Northamptonshire County Council has announced the first measures to be implemented to establish temporary and permanent cycle and walking schemes in light of changes to lockdown.
The council was given indicative funding of £351,000 by the Government from the Active Travel Emergency Fund. This first block of money is to be used for temporary ‘quick win’ measures to encourage people to cycle and walk rather than use public transport.
The idea is to reduce the pressure on public transport, the capacity on which is restricted owing to social distancing guidance. The aim is also to encourage a long-term legacy of active travel, says the council.
Initial projects will include the creation of additional road space for cyclists and pedestrians, with the first scheme being implemented in Kettering from June 27 working closely with the Borough Council.
Other options being actively considered at the moment, include: new secure cycle parking, temporary traffic measures or restrictions to prioritise cyclists and pedestrians including on the London Road in Daventry, St Giles Street in Northampton and a number of other schemes in Kettering. New cycle
New cycle lanes will also be implemented and the council has already installed extra variable message signs to provide extra information for cyclists in both Northampton and Kettering.
The council will also accelerate the installation of four new digital cycle counters in Northampton on Kettering Road, Harlestone Road, Newport Pagnell Road and Mereway arteries, as well as upgrade and extend bus and active travel lanes to improve safety, including the introduction of enforcement cameras starting with the Weedon Road in Northampton. Existing routes will also be made safer and more attractive for cyclists.
Cllr Jason Smithers, county council cabinet member for Highways and Place, said: “I’m delighted that we have been able to progress these quick win proposals so promptly as they will make a big difference to people who are making their journeys on foot or by bike. We have all noticed how many more people are cycling since lockdown has started to be eased, so it makes sense that we step in and help facilitate this as much as possible.
Travelling on foot or bike has widespread benefits in terms of wellbeing and also in being kind to the environment by reducing traffic congestion and pollution.”
Work is also continuing in identifying medium-term to long-term cycling and walking projects. The county council will then draw up a list of schemes which can be taken forward with the possibility of a total of £1.7million Government funding being available via the Emergency Active Travel Fund for all of the schemes.