The Riverside path is probably Derby’s most popular cycleway and provides an important link from the City Centre to the east of the City. It forms part of Sustrans’ National Cycle Network Route 6. The parts of the path nearer to the city are surfaced with tarmac whilst those sections between the Refuse Site on Raynesway and Borrowash are surfaced with crushed stone.
The crushed stone sections have had problems for years with an inconsistent surface that allows puddles to form with, in rainy weather, these growing across the full width and meaning that users of the path (both walkers and cyclists) need to expect to get wet and muddy – not an encouragement to use the path for commuting.
During the winter of 2019-2020 the extensive rainfall led to the River Derwent flooding sections of the Riverside path and destroying portions of it. The path is constructed of a fabric membrane covered by the crushed stone and, in places, the fabric has been exposed and damaged and large amounts of the crushed stone have been moved and washed away. The sum effect is that, during the summer of 2020, parts of the path were not fit for use and could be dangerous for less experienced cyclists and families.
Some members of DCG worked with Sustrans locally and discussed the puddle situation with the Council (back in 2018) with the agreement that a maintenance plan would be put in place. Due to funding issues this was never delivered.
With the added destruction in 2019-20 winter, the issue was raised again with the Council without success. DCG members Ian Dent, Ian Cooper and Dave Clasby have progressed the problem further and identified that the worst of the problems are within the area owned by Goodmans (the logistics company by Fernhook Avenue). One reason for the problems not being fixed was because of plans to transfer the land ownership from Goodmans to the City Council but the necessary agreement was taking a long time (years!).
After lobbying of Goodmans by DCG, the company has fixed the problems on their land in November 2020. The fix seems to consist of adding soem new gravel / sand / crushed stone mix and rolling the surface. This removes the problems of the large loose stones but leads to a bumpy surface which may wear and improve?
Thus the worst of the flood damage has been fixed but the ongoing maintenance and puddle issues remain. The fixes aren’t complete rebuilds of the path (which is what is needed on the worst sections) but brings the flood damaged sections up to a quality (poor) of the rest of the non tarmacked sections of the path.
DCG will try and progress a longer term solution to the maintenance issues with the City Council which are further complicated by differing groups within the Council being responsible for different parts of the solution.
Update Feb 2021: Floods at the end of January 2021 have undone all the repair work on the Goodman owned land. Goodman confirm that they are aware of the problems and say they “will arrange repairs once the worst of the winter is over and the flood risk has receded but in the meantime we will ensure that the area is safe”. They are considering options for a more permanent solution to avoid this recurring every time the river rises.
The non-Goodman sections are still subject to extensive puddles preventing use of parts of the path and we still await any news from Derby City Council as to how the issues will be addressed.