North Somerset towns have been awarded an additional £473,750 from Central Government to introduce a wave of permanent walking and cycling routes that give additional choice to local residents looking to use active travel in a socially distanced environment.
The Councill's bid to the government follows a raft of cycling investment and improvement in cycling, long-term walking and cycling infrastructure plans, and free bike loans.
Cycling rates skyrocketed this summer as people dusted off their old bikes and sales of cycles boomed during lockdown and beyond. Locally in North Somerset, there was a 29 per cent increase in people using local cycle paths compared to last summer.
North Somerset was among the only Local Authorities in the country to be given more money than they asked for as a result of proactive engagement with local communities and the strength of local policymakers' ambition to encourage the healthy, safe, and thriving future of walking and cycle travel in the district.
The funding is part of a national £175m grant from the Department for Transport (DfT), which will see new safe routes for people to walk and cycle safely built rapidly in 2021.
The new permanent schemes, which will be completed next year, will include:
- Improvements to Hill Road and The Beach in Clevedon with a one-way system to allow better pedestrian access and cycling
- Creating a cycling corridor on Baker Street and Milton Road in Weston-super-Mare, introducing a 20mph limit, preventing rat-running of cars and offering better links from residential areas to the town centre
- Introducing a segregated cycling route over Hildesheim Bridge to the town centre in Weston-super-Mare
- Several school schemes that offer safe cycling and walking routes to school for children and parents
- Establishing a quiet lanes network of cycle and pedestrian routes between Yatton, Clevedon and Nailsea, while maintaining essential and farm accesses.
Cllr John Crockford-Hawley, chair of the Council’s Strategic Planning (SPEDR) Policy and Scrutiny Committee commented “living in central Weston, it’s been wonderful seeing the increased uptake of cycling and walking during Lockdown. It’s become a real Nirvana”
“You would have been mistaken for thinking the seafront was one in Netherlands, or Denmark, rather than Weston-super-Mare, due to the abundance of active travel taking place. We have a real opportunity to build upon this by increasing the number of safe spaces available on the road and pavement for cyclists so that people can commute and get the exercise they need without putting others at risk.”
Would you like to have your say on how to make walking and cycling the norm over the next decade?
North Somerset Council is now consulting on its draft active travel strategy, its 10-year plan to harness and further increase the huge rise seen in walking and cycling during 2020 from both residents and visitors.