A new path in Gwynedd giving pedestrians and cyclists more width than motorists has ignited fury over what is being described as an 'anti-car agenda'. Opinions are divided on the fresh active travel renovations carried out along a bustling gateway route; some are horrified by the reduced road space for cars, vans and buses while others have applauded the additional pavement width to be shared between those on two feet and two wheels.

In an attempt to alter the mode of transport adopted by commuters in Bangor, Gwynedd, ongoing works that cost £1.2m have substantially narrowed Penrhos Road - one of the primary entry points into the city centre - making room for a new path aimed at stimulating shared use.

The current adjustments affect the stretch of roadway between Coed y Maes and Coed Mawr. The lengthy strategy entails transforming the entire span of Penrhos Road originating from the A487, and establishing cycle lanes on Penchwintan Road to facilitate connection with Bangor Railway Station. The overall pathway implied in these plans will be around 2.5 miles long. For the latest Welsh news delivered to your inbox sign up to our newsletter

READ MORE: How a football club brought hope back to the people of a city dying on its knees

DON'T MISS: The pretty Welsh village with one huge problem - it stinks

Barring a few tight spots, the dual-use path will account for three metres of the road's width. Cyngor Gwynedd stated this would reduce the residual roadway to a mere six metres, reports North Wales Live. But considering included allocated parking areas, the actual available drive-way trims down further. Aerial photographs show the significant width of the shared pedestrian-cyclist path being nearly equivalent to the double-lane carriageway.

Road layout see from above
Seen from above, it's clear how much road space has been lost. Until new road markings are painted, one lane will remain much narrower than the other
Drivers have complained the narrow lanes leave them with little scope to avoid potholes

Some motorists are outraged at the developments; one driver expressed their disapproval saying: "It's utterly absurd that the cycle lane is broader than car lanes! This leaves drivers desperately squeezing past potholes, which the council seems utterly oblivious to. Absolute madness."

One critic voiced their frustration, saying: "They've completely lost the plot. Even the cycle paths in Amsterdam with thousands of people using them are not this wide. This is nothing more than an attack on your right to drive a car." Despite the changes, old road markings can still be seen, leading to uneven lane widths and complaints from drivers about being squeezed against new kerbs. There's also a worry that the lanes have become too tight for ambulances and other large vehicles. Support award-winning journalism with WalesOnline’s Premium app on Apple or Android

Gwynedd Council insisted that the project adhered to current design standards and maintained that the road "remains safe for all vehicles". A council representative stated: "The work is ongoing, and whilst we appreciate the impact the development may cause in the short-term, the road will be realigned as the work is completed in the coming months."

The new shared-user path is taking over what was once a partly grassed pavement, approximately 2.5 metres in width, prompting some to decry the initiative as a "waste of money". With Penchwintan Road being too slender for a shared-user path, cyclists are expected to ride on the road. On uphill sections, cycle lanes will be merely advisory, allowing cars to encroach upon them, it's said.

Plans for the final stretch leading to the railway station are still under discussion. At this juncture, Caernarfon Road is quite narrow and includes a railway underpass. A separate scheme is in the works to tackle these challenges. Along the 2.5-mile stretch, new road crossings are being installed, including signalised and parallel crossings with extra space for cyclists. Existing crossings are also being upgraded with dropped kerbs and tactile paving.

The aim is to give cyclists and pedestrians "frequent opportunities to cross" what can be a busy road. Formal crossings will give "priority to cycles, pedestrians and wheelers". The majority of respondents to a scheme consultation were in favour of the plans. Some 47% of respondents were "very supportive" of an improved pedestrian path, though this fell to 33% for a shared-use path.

Moreover, almost half of respondents (48%) said they were "likely" or very likely" to change their method of travel if a shared-user path was installed. Welcoming the new scheme, one person said they felt "trapped" by the fast and busy road, adding: "I have to pay for a taxi to the shops rather than cross the road for the bus. " Another said: "When walking children to school it is very difficult to cross the road."

Pictured before the active travel improvements, residents say Penrhos Road is very busy during rush hour and a fast route when things are quieter

Yet some residents worried about an "accident waiting to happen" when vehicles emerged from driveways as cyclists sped along pavements. And although the shared user path will be segregated, even a frequent cyclist was unimpressed. It's feared that the high number of children and pet owners utilising the path could present a danger for pedestrians and cyclists alike. Adding his concerns, the cyclist stated: "Shared use paths increase the sense of motorists' entitlement and create an us-and-them attitude, whereby motorists feel that cyclists should exclusively use the cycle paths."

Securing funding through the Welsh Government's Active Travel scheme, Cyngor Gwynedd was able to push forward with the plans in collaboration with Transport for Wales, its primary aim being to secure safe walking and cycling routes for the local population. A council spokesperson said: "Ffordd Penrhos connects residential areas with schools, the hospital and employment areas. This project has been developed in response to safety concerns in the area over a number of years, and we are pleased that the scheme will provide active travel options for those travelling to primary and secondary schools in the area. We are confident the improvements will make it easier for children and parents to get to school and nursery safely by foot or bicycle.

"The first phase of the Penrhosgarnedd shared path in Gwynedd is set to complete soon, with aspirations for further funding and similar schemes across the county. Cyngor Gwynedd's ultimate goal is to encourage more walking and cycling to tackle public health issues, parking congestion, and climate change."