Cycling and walking support in midst of pandemic

Temporary cycling and walking measures are being put in place across the county during the Coronavirus crisis to help people get out and socially distance during this pandemic.

The Government has given authorities funding through the Combined Authority, to deliver pop-up cycle lanes, wider pavements, safer junctions and bus-only corridors. The Council has worked closely with city and district councils to prepare a list of schemes to get more people walking and cycling which can be delivered over the next eight weeks to support the recovery from coronavirus.

The country is facing a huge public health emergency and these quick measures will support people by helping them to walk and cycle more, whilst creating space pedestrians so they can adhere to the social distance rules and will reduce through traffic to allow us to widen the footpaths.

As part of the government’s ‘emergency active travel fund’, the County Council is implementing changes across the county; some examples include, a one-way cycle path in Forehill Ely, cycle path on the A1303 to Newmarket town centre, lower speed limits in March related to school opening times, two-way cycling in Huntingdon High Street, suspend car parking in Market Square St Neots, a 20mph speed limit in Milton, on-road cycle lanes on Newmarket Road and closing Mill Road Bridge in Cambridge to all vehicles other than buses and cycles.

Within Greater Cambridge, the Greater Cambridge Partnership will be looking at some of the schemes such as Storey’s Way, Grange Road, Silver Street, as well as cycle lanes in many South Cambridgeshire villages.

The priority is to get all of these schemes delivered as soon as possible. One of the first will be Mill Road, Cambridge where from next week (Wednesday, 24 June) work will start, where possible, to widen footways using temporary barriers. Where footpaths have been widened, the road will be narrowed and there will only be sufficient carriageway width to allow one vehicle past at a time, so give-way features will be introduced at each section of widened footway. Finally, Mill Road Bridge will be closed to all vehicles except buses and cyclists, the closure will be enforced by signs and automatic number plate recognition cameras.

Cllr Ian Bates, chairman of the Highways and Transport Committee at Cambridgeshire County Council, said: “We have a big project of 90+ schemes to support walking and cycling across the county. They have been assessed against government guidance, transport benefits, impact on the road space available and the capability to deliver them quickly.

“These are temporary changes which have been developed by the County Council’s transport team in discussion with the city and district councils and the Greater Cambridge Partnership.

“As the economy begins to reopen, there is an urgent need to look at alternative transport, avoid congestion on the roads and help reduce poor air quality. We want to reallocate road space to allow for safe cycling and walking, and for social distancing as the economy and society transitions out of lockdown.

“While social distancing guidelines remain in place to help stop the spread of COVID-19, we need to create space for pedestrians as fewer people will opt to make journeys by public transport.”

Many of the schemes will see changes carried out using an Experimental Traffic Regulation Order (ETRO) which will be in place for 18 months, of which the first six months will be the consultation period and people can provide feedback either via email policyandregulation@cambridgeshire.gov.uk or in writing to Policy and Regulation Team, Highways Depot, Stanton Way, Huntingdon, Cambs, PE29 6PY. If the measures are successful, they could be made permanent or more permanent measures could be considered.

For the Highways and Transport Committee report where this was discussed on Tuesday 16 June 2020, visit our CMIS website. A list of schemes is available on our Experimental Traffic Regulation Orders page.