In Swansea, Wales, there is a main road that runs all along the bay from the marina and city centre to Mumbles, a little coastal town within the city limits. In between the beach and the main road there is a mixed-use cycle and pedestrian path that runs about the same distance. While you use can use this path to easily cycle 6 miles alongside the beach, it is quite challenging to cross the road when you get to your destination.
If you’d like to get to the university, which is situated just on the other side of the main road next to the beach, you have a choice between a rickety pedestrian bridge and a set of traffic lights. The pedestrian bridge does not have bike gutters, so you’ll have to carry your bicycle over your shoulder - easier said than done for those with panniers or heavier bicycles. For pedestrians and cyclists, crossing at the traffic lights means waiting at four separate pedestrian crossings, taking around 10 minutes to get across. Life would be much easier if there was a single diagonal crossing, but that probably doesn’t harmonise with city planners’ ode to the car. Their most recent answer was to designate the pavement on the other side of the road a mixed-use path as well, but it’s so close to the road that you’re subjected to noise and exhaust fumes the whole time, as well as constantly stopping for cars turning into or out of side roads.
There used to be a beautiful bridge a little further down the road, built from stone and steel. While the stone steps and substructure of the bridge still exists, they’re blocked off with pieces of scaffolding1. The steel superstructure has been taken off and moved to form part of the bicycle/pedestrian path, which is what you see in the cover photo.
This scaffolding carries a curious rental sign. I wonder if the city council has been paying for the scaffolding ever since the bridge was dismantled. ↩