First bids submitted to reallocate road space for cycling and walking
Wiltshire Council has submitted five road reallocation projects to the Department of Transport (DfT) to make significant changes to road layouts to give more space to cyclists and pedestrians.
The five projects have to meet strict criteria to secure funding, and add up to £227,000 worth of investment, which accounts for the first allocation of funding from DfT. Further projects around the county will fall into the next round of funding, of around £900,000, provided they meet the criteria for the next phase.
The funding is designed to help authorities use temporary interventions to create an environment that is safe for both walking and cycling, allowing people to get around while maintaining social distance and avoiding overcrowding on public transport.
The five schemes were shortlisted based on the busiest bus routes in the county, with those routes that could not accommodate a cycleway without significant costs or land acquisition being discounted. The five schemes included in the first round are:
1. Salisbury cycleways to link Harnham to the city centre, allowing cyclists easy access to the city. The scheme will see one southbound lane on Brown Street turned into a cycleway and the removal of on-street parking on Exeter Street to create a cycleway on the street while maintaining two-way traffic.
2. A segregated cycleway and footway on the B3108 between Winsley and Bradford on Avon, allowing easy access between the two, and giving cyclists the option of a traffic-free ride from Winsley, into Bradford on Avon and then on to Bath along the Kennet and Avon Canal.
3. On the A420 in Chippenham, a segregated cycleway linking Bumpers Farm to the town centre, giving cyclists easy access to the centre of the town.
4. The removal of through traffic on Hook Street in Purton, which runs parallel with the A3102 between Royal Wootton Bassett and Swindon. Created in partnership with Swindon Borough Council, this will install a 3.5km route for cyclists and walkers, linking Purton with Swindon’s Lydiard Park.
5. A segregated cycleway on the A361 Hilperton Road in Trowbridge, from near the fire station into advisory cycle lanes from Stancomb Avenue to Hilperton Road roundabout, of more than 1km in total.
Cllr Bridget Wayman, Cabinet Member for Highways and Transport, said: “We received many submissions around the county for this space reallocation project, and we thank everyone who has contacted us for their great ideas and feedback on these plans.
“We have chosen these initial five schemes based on the criteria set by DfT, because they can be delivered within the timeframe, and because they are on major bus routes, so they will help to link our communities to town centres, employment and businesses.
“If approved by DfT, work will start on these schemes quickly, as they have to be completed within eight weeks to help embed walking and cycling as long-term commuting habits, and in turn reap the associated health, air quality and congestion benefits.
“These first five submissions account for the total £227,000 we have initially been allocated by DfT, but we hope to be able to submit several other schemes for approval as part of the next round of funding, which should be around £900,000 for the Wiltshire Council area.
“We look forward to these routes being completed so cyclists and walkers can use them and enjoy all the health and environmental benefits they can bring.”
Using separate funding, the council is also progressing a social distancing scheme in Malmesbury town centre that will benefit both cyclists and pedestrians. As part of this trial, a one-way footway system for pedestrians will be installed on both sides of High Street. Work should begin on this project in the next week.
Wiltshire Council is working on a series of projects to make significant changes to road
layouts to give more space to cyclists and pedestrians, following recent guidance from the
Department of Transport to reallocate road space in response to COVID-19.
As the number of cars on the road has fallen considerably in recent months, more
people have been walking and cycling for exercise and to travel to essential work.
Because of the reduction in traffic, people have been able to walk and cycle safely.
However, as lockdown restrictions are eased, increased levels of traffic may make
it more dangerous for people to walk or cycle safely and maintain the 2m social
distancing requirement. Current government advice is that people should avoid
using public transport.
To capitalise on this, Wiltshire Council has formed teams of officers for each of
its 18 community areas, which will work closely with local members and town and
parish councils to identify potential sites, using their local and technical knowledge to
swiftly progress these schemes.
Anyone with suggestions for potential sites should email
Cllr Bridget Wayman, Cabinet Member for Highways, said: “We’re keen to develop
reallocated road spaces to encourage walking and cycling as soon as possible, and
we’re working closely with local members and town and parish councils to ensure
there is local support for any scheme that is progressed.
“We don’t yet know how many schemes we’ll be able to take forward in Wiltshire,
as the funding from central government has yet to be finalised, but we’re looking
to create as many cycling and pedestrian schemes as we can to really capitalise on
the behavioural changes many have made during lockdown.
“All potential schemes will be assessed against agreed criteria by a panel of officers,
which will enable them to identify a priority list for design and implementation.
They will identify practical solutions that will see other changes in our streets
for example, some schemes may replace some current parking spaces.
“If the schemes are successful, there is a chance they will become permanent,
but this would be decided on a case by case basis.
“We’re expecting to work on these changes through the summer.”
Once the schemes are agreed and progressed, on the ground, people will see
changes in road markings, plus the addition of fixed bollards and barriers to
keep pedestrians and cyclists safe and to enable social distancing.
Most proposals are not likely to require Temporary Traffic Regulation
Orders (TTRO), but where they are required, they will be subject to
cabinet member approval. Where applicable, the council will also
undertake road safety and accessibility audits before schemes are implemented.