Monday, February 8, 2010

Morden Park, Merton

Morden Park is a large area of parkland, including sports fields, a pitch-and-putt golf course, and a central area including a swimming pool and Morden Registry Office.
Just the kind of place that local people might cycle to.
For the cyclist, it is a confusing place.
Approaching from Merton Park, you emerge from Poplar Road South to a set of traffic lights:

No cycle facilites here, though - no cycle crossing, no signs, no apparent right of way and no cycle lane toward the park, even though the road, Links Avenue (below), is wide enough. You can see there's an ASL on the opposite side of the road, so it's clearly intended as a cycle route. But you wouldn't want to cycle with your kids on this relatively busy, 30 MPH road.

The logical cycle route would go left into the Links Avenue cul-de-sac, and into the park on a path. However, there is no signing. The cul-de-sac is a forbidding place, with broken glass, abandoned, vandalized buildings and cricket nets that don't look like they've been used since W G Grace played. From The Links Avenue cul-de-sac there is a wide tarmac path at the side of the Park that would be an ideal cycle path (below). But this didn't occur to Merton Council, who clearly don't want the graffiti artists and drug users to be disturbed by rowdy cyclists.

At the end of this path, things get better. The path continues across the Park, and there's a Shared Use sign (below). But remember, up till that point, there was no cycle path. Hold that thought - I'll come back to it.

Look back along the path (below) and you'll see on the back of the Shared Path sign, that old favourite, a dismount sign, in case you were in any doubt about the intention.

Continue on the path and at the end, there's guess what - another dismount sign, along with the traditional metal barriers just to ram the point home (below).

So what now? You could turn left back towards Morden, if you fancy your chances on the attractive dual carriageway A24 (image below). There's a narrow advisory cycle lane. You can't easily turn right across the A24 because the central reservation blocks your path. If you were going to the swimming pool or registry office you'd continue right along the pavement a short way, but there's no shared path signs. You're expected to walk.

So back to that shared path. Remember there was no cycle path leading to the start of it? There's no route on from the end of it! What is the point of a path that goes from nowhere and to nowhere? Welcome to cycling, Merton style!

1 comment:

  1. I agree with everything you say. Trying to use any of the apparent cycle routes in the park is very confusing. According to the TFL cycle route maps it is possible to cycle from Lower Morden Lane to Merton College accross the park - I've tried it a couple of times and haven't found any signs to indicate which path is correct. I also think that using the existing path from Links Close to Lower Morden Lane would be a fantastic way to avoid Hillcross Avenue.