Posted on Tuesday 19th June 2012
Cllr Andrew Morgan and Mick Antoniw AM officially opening the new route
Great news for the local community and visitors as a new walking and cycling route is opened in Rhondda Cynon Taf to celebrate National Bike Week (16th-24th June)!
Rhondda Cynon Taf Council together with charity Sustrans and the Valleys Regional Park Initiative have today (19th June 2012) officially opened a new route which provides a direct link from the northern end of the Church Village Community Route in Tonteg to Treforest via a 2km newly tarmaced shared use path. The route forms an important link in an ongoing project between Sustrans and local authorities to extend the current National Cycle Network in the Valleys by a further 100km.
This new route has benefited from a £1.2m investment from the Valleys Regional Park initiative which is part funded by the European Regional Development Fund through the Welsh Government and with the Welsh Government’s Regional Transport Plan Grant, via Sewta. It is also part of a national project from Sustrans to build new walking and cycling routes in communities across the UK thanks to the Big Lottery Fund.
The new route was officially opened by Mick Antoniw, AM and Rhondda Cynon Taf Councillor Andrew Morgan, Cabinet Member for Frontline Services, in a special launch event held along the new route and in the University of Glamorgan.. Local school children from Parc Lewis Primary School, St Michael’s Primary School, Pontypridd High School and guest riders leisurely rode along the new route.
To mark the auspicious occasion a specially commissioned Portrait Bench, featuring international star Tom Jones, John Hughes, owner of the Grogg Shop and Evans James, was unveiled along the route. The Portrait Bench is part of a new and unique National collection of local portraits. Each Portrait Bench is a collection of three distinctive life size local figures cut from steel and installed by a bench on the National Cycle Network, inviting you to sit or step into the space and become part of the Portrait Bench.
Sir Tom Jones OBE said: "I'm happy to be part of the Treforest Community Route, it's a great way of encouraging people to go for a bike ride or
take a walk. The portrait bench looks great and hopefully will be enjoyed by many."
There were also a host of activities taking place at the Students Union in the University, including sustainable transport information stands, artwork activities, cycling proficiency sessions, bike maintenance workshops and a showcase of Pontypridd High Schools Bike Excellence Centre – where old bikes are brought back to life and either donated or sold for next to nothing to the local community.
The £1.2m works have included construction of a 3m wide shared use path and a ramped link to provide access to Llantwit Road .
The scheme hopes to encourage active travel in the local area and gives residents the opportunity to travel to a variety of local facilities by foot or bicycle. It also benefits students and visitors in the area, encouraging them to take more sustainable travel through Treforest.
The work, funded through Valleys Regional Park initiative and Sewta’s Regional Transport Plan Grant,, is part of a project, being delivered by Sustrans and local authorities that will see the creation of an additional 100 km of new walking and cycling paths across the South Wales Valleys to develop tourism opportunities, encourage local people to lead more active lifestyles and provide more sustainable transport links.
Councillor Andrew Morgan, Cabinet Member for Frontline Services, said: “I am delighted to officially open the new route today. This new route will further encourage residents to undertake sustainable travel and improve health and well-being in and around our County Borough and beyond. This route is just one of the many improvements the Council has committed to in partnership with Sustrans and the Valleys Regional Park initiative and plans are in place to start works on phase 3 of the Taff Trail improvements later in 2012.
“This is yet another example of the close working relationships between the Council and its colleagues with the Welsh Government through which this jointly funded scheme of over £1m will undoubtedly improve sustainable travel.”
Mick Antoniw, Assembly Member for Pontypridd, said: “I was extremely pleased to attend the opening of the much anticipated new Treforest to Tonteg walking and cycling route.
“This project, the result of partnership working between the local authority, Sustrans and the Valleys Regional Development Fund, will prove to be an excellent way for people to travel to work, spend time with their friends and families and improve their fitness levels.
“Importantly, use of the route is absolutely free of charge for every member of the community. I’d encourage all those who are able take advantage of this new facility to do so: I’m sure they won’t be disappointed.”
Lee Waters, Director of Sustrans Cymru said, "Traffic-free routes such as this one help to provide people with more choice when deciding how to get around for their everyday journeys.
"Research shows that kids who walk or cycle to school are better learners in the classroom. With the route linking communities with two local schools, we hope parents will have the confidence to allow their children out two wheels for the journey to school."
"Located near the University of Glamorgan, the Treforest Community Route offers fantastic commuting opportunities for staff and students, as well as being an excellent leisure route for tourists and local people".
For further information on walking and cycling routes and visit www.sustrans.org.uk for more information on National Bike Week visit www.bikeweek.org.uk