Watford’s proposed ‘Green Ring’ cycling and walking route encircling the town centre is moving forward, after positive discussions with SPOKES South West (SW) Hertfordshire Cycling Group, Watford Borough Council and Hertfordshire County Council.
The Ring – which includes key locations such as Watford Junction, Cassiobury Park, East Watford and part of National Cycle Route 6 – was discussed with SPOKES and representatives from both councils at a bike ride on 21 August. It was a chance to see the changes that have been made and identify future changes that may be required.
It will offer residents the chance to get out of the traffic and into the fresh air on a new network of paths, when finished the continuous walking and cycling route will cover 6.7 miles of open space, parks, nature reserves, and heritage sites. It will also help to connect schools, workplaces, shopping and leisure facilities, railway stations and Watford’s finest beauty spots.
It will also form part of the Watford Borough Council’s plan to encourage green transport and exercise by taking users through the town’s green spaces and heritage sites. The works to improve the route include a blend of creating new stretches of cycleway, widening and resurfacing existing cycleways and footways, improvements to cycle crossing facilities at key junctions and adding markings on roads and cycleway signage.
SPOKES SW Herts Cycle Group believe this interesting recreational route will provide invaluable safe cycling access between key business and leisure locations, thereby increasing commuting by bicycle and contributing to pollution reduction.
Elected Mayor of Watford, Peter Taylor, said: “The Green Ring will be an important addition to our local cycle network and it very much fits with our strategy of giving more travel options. It’s important that we make walking and cycling easier in Watford. This will reduce traffic congestion, air pollution and encourage people to be more active.”
Cllr Ian Stotesbury, Portfolio Holder for Sustainability and Transport, said: “The Green Ring will bring about fantastic new cycling infrastructure across our town and marks the beginning of our wider plans to deliver a range of improvements to tackle congestion. The Green Ring will help lots of residents in many ways – to commute across the town or to visit some of the beautiful woodland and rivers our town has to offer.”
Over the next two years, Watford Borough Council and Hertfordshire County Council are also developing a programme of works to improving key cycling and walking routes across the town, such as Wiggenhall Road, Hempstead Road and St Albans Road. This will assist in embedding safe active travel as part of a long-term habit and help residents reap the associated health, air quality and congestion benefits.
These improvements will all combine to make it easier for cyclists and pedestrians to get around the town using a cohesive network. For more information, including all the proposals within the 20-year Transforming Travel in Watford programme, please visit www.watford.gov.uk/futuretravel.