The first tranche of measures to establish temporary and permanent cycle and walking schemes in light of changes to lockdown have been announced by Northamptonshire County Council.
The council was given indicative funding of £351k by the Government recently from the Active Travel Emergency Fund.
This first block of money is to be used for temporary ‘quick win’ measures to encourage people to cycle and walk rather than use public transport.
The idea is to reduce the pressure on public transport, the capacity on which is restricted owing to social distancing guidance. The aim is also to encourage a long-term legacy of active travel.
An initial example of how the money will be used includes:
- Creation of additional road space for cyclists and pedestrians – with the first scheme being implemented in Montagu Street, Kettering from June 27 working closely with the Borough Council
Other options being actively considered include:
- New secure cycle parking
- Temporary traffic measures or restrictions to prioritise cyclists and pedestrians including on the London Road in Daventry, St Giles Street in Northampton and a number of schemes in Kettering
- New cycle lanes
The Council is already acted quickly with information for cyclists on journey times to key destinations shown on its variable message signs in Northampton and Kettering.
Alongside this the Council is also looking to:
- Accelerate the installation of four new digital cycle counters in Northampton on Kettering Road, Harlestone Road, Newport Pagnell Road and Mereway arteries
- Upgrade and extend bus and active travel lanes to improve safety, including the introduction of enforcement cameras starting with the Weedon Road in Northampton
- Make existing routes safer and more attractive for cyclists
Cllr Jason Smithers, county council cabinet member for Highways and Place, said: “I’m delighted that we have been able to progress these quick win proposals so promptly as they will make a big difference to people who are making their journeys on foot or by bike.
“We’ve all noticed how many more people are cycling since lockdown has started to be eased, so it makes sense that we step in and help facilitate this as much as possible.
“Travelling on foot or bike has widespread benefits in terms of wellbeing and also in being kind to the environment by reducing traffic congestion and pollution.”
Work is also continuing in identifying medium-term to long-term cycling and walking projects.
So far, more than 1,500 have responded to a consultation being held where people can identify on a map where such initiatives could bring a benefit.
People have until July 3 to feed into the survey.
The county council will then draw up a list of schemes which can be taken forward with the possibility of a total of £1.7million Government funding being available via the Emergency Active Travel Fund for all of the schemes.