Warwickshire to become more cycle friendly - The Leamington Observer

Warwickshire to become more cycle friendly

Ian Hughes 16th Oct, 2018   0

WARWICKSHIRE is set to become more cycle-friendly.

County council chiefs have committed to develop a long-term plan focused on promoting cycling as a means of travelling and a way of staying healthy.

It follows concern at the “lack of connectivity” between Warwickshire’s existing cycle path network, including how new developments were connected to schools, hospitals and areas of employment.

The county council will now work closely with district and borough councils to ensure the needs of cyclists are a high priority when future plans are drawn up.

Council chiefs will also focus on securing millions of pounds in funding to pay for major improvements.

The estimated cost of 60 cycle routes to complete the county cycle network is £40million. To deliver 20 of the highest priority schemes would cost £18.6million. The council has already secured £1million with potential to secure a further £11million from other sources.

It is also estimated around £100,000 would be needed for signs on the existing cycle network in and around towns, together with £25,000 for minor improvements.

Long-term, the council is also keen to develop a Bike Share scheme similar to that operating in London.

And it aims to support businesses to encourage cycling among their workforces by providing bike parks, changing facilities, and even bike purchase schemes.

The council is set to look at implementing some cheaper improvement schemes, through existing resources, before the end of the year.

County transport spokesman Jeff Clarke said: “Our plans, certainly in the longer term, are very ambitious and we will need a lot of support at local level.

“We have shown our commitment to cycling with the hugely successful hosting of the Women’s Tour, the Tour of Britain and with the forthcoming Velo Birmingham and West Midlands in which thousands of cyclists will take to the county’s roads as part of the route.

“The benefits are huge in terms of the quality of air, reducing congestion on the roads and the health of our residents.

“Creating a cycling infrastructure of this size is a huge commitment and not one that we will achieve overnight. So we are taking it a step at a time, achieving what is achievable and looking to build on that.

“But these initial schemes are very positive steps that will make a real difference. And we won’t rest while they are being developed. We will look at every opportunity in the meantime to secure external funding to enhance the county’s cycling infrastructure.”

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