Uni ‘chain gang’ beats hold ups on two wheels

Uni staff on the park and cycle scheme. Left to right, the staff taking part are ' Ali Pretswell, Phillip Kelly and Beki Thomson.

Uni staff on the park and cycle scheme. Left to right, the staff taking part are ' Ali Pretswell, Phillip Kelly and Beki Thomson.

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While the Guardbridge roadworks have been causing a headache for motorists, university staff have been getting on their bikes to beat the lengthy delays.

With advance warning that the essential repairs to the busy main road bridge spanning the River Eden at Guardbridge was expected to cause serious traffic congestion, St Andrews University’s Environment and Energy Manager, Dr Roddy Yarr, thought it would be good to take a green approach to the problem.

The environment and energy team came up with the idea of a ‘park and cycle’ scheme, in which staff members who normally used the road to get to and from work could park up at the university’s Guardbridge site and use pedal power to cover the last four miles into town.

A secure overnight lock-up facility has been provided for any staff who want to leave their bike at Guardbridge overnight.

“Our aim is to reduce the university’s carbon footprint and with the car park at Guardbridge right next to the National Cycle Path, it seemed an ideal opportunity to encourage staff who might not use their bike for getting to work to give it a go,” said Roddy.

Uptake had been slow but steady - six people had taken up the facility by Tuesday - but Roddy was confident that if the weather remained fair, more would be tempted to whizz by the congestion.

“Although some of the stretches of the path are on the pavements, most is segregated from the traffic so it is a safe route, especially for anyone who is not a confident cyclist.”

He added: “We are always looking for good ideas that encourage alternative forms of transport and this seemed like an ideal opportunity to use the cycle path that runs right through Guardbridge to St Andrews, at no cost and with a few less cars driving into the town.”

He would like to see the scheme extended to provide permanent proper bike lock-ups in the car park.

Resurfacing work at New Bridge, on the A91, is expected to continue until Monday, August 18. The repairs are being carried out from 7am to 10pm, seven days a week.

During the works, one lane will remain open across the bridge.

Three-way temporary traffic signals will be used to control traffic approaching the bridge and, if possible, motorists are being encouraged to find alternative routes.

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