bike, and that involves cycling into the path of any car coming up behind. For that reason, all bikes should use lights now – rear lights in particular (rechargeable are excellent) as all cars do at this time of year. High-vis jackets help safety as well. The road surfaces causing particular danger are where the surface has been covered in a yellow layer to warn of a junction – the layer breaks almost immediately into dangerous cracks. The cobbled streets are also an expensive disaster, as in Kingsgate and Little Minster Street, where the cobbles almost immediately sink into dangerous hollows. Similarly the cobbling of the High Street at the edge means bicycles cannot use the edge of that road to go uphill. ALL bicycles should have bells as well as lights at all times by law.
    I have cycled here for 35 years to shop, visit friends or theatres, rather than being a “Lycra excerciser”, and feel saddened by the total lack of improvement.

    1. Jane, thanks for your comment. You’re right, we focus on the campaign to provide new, safe, facilities for cyclists, and perhaps don’t give enough attention to the long-term maintenance issues. Though I can assure you, when there is new provision for cyclists, we insist on surfaces that fully meet relevant standards; the recent Gear Change standards issued by DfT are helpful in this regard. It’s helpful if cyclists can report deteriorated and dangerous surfaces. The Fill That Hole website and mobile app makes that a little easier.

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