Olympic star Lizzie sets wheels turning
Wednesday 31 October 2012
Olympic silver medallist Lizzie Armitstead set the wheels turning on a £6.9million scheme which will transform Coventry’s cycling network and connect residents to jobs.
The scheme will see key cycle routes created from busy residential areas such as Tile Hill, Canley, and Kenilworth and link to key employment and education hubs including Warwick University and the Ricoh Arena.
Coventry City Council has contributed £3.5million of Government funds earmarked for green and sustainable transport projects to kick-start the scheme.
The remaining £3.4million comes from Centro's Smart Network, Smarter Choices programme which will deliver £50million of sustainable improvements across the West Midlands over the next three years.
To mark the start of the scheme a free family fun day was held in Coventry's iconic Broadgate on Tuesday 30 October, attended by 23-year-old cyclist Armitstead, who landed silver in this summer's women's road race.
The event saw Coventry residents get on their bikes to try their hands at riding Penny Farthings, sample track cycling and learn about cycling opportunities in the city.
And Armitstead, the first British medal winner of the 2012 Olympics, marked the start of the scheme with a lap of honour on her medal winning bicycle.
Cabinet Member for City Services, Councillor Lindsley Harvard, said: "The event has been a tremendous showcase for our Cycle Coventry initiative and how we are going to make cycling more accessible across the city.
"Cycle Coventry is not just about building new cycle routes and we will be promoting cycling as a tremendous way to stay fit and healthy and working with local businesses to help them promote cycling as a sustainable way to travel to work."
The project will see the creation of seven key cycle routes connecting both the north and the south of the city to the city centre.
Detailed cycle maps are being developed which will give residents information on the extensive cycle routes that will revitalise the north and south west of the city.
Centro Chairman, Cllr John McNicholas, said: "Cycling has seen a major rise in popularity after the success of Lizzie Armitstead and her Great Britain teammates this summer and it is great that she has been able to mark the start of this fantastic project.
"The Government has recognised the importance of sustainable travel by awarding both Centro and Coventry City Council the money to create these routes in both the north and south of the city. And we are delighted this has allowed us to work closely with Coventry on this scheme which will really transform cycling in the city.
"It is important that we work hard to make cycling a realistic and viable alternative form of travel and this comprehensive overhaul of the cycling network will have a major impact for the people of Coventry."
Over the next three years the project will see seven new routes built in the north and south-west of the City. The routes will make it easier for local residents to access employment areas such as the Ricoh Arena, business parks, the city centre, universities and the hospital. The project will also benefit pedestrians by improving the surfacing and lighting on many of the proposed routes.
This summer's success has seen interest in cycling soar in Britain and Halfords reported a near 15 per cent jump in sales in the three months to the end of September.
For more information visit www.coventry.gov.uk/lstf
- Pictured: Conrad Jones (Centro), Lizzie Armitstead and Cllr Catherine Miks at the Cycle Coventry Event