Leicestershire on the path to making more cycling and walking improvements

Plans to increase cycling and walking in Leicestershire through a combination of creating more networks, revamping existing routes and teaming up with schools and workplaces have moved closer, according to the council.

Leicestershire County Council has been asking members of the public for their views on the issue, with more than 2,400 people responding to a recent consultation.

Council leaders want to build on a renewed interest in cycling, walking and other healthier and more environmentally-friendly alternatives to driving which have been witnessed during the coronavirus pandemic and lockdown in communities across the county, according to Business Live.

A report outlining feedback received in response to the consultation, and proposals on how to bring the changes about, was considered by cabinet members, last week.

The authority’s cycling and walking strategy (CaWS) and an accompanying action plan were given the go-ahead at the meeting.

Councillor Ozzy O’Shea, cabinet member for highways and transport, said: “We wanted people to share their experiences of travelling around the county – whether they currently cycle and walk or not – and they did that in their thousands. Now, we have to progress the strategy safe in the knowledge that there is wide support for our ambition to encourage more cycling and walking and create healthier, greener communities.”

The CaWS sets out a vision to upgrade and provide cycle routes, cycle parking, and pedestrian facilities to create “healthy streets and spaces”.

Cabinet unanimously approved the project, as well as “immediate action” to develop a number of local, county-wide plans to improve cycling and walking infrastructure.

Following a study to identify priority areas, the next areas will be Loughborough and the south-east quadrant of the Leicester Principal Urban Area, which includes Oadby, Wigston and Blaby.

It also includes the provision of “traffic education measures and cycle training” for schools and workplaces to “increase the number of cyclists and walkers”.

Cllr O’Shea said that the initial target is to increase cycle and walking trips to schools and employment by 10 per cent – and a rise in walking and cycling trips in the county by 15 per cent – in the next 10 years.

“This target is a starting point and we will keep it under review to make sure that we are doing as much as we can to meet the challenges of improving public health, air quality and tackling congestion – all big priorities of the council,” he said.

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