£2 billion cycling and walking plan for England!

We’ll Build Thousands Of Miles Of Protected Cycleways, Pledges Prime Minister Boris Johnson in his – £2 billion ‘cycling revolution’ The Government has published a policy paper (27th July 2020) entitled “Gear Change – A bold vision for cycling and walking” Here is what Cycling Weekly had to say – The Prime Minister’s announcement has lived up to the expectations of cycling campaigners

The Government says:

Cycle infrastructure should be accessible to everyone from 8 to 80 and beyond: it should be planned and designed for everyone. The opportunity to cycle in our towns and cities should be universal.

Cycles must be treated as vehicles and not as pedestrians. On urban streets, cyclists must be physically separated from pedestrians and should not share space with pedestrians. Where cycle routes cross pavements, a physically segregated track should always be provided. At crossings and junctions, cyclists should not share the space used by pedestrians but should be provided with a separate parallel route.

Consideration of the opportunities to improve provision for cycling will be an expectation of any future local highway schemes funded by Government.

There will be first hundreds, then thousands of miles of safe, continuous, direct routes for cycling in towns and cities, physically separated from pedestrians and volume motor traffic, serving the places that people want to go.

Here is a summary of some key points from the Government announcement:

The Government say they will:

  • Create cycle, bus and walking corridors, closing a limited number of main roads to through traffic except for buses and access.
  • Increase the number of “school streets” to protect children
  • Create more “Mini-Hollands” – We will choose up to 12 willing local authority areas, to benefit from intensive investment in mini-Holland schemes
  • Improve the National Cycle Network
  • Set much higher standards – In order to see the increases in cycling we want, the quality of cycling infrastructure installed on our roads must dramatically improve.
  • Significantly increase spending: Over the last few years, spending on cycling and walking averaged around £500m a year, including £80m a year of dedicated funding. The £2bn of funding for cycling and walking that the Government announced in May is new money, representing a sixfold increase in dedicated cycling and walking funding – the biggest increase this country has ever seen.
  • Create a long-term cycling and walking programme and budget, like the roads programme and budget: Delivering good schemes needs a pipeline of assured funding. We will end the stop-go nature of previous cycling and walking funding, allowing local authorities and others to plan in a long-term way. We will ensure that new local and strategic A road schemes include appropriate provision for cycling The new cycling budget is the largest sum ever committed to active travel in this country. But if we are serious about putting cycling at the heart of transport policy, we must further shift the balance between projects for motoring and projects for cycling.   To receive Government funding for local highways investment where the main element is not cycling or walking improvements, there will be a presumption that all new schemes will deliver or improve cycling infrastructure to the new standards laid down, unless it can be shown that there is little or no need for cycling in the particular road scheme. Highways England will deliver even more cycling infrastructure as part of RIS2 published in March 2020 through the new Users and Communities Fund.
  • Make sure the railways work better with cyclists
  • Carry bikes on more bus routes
  • Increase cycle parking and ensure that it goes where it is needed
  • Insure that all new housing and business developments are built around making  sustainable travel, including cycling and walking, the first choice for journeys
  • Conduct a series of national urban road audits to help inform future allocation of road space
  • Significantly increase funding for local authorities
  • Give new powers to local authorities

and they say there will be less rat-running and many more low-traffic neighbourhoods!

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A new funding body and inspectorate will be set up to enforce the standards and time limits, and raise performance generally. A new commissioning body and inspectorate, Active Travel England, led by a new national cycling and walking commissioner which will be established in the next few months. Active Travel England’s assessment of an authority’s performance on active travel will influence the funding it receives for other forms of transport. The Government say the Commissioner’s powers will include:

  • hold the budget
  • approve schemes
  • inspect schemes
  • training, good practice, knowledge sharing
  • inspect highway authorities
  • review major planning applications

 

 

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