Devon County Council will consider whether to approve over £48 million of spending on maintaining Devon’s roads as part of its £75m highway maintenance program when the cabinet meets this week, but more focus needs to be on cycling and walking said a local councillor.
Cllr Alan Connett, Liberal Democrat group leader, said that either by choice of necessity, in the short term it is likely more people will be walking or cycling and it calling on the county council to set out a priority list of ‘quick wins’ that will help encourage people to walk and cycle and make it safer for them.
“While we all recognise that Devon’s roads need to be fixed, the potholes filled and road drainage problems sorted out, now is the time to be looking right across all the County Council’s highways budgets and plans so we can put more into public transport, cycling and walking. The urgency is now, not in the next year’s budget round,” said Cllr Connett.
“We need to involve local cycle groups wherever possible and identify the problem areas that if they were sorted quickly, perhaps even on a temporary basis, we could make it safer for people to cycle and walk and also have time to see how the changes work. If successful they could perhaps be made permanent, and if they don’t work or are not used, they could be quickly taken away,” he added.
“As important as links across a town or city are the cycle and walking links from nearby communities as this could also help with the capacity issues there may be on public transport. It’s also the case that if more children are now likely to cycle to school, especially across town, for example, that the county council will need to consider how it adapts roads to make it safer for them.”