Are you a cyclist fed up with weaving round parked cars in cycle lanes? Are you thinking of getting into cycling more but are concerned about road safely? Or are you a car driver who feels cyclists already have too many rights?
With covid changing many aspects of all our lives – transport and the way we all get about has come more sharply into the spotlight during the past months.
Transport Secretary Grant Shapps announced a £250m investment on swift emergency interventions to make walking and cycling easier and safer during the pandemic in order to avoid over crowding the transport network. The interventions will ensure those people who need and want to make essential journeys and take daily exercise by foot or bike can do safely whilst maintaining social distancing.
Local authorities are expected to make significant changes to road layouts with all measures implemented within the coming weeks.
To this end both Suffolk County Council and East Suffolk Council have come up with proposals to address these issues.
CHANGES TO CYCLE LANES/ROUTES
Suffolk County Council have identified 148 possible changes or improvements to cycle paths in Suffolk. Not all of these will be implemented, but 20 have been identified as being priority and one such concerns the current provision along the High Road in Felixstowe where there are at the moment 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.
SCC are proposing to upgrade these ‘advisory’ lanes to ‘mandatory’ and provide some light segregation. They will also extend the existing facilities by a further 900m to Cliff Road.
‘Mandatory’ means that drivers will no longer be able to park in a cycle lane or stop to unload – with a £70 fine if they are caught doing so.
This will have significant impact on residents and businesses along that stretch of road – especially in Walton where most of the houses have no driveways.
There are no details as to when this is likely to happen – or whether the plans are set in stone. It may still be possible to comment on these plans before they are implemented. Contact Steve Wiles or Graham Newman – your local SCC Councillors – for more details.
CYCLING AND WALKING STRATAGY CONSULTATION
Meanwhile East Suffolk Council are inviting residents to have their say on their Draft Cycling and Walking Strategy. You may think this is rather ironic given the amount of housing development on green sites that has been proposed/agreed for our area. Nevertheless – this is a chance for you to comment and possibly get in place some protection for our open spaces before it’s too late.
The Council’s Planning Policy Team are in the early stages of producing a Cycling and Walking Strategy to help create a better environment for all those already cycling and walking, or who want to start. The team would like help from the community to identify issues with cycling and walking infrastructure and where improvements could be made. The team are also keen to hear suggestions on how people can be encouraged to cycle and walk more. An interactive map is available which will show issues and suggestions submitted by the community. To view the map and give your views, please visit eastsuffolk.gov.uk/planningpolicy.
What is the East Suffolk Cycling and Walking Strategy?
Cycling and walking are recognised as important in supporting better physical and mental health, and reducing our impact on the environment, as well as congestion on our roads. East Suffolk Council is at the early stage of producing a Cycling and Walking Strategy, which will supersede the Waveney Cycle Strategy (2016). The purpose of the Strategy is to help make cycling and walking in East Suffolk, whether for work, school or leisure, safer, more convenient and more desirable for all ages and abilities. They therefore want to create a better-connected network of high quality cycling and walking routes throughout East Suffolk and take advantage of the opportunities that new development can bring in achieving this objective.
The East Suffolk Cycling and Walking Strategy will:
- Identify the key corridors within East Suffolk where there may be significant benefits from improving cycling and walking connections between settlements;
- Produce cycling and walking suitability maps for the ‘major centres’, ‘market towns’ and some of the more sustainable ‘large villages’ in East Suffolk (as identified in the Suffolk Coastal Local Plan and Waveney Local Plan);
- Identify cycling and walking infrastructure improvement opportunities throughout East Suffolk and propose potential solutions to achieve these improvements (for example, from marking up new cycle lanes, to new cycling and walking routes segregated from vehicle traffic); and
- Produce an implementation map to monitor the delivery of cycling and walking opportunities identified in the Strategy, which will be regularly updated when identified cycling and walking solutions are implemented.
- Support the new East Suffolk Council environmental, health and well-being objectives.
- Work closely with Suffolk County Council throughout the project. Find out more on Suffolk County Council cycling projects.
There is much work to do and timescales may change, but they currently envision that the Cycling and Walking Strategy will be adopted in 2021.
This first consultation on the Strategy commenced on 19 October and will close on 30 November 2020. The consultation asks you to highlight cycling and walking matters in East Suffolk which you think should be addressed. You can provide solutions which you think could encourage more people to cycle and walk. You can also view an online map showing opportunities and potential solutions raised by others.
SCC comments, “While we would very much like to deliver every suggested opportunity, this may not be possible. However, this should not stop you from proposing as many opportunities as you think would be beneficial. On the consultation map we have shown the development sites allocated in the Suffolk Coastal and Waveney Local Plans. This is because there may be opportunities to deliver cycling and walking improvements in conjunction with these developments. We would therefore encourage you to identify opportunities near to these sites.” View the consultation map and make a response.
As they progress the Strategy there will be further public engagement. Details will be displayed on ESC webpage, via their social media accounts and sent to people on their mailing list. If you would like to be kept up to date with progress on the Cycling and Walking Strategy please sign up to our mailing list.
Comments can also be emailed to firstname.lastname@example.org or sent to East Suffolk Council, Planning Policy & Delivery Team, Riverside, 4 Canning Road, Lowestoft, Suffolk NR33 0EQ.