‘Absolutely bonkers’ - baffled residents react to ‘wiggly’ seafront road markings in Clevedon

Local opinion is divided over the ‘confusing’ new traffic system at The Beach
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“Absolutely bonkers, the whole thing is a waste of time and money,” says Steve, with a shake of the head. When it comes to the ‘wiggly’ white lines painted on the road at Clevedon seafront, the locals are certainly straight talking.

The wavy white lines have been painted on the road at The Beach to slow down traffic and make the road feel narrower. But these new road markings, and the creation of a new cycle path and central section for cars to park, have been the talking point of Clevedon in recent weeks.

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Before the new layout, cars could park at The Beach and face out towards the sea, but there are now fewer parking spaces and vehicles now park in a line parallel with the sea front, separated from the pavement by a cycle path.

“My mum always liked to sit in the car and look out to the sea but she can’t do that now,’ says Steve. “We were here the other day for 45 minutes and we didn’t see a single cyclist in the cycle lane but we saw several riding down the road.”

Many residents and businesses have objected to the changes. The new layout also means that delivery vehicles for the cafes and restaurants along The Beach also struggle to park, as well as customers.

Dom Lamy runs the new Spanish tapas restaurant Escala and he says his business has already suffered from the roadworks. “It has cost us about £12-£15,000 in revenue as we have lost a significant amount of parking for customers. We complained, but nothing was done about it,” he said.

The Beach at Clevedon has new cycle lanes and parking baysThe Beach at Clevedon has new cycle lanes and parking bays
The Beach at Clevedon has new cycle lanes and parking bays
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“I think it has set us back a year. It’s a worry because we have signed a new five-year lease for the restaurant but I think this stretch of the seafront will be at least 20% quieter for tourism now.”

The work on the road is almost complete but the wavy lines have left people confused and opinion is divided. Local resident Jo said: ‘The thing I think is really sad is that old people used to park here and face the sea with their sandwiches and flask of tea and they can’t do that anymore.

“If they are now parking in the middle, only the person on the passenger side of the car will get a sea view. There’s also a worry that you might open your car door and hit a cyclist in the cycle lane.

“It hasn’t gone down very well locally. A lot of the cyclists who come along here are real MAMILs [middle-aged man in lycra] - they’re not going to want to cycle with the leisure cyclists who will using the cycle lane.

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“I wouldn’t have minded if there was a problem in the first place but I don’t think there was, although I know they are coming from an environmental standpoint and agree there should be fewer cars and vans.’

The new road markings at The Beach in ClevedonThe new road markings at The Beach in Clevedon
The new road markings at The Beach in Clevedon

Pensioner Brian Gilling was more sympathetic about the new road layout. He said: “I think it’s a lot better now it’s one way but I think they have a bit too much space for the bikes. Perhaps they should have widened the pavement and put more seating in.

“But think it’s better being one way because cars used to come down the hill very fast and you couldn’t cross the road.‘I’ve been living in Clevedon ten years and it’s lovely … but they do complain a lot down here!’

Brian O’Kelly runs cycling group Bristol Road Club and he says he’s all in favour of the new provision for bike users. He said: “We regularly go to Clevedon for a café stop or pass through it on the way to Weston and Portishead. Many of our members have experienced the new cycle lane on the beach front, as well as the cycle routes around Clevedon.

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“All the cyclists I have spoken to support the cycle lane, as it is the Clevedon start of the Pier to Pier Way, which is a traffic-free route to Weston, and will be 13 miles long.

“This will encourage more business in Clevedon, will make the sea front safer and so attract more leisure users and tourists to the area, which will aid economic recovery for Clevedon. It will also reduce the distance by four miles, making cycling more of an option for commuters.

“Some of us in the club have spoken to the local café owners, and whereas we understand their concern about the possible short-term impact on business, we are sure that once they see the benefits to the tourist industry, they will have a different perspective.

“The scheme was consulted on extensively in 2021 and was then amended after local input and knowledge from residents and businesses. I think the objections are coming from a small group of people and is being stirred up by the media. We are looking forward to riding the complete route later this year.’

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A spokesperson for North Somerset Council said: “The short stretch of wavy line at the roadside is a design feature that creates an unconventional highway environment with the combined effect of both slowing traffic down and discouraging parking at the roadside.

“The markings are not yet complete and once the road’s top surface has been applied – as shown in the image – the full effect will be realised. This work will be carried out in the spring.

“Safety is a priority and a road safety audit was completed when the scheme was designed. There will also be a further one undertaken when it’s completed.”

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