Government funded plans to introduce safer cycling and friendly walking links and neighbourhoods across the BCP Council area have been reviewed and a number deferred following feedback from local people.
The aim of the funding is to allow the creation of on-street measures and low traffic neighbourhoods where people feel safer walking and cycling in their local area, especially when undertaking short journeys.
As a result of the initial feedback on some schemes, the following schemes, or parts of them, will be deferred to allow time for further consideration:
Windham Road (Springbourne scheme) – aimed at supporting children walking and cycling to local schools, the low traffic neighbourhood trial is now deferred.
Stanley Green Road and Vicarage Road – designed to reduce the amount of through traffic going past local schools and support better uptake of walking and cycling in the area, the closures at Wimborne Road and Vicarage Road will be deferred. The Tatnum Road temporary closure will remain in place for consultation.
Glenferness Avenue – initially included for a protected cycle lane as it is a key route between the universities and the town centre and is a route for children attending Glenmoor and Winton academies. The cycleway surface has been repaired, but the installation of posts along its edge has been deferred. The planned closure to traffic of Leven Avenue between the junctions of Benellen Avenue and Walsford Road will continue for consultation.
Councillor Andy Hadley, Portfolio Holder for Transport, BCP Council said; “It’s clear to see that the way we travel is changing. As part of the response to COVID-19, and as we head towards the new normal – going back to school and returning to workplaces – we want to support people who choose to travel more sustainably for their shorter journeys.
“The schemes have generated huge interest and concern in the local area. Whilst these travel measures are designed to increase safety, to be temporary and to allow time for people to give their feedback based on their experiences, we recognise we need to pause some of them and to seek further views from local people.
“We must strive to meet our climate emergency goals, deliver on our vision to create vibrant communities, and contribute to the new National Walking and Cycling Strategy. We are keen to work with local communities on the extent, location and style of these schemes, and we need the views of those living, working in, and passing through to help shape future plans.”
Councillor Hadley added; “Post Covid travel patterns bring many uncertainties. The tight timescales set by government meant that very limited upfront consultation was possible. It has been difficult to draw up and share the plans, source materials and to bring the work to this point, and I want to thank the teams for their efforts. I also want to thank all those people who took the time to write and tell us what they thought, whether supporting or objecting to measures. Every change is of benefit to some people, and not to others, our challenge is always to balance these views.
“There are further schemes we need to implement across our congested conurbation to support commuting, school and leisure journeys, freeing space for those who need to drive, and we are keen to ensure that these are better shared and consulted on.”
BCP Council was allocated around £1.4 million from the government’s recent emergency active travel fund to support people cycling and walking as the country emerges from the pandemic, especially with limitations to using public transport.
Conditions of the funding were that the council had to demonstrate swift and meaningful plans with work on the ground for initial schemes completed by 14 September. Most schemes required experimental traffic orders, some enabling road junction closures, to reduce through traffic. This process implements quickly, then gives people a six-month consultation period to feedback their thoughts and ensure everyone can have their say on whether to make the schemes permanent.
The scheme at Birds Hill Road and Churchfield Road, which is designed to reduce traffic going past Longfleet School, increase safety on residential streets, and support staff getting to work at Poole Hospital, will continue as planned for the consultation period.
The full list of those schemes currently in place for consultation can be found on the council’s website, where people can also have their say.