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Pop up cycle lanes, wider pavements and bike share schemes are just some of the measures being planned in Coventry to encourage more people to cycle and walk when moving around the city.
Working with Transport for West Midlands (TfWM), the City Council is planning to introduce active travel schemes over the summer months, responding to the additional demand for walking and cycling within the city.
The package forms part of the local response to Covid-19 travel guidance.
The Department for Transport has set aside £17.2 million for such measures across the West Midlands – the first £3.4 million of which is being directed towards measures to be implemented immediately in response to the easing of lockdown restrictions.
The Council expect to receive around £330,000 as part of this first phase, which would see the following measures put in place over the next two months.
These include -
• A pop-up cycle lane from Coventry City Centre to the Canal Basin
• Road closures to provide more space for pedestrians and cyclists within the city centre
• A pop-up cycle lane on Stoney Stanton Road to help people travelling to the Health Centre and to the city centre
• Measures on Foleshill Road to help with social distancing outside the shops
Funds have also been set aside to give employers across the region cycle racks for staff, provide cycle training and to help people to repair and restore old or damaged bikes so that they can get back on their bike safely.
Proposals for the second wave of active travel measures are being drawn up for delivery later in the year.
The Council is also developing longer term proposals for cycle routes and paths, including a segregated cycle route to Coundon, on which consultation has started and a proposed route to the Hospital via Binley Road.
The Council is aiming to bring forward these existing plans for early delivery as well as embarking on a big summer campaign to boost active travel.
Cllr Patricia Hetherton, Cabinet Member for City Services, said: “We have a range of projects underway to encourage more cycling and walking. We are consulting on a cycleway from Coundon to and from the city centre and have other plans in place.”
Over recent months in response to Covid-19 guidance more people in Coventry have been choosing to cycle when travelling on local journeys and more people are walking.
A recent survey found a 40 per cent increase in cycling to work and walking to shops in Coventry. The survey also found that local people intend to keep walking and cycle more than they used to. 17% expect to cycle more and 47% expect to walk more than they did before Covid-19.
Cllr Hetherton added: “Safety fears are an obstacle for people who may be undecided about cycling. We want to create pop up lanes on a temporary basis over the summer to give people the chance to cycle more and gain confidence.”
A cycleway will also be developed on Binley Road as part of funding that had already been earmarked for Coventry. A scheme is also being developed for the Charterhouse Loop Line.
Cllr Jim O’Boyle, Cabinet Member for Jobs and Regeneration, added: “We want to help businesses and the economy to begin to rebuild itself and active travel forms a part of this strategy.
“We know that the impact of Covid-19 continues and the more we can adapt and take on board the safety guidance we can enable people to choose other ways to travel to work and feel more connected. We need to help get the balance right.
“If the public and businesses are supportive of the temporary measures work they may become permanent features of the city’s transport network – which is good for air quality in the city.”
The Council is looking for ways it can take action quickly to promote active travel.
With public transport capacity reduced due to social distancing it is important anyone who can make a change to their journey does so ensuring that bus, train and tram services remain available and safe for those who need them most.