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PCC forming Cycling and Walking Group to help pedestrians and cyclists on roads

Peterborough City Council has approved the creation of a Cycling and Walking Working Group in order to temporarily reallocate road space in favour of pedestrians and cyclists. 
Crescent Bridge cycle lane
City council to form Cycling and Walking Working Group to reallocate road space in favour of pedestrians and cyclists

The group will oversee the delivery of more on-road cycling space on three key streets: Oundle Road from Pleasure Fair Meadows to Lady Lodge Drive; Park Road from Huntly Road to Dogsthorpe Road; and Broadway from the junction of Eastfield Road to Park Crescent. 

Addressing members of the Cabinet at their meeting this week, September 21, Cllr Peter Hiller, Member for Strategic Planning and Commercial Strategy and Investments, said: "Cabinet will be aware that the council has already received funding of approximately £175,000 as part of the emergency active travel fund. 

"This is government money that local authorities should use to reallocate road-space in the city in favour of pedestrians and cyclists by using temporary pop-up facilities, and a number of these temporary facilities have already appeared on roads in the city centre. 

"These schemes are currently temporary measures, and no decision has been made when, or even if they’re going to be removed. 

"We are keen to encourage both cycling and walking as sustainable modes of getting into and around our city, and so will be looking closely at any evidence of the popularity and the continued use of these installations. 

"Further to this initial funding, the council has submitted an application via the Combined Authority for an additional £625,000 to install more cycling arrangements as part of the second phase of the governments’ programme. 

"The council is expecting to hear soon how much funding we will be allocated and regardless of whatever that level might be, it must be spent within this financial year. 

"I would recommend that Cabinet approve the creation of a cross-party, Cycling and Walking Working Group whose purpose would be to look at understanding the issues involved and recommend reasoned, evidenced and workable schemes for our officers to consider and undertake with appropriate and workable consultation. 

"One key action of this working group would be to speed-up recommendations, not delay them, as Cabinet members will appreciate the need to move swiftly and I ask your support for the proposal before you."

Lewis Banks, Principle Sustainable Transport Planning Officer, added: "We already have digital monitoring of the temporary pop-up cycle lanes installed and these will give us the number of cyclists using them. 

"We’re also monitoring the traffic flows in the city following the return to school, business and the office, as well as being conscious of the build-up of traffic nearer to Christmas, and all of this data will be fed into the working group. 

"We also have the Green Wheel, which is Peterborough’s network of routes in and around the city created as a part of the Millennium project. 

"We’ve committed £500,000 to upgrading the Green Wheel, and a survey has been done to determine which sections of the routes would benefit the most from improvements with that work beginning shortly."

Cllr Lynne Ayers, Member for Children’s Services, Education, Skills and the University, asked: "Are there any cycle paths near schools that could be improved? We already have the School Streets Initiative to improve walkways and cycle paths for our children to get to school avoiding the dangers of cars and traffic; but have any schools expressed an interest in this new scheme?"

Lewis Banks replied: "We’ve had twelve expressions of interest from schools so far, and we hope to have ten up and running by the October half-term, with one up and running at the moment, and further site visits scheduled for later this week. 

"At the moment, the emphasis is on the schools to put in temporary measures at drop-off and pick-up times to discourage traffic building up at the entrance. 

"What we’re doing is looking at ways of making a walk or a cycle to school a much more inviting prospect, and that too will be something for the working group to review further to see if there are additional or permanent improvements needed."

Cllr Irene Walsh, Member for Communities, asked: "Could you explain to me why the three streets that have been identified for phase two of the project were chosen?” 

Lewis Banks replied: "We’ve chosen those three roads because part of the allocation guidance stated that it had to be an on-road reallocation of space similar to those that we’ve already put in place in phase one around the city. 

"In addition, the guidance asks for roads that are already linked to the local authority’s cycling and walking infrastructure. 

"Our infrastructure is only in draft form at the moment, and still needs to be consulted on; but it has already highlighted routes where there is the biggest propensity for increasing walking and cycling, and all three of the streets chosen fell into that category as some of them already have cycling and walking provisions on them."

Members of Cabinet approved the recommendation unanimously. 

By Robert Alexander

Local Democracy Reporting Service