Cabinet green light for detailed work on 20 changes to road layouts to improve walking and cycling routes
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Plans to begin improving cycle routes across Suffolk have been given the green light, with work to begin on detailed proposals for 20 priority routes.
Suffolk County Council’s cabinet on Tuesday gave backing for officers to come up with detailed plans for the first 20 routes of a 148-route wishlist for cycle upgrades, following a cross-party task force assessing ways of getting more people on their bikes.
Those schemes, in Ipswich, Beccles, Felixstowe, Bury St Edmunds, Sudbury and Stowmarket are considered to be the ones which can have the biggest initial impact in helping people prioritise cycling over using their car.
MORE: See the full wishlist of 148 priority areas for Suffolk cycling upgradesThose include measures such as pop-up cycle lanes, suspending parking, closing some roads to through-traffic and widening narrow cycle lanes.
Councillor David Ritchie, Conservative councillor for Bungay who chaired the task group, said: “Everyone in Suffolk will have noticed a massive increase in the number of people cycling.”
He added: “It will be a flag to government and the public that we are serious about cycling infrastructure in Suffolk, and hopefully that will put us in a good position to draw in funds from government and elsewhere.
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“It does seem that we are ahead of most other rural counties.”
The first 20 improvements are expected to come back within the coming weeks with detailed plans as part of emergency measures helping people travel as the coronavirus lockdown eases.
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An initial £337,000 has been provided for Suffolk from the Department of Transport, with the potential for further cash if measures are successful.
The cabinet also gave the go ahead for work to pursue a rolling five-year plan programme of cycle upgrades, which initially begins with a wishlist of 148 priority routes across the county.
However, those projects are dependent on securing funding, including government grants, and housing developer contributions, as well as some county council funding from the transport plan.
The cabinet report stressed that the 148 schemes had not yet been confirmed and “should be viewed as an overall plan of how cycling schemes can be implemented, as funding becomes available, not a programme of works to be delivered on an annual basis.”
MORE: Road closures eyed in boost for walking and cycling routesElfrede Brambley Crawshaw, leader of the Liberal Democrat, Green and Independent group said having a cycle plan was “brilliant, brilliant news” but said some of the schemes would have benefited from more input by local councillors whose knowledge of the area could have identified some better instances than some routes which were “quite bizarre”.
The full list of 20 initial schemes are as follows:
• Portman Road (South), Ipswich – Road to be closed as a through route to motorised vehicles at the junction with Princes Street. Suspension of on street limited waiting parking to provide pop-up cycle lanes.
• Portman Road (North), Ipswich – Road to be closed at Portman Road between Crescent Road and St Matthews Primary School and between Dalton Road and Handford Road. Suspension of on street limited waiting parking to provide pop-up cycle lanes. This will provide a key cycle lane from the north west of the town centre to the railway station.
• Rushmere Area, Ipswich – Closing a number of motorised vehicle through routes on the residential area approximately 1 mile from the town centre. This will provide safer walking and cycling routes because of the pavements in this area are less than 2m wide.
• Elm Street, Ipswich – Removing the on street pay and display parking bays, making the street one-way for motorised vehicles and providing temp cycle lanes on both sides of the road. This location links to the Portman Road scheme and provides part of a key east/west town centre cycle facility.
• Princes Street, Ipswich – This is a key walking/cycling route from the railway station to the town centre. The temporary measures comprise reallocation of road space to provide wider walking and cycling routes.
• Colchester Road/Valley Road, Ipswich – This is a key cycling route around the northern side of Ipswich that has been identified through Suffolk County Council’s work on a Local Cycling and Walking Infrastructure Plan (LCWIP) for Ipswich. Temporary measures will enhance existing cycle lanes.
• Bixley Road/Heath Road, Ipswich – Installation of temporary cycle lanes by reallocating road space away from motorised vehicles. This provides a missing link on the outer ring road of Ipswich, linking in with Colchester Road and Valley Road. This provides separation of walking and cycling along footpaths that are narrow in places.
• Bramford Lane, Ipswich – Installation of a road closure at the railway bridge. The road narrows at this location and has been used as rat-run for a long period of time. Closing this route to through traffic will enhance an already busy walking route to nearby schools but also enhances a key cycling commuter route from the north west of the town into the centre and vice versa.
• Bridge St Slip Road, Ipswich – This short section of road has been used as a way for motorised traffic to miss out a roundabout at this junction. It is located on a key walking and cycling route from the south of the town (Wherstead Road) into the town centre via the historic St Peters Street. Closing this rat run to motorised vehicles will provide more space for walking and cycling.
• Rosehill Area, Ipswich –Closing a number of motorised vehicle through routes on this residential area less than 1 mile from the town centre. This will provide safer walking and cycling routes and remove through traffic.
• Various locations Ipswich Town Centre – Reduction in waiting times at puffin and toucan crossings to ensure people do not have to wait long, which could lead to congestion and social distancing being compromised.
• Various locations Ipswich – We will install additional cycling parking at key locations around the town centre. These are to supplement the existing cycle parking facilities.
• Compiegne Way to Town Centre, Bury St Edmunds – Provision of a cycle lane between these two locations which links the existing cycle facilities to the north of this location to the town centre. This will be via temporary pop-up cycle lanes.
• Beetons Way, Bury St Edmunds – Along this route there are two high school and three primary schools. Some cycle facilities do exist, however, these will be enhanced. The facilities will also be extended along the entire length of the road including temporary narrowing of side roads and closing some side roads to motorised vehicles to reduce conflict with walking and cycling.
• Risbygate Street, Bury St Edmunds – Cycle facilities already exist on part of this route that goes from West Suffolk College to the town centre. There is a section, from Parkway Roundabout to St Andrews Street where no facilities exist. Through the suspension of on street parking and reallocation of road space we shall be installing a temporary cycle lane to complete the route.
• Cannon Street – Bury St Edmunds – Low Traffic Neighbourhood. We are closing a number of motorised vehicle through routes on this residential area close to the town centre. This will provide safer walking and cycling routes and remove through traffic. Supports active travel and social distancing as many footways in this area are less than 2m wide.
• Lowestoft Road, Beccles – Some advisory facilities on road exist already. The plan is to make those sections mandatory and provide light segregation as well as looking to narrow side road entries or close them where possible. We will also extend the facility to link with nearby Worlingham where simple and easy interventions are possible.
• High Road Felixstowe – There are existing advisory cycle lanes on part of this road that helps to provide a link from the town centre/railway station to the east of Felixstowe and Felixstowe Ferry. We will upgrade these advisory lanes to mandatory and provide some light segregation. We will also extend the existing facilities by a further 900m to Cliff Road.
• Stowmarket – Provision of additional cycle parking in the town centre. Details are to be confirmed.
• Sudbury – Provision of additional cycle parking in the town centre on Market Hill and other locations. Details are to be confirmed.