Could cycling be the future in Ipswich? New bike-friendly plans could ease congestion in town centre

The annual Ipswich Sky Ride weaving through the town on Sunday with all ages taking part - should we

The annual Ipswich Sky Ride weaving through the town on Sunday with all ages taking part - should we do more to encourage cycling? - Credit: Archant

Major improvements to Ipswich town centre’s cycle network could be on the horizon in a bid to make cycling safer and easier.

The annual Ipswich Sky Ride weaving through the town with all ages taking part

The annual Ipswich Sky Ride weaving through the town with all ages taking part - Credit: Archant

Plans unveiled by Ipswich Borough Council have revealed dozens of suggestions including creating dedicated cycle paths, additional cycle lanes and more pedestrian-friendly areas, should funding be available from Suffolk County Council highways teams.

While no concrete proposals have been announced, the matter is set to be discussed by borough councillors tomorrow, and sounds an intention to do more for cyclists in the town.

Carole Jones, portfolio holder for development at the council, said: “We are very aware that as a town we need improvements to cycle routes.

“We haven’t got a cycle network – what we have got is a variety of routes that don’t link up.

“This is looking at routes that link up with one another and looking to encourage people to cycle and feel safe.”

The report has highlighted the importance of designating land in future housing developments for cycle paths – including any possible Northern Fringe development.

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But the document also suggests ways to enhance existing cycle and walking routes, with ideas including pedestrianisation of Princes Street North, Queen Street and Upper Brook Street, more safe cycle paths and the creation of ‘cycle priority’ areas on roads.

Among the areas highlighted for improvements are between the rail station and the Waterfront, connecting the Waterfront and the town centre, and around Cardinal Park.

The need for foot and cycle bridges as part of the new cut wet dock crossing have also been voiced.

Ms Jones added: “People cycle for different reasons, so what we want to do is have a cycle network that invites people to do it without thinking, and get them to cycle to work, or cycle to school.”

It is hoped that more people cycling to work would help cut down on congestion in the town centre at peak times.

The report follows a consultation which was launched in November inviting members of the public to share their thoughts on cycling in Ipswich.

Events such as the popular town centre Sky Ride and the Women’s Cycle Tour of Britain have been promoting cycling, alongside 2016 being marked as the Suffolk Year of Cycling to celebrate the Suffolk landscape and get people taking up the cause.

Will cycle paths help? Do you cycle in town? Will this make a difference? Share your thoughts below.