Crackdown is not anti-cycling - Peterborough City Council leader Cllr John Holdich

Cllr John Holdich
Cllr John Holdich
0
Have your say

I’ve learned over the years that you often need to give things time before calling it a success or failure.

Take cycling on Bridge Street for example. In May we began fining people for unauthorised cycling as part of a new city centre Public Spaces Protection Order (PSPO) which aims to tackle a range of anti-social behaviour. At the time there were some who doubted whether our approach would lead to a reduction in cycling along the busy shopping street.

But, less than three months on, feelings have changed and people are noticing an increase in the number of people dismounting and walking the short distance with their bike - including the Peterborough Telegraph.

The figures back it up too - in the first two weeks we fined 195 people, but in the past two weeks it’s less than half, 84.

It’s been a difficult issue for us, as we know that although many people support our view that allowing cyclists to use Bridge Street during the day can pose a danger to pedestrians, there are those that think this targeted measure means we don’t support cycling in the city.

This couldn’t be further from the truth. In the past four years we have spent over £1.5million on improvements to the city’s primary cycle networks, which has included projects such as the cycling upgrades on Eastfield Road.

We’ve also provided a range of other initiatives to get people pedalling, such as the Bikeability cycle training delivered to thousands of school pupils in the city.

Building on the success of the city centre PSPO, a new order will be introduced in Millfield, New England, parts of Eastfield, Lower Bridge Street and the Embankment next week. It will mean that anyone caught littering, spitting, urinating, defecating or committing a range of other anti-social behaviours in public will receive an £80 fine.

This week we were delighted to learn that a joint bid submitted along with Cambridgeshire County Council has been successful and that an extra £3.5 million is on its way to the city and wider county to tackle drought damaged roads.

We’re also investing in many of our major routes to improve the road network for all. A public meeting takes place next week where you can find out about plans for the £5.5million upgrade to improve Junction 18 of the A47 where it meets the A15. I am sure many of you are familiar with this junction, as it is the roundabout separating Lincoln Road, near Brotherhood Retail Park, and Bourges Boulevard, close to Boulevard Retail Park and Maskew Avenue Retail Park. Some of you will call it Rhubarb Bridge.

The upgrade will focus on removing the network of footbridges and improving the junction for pedestrians, cyclists and motorists by redesigning the roundabout to increase capacity for the future.

The plans are for the bridges to be replaced, as they are nearing the end of their life, with pedestrian ground-level crossings. This will have benefits for disabled people and eliminate the need for an isolated subway at the centre of the roundabout.

Some residents want to see a replacement network of bridges, and have spoken out about this, however this could cost up to £30 million and this is funding we don’t have available.

The meeting is open to all and will take place at the Salvation Army Citadel, 1203 Bourges Boulevard, off Peppercorn Close, on August 9 between 3pm and 7pm.

If you have children aged three or four, did you know you could qualify for extra free childcare? All three and four year olds in Peterborough are already eligible for 15 hours childcare funded by the council in a number of nurseries, childminders and other Ofsted-registered settings.

Now, thanks to government funding, some parents will be able to get 30 hours of funded term-time childcare a week.

More information is available on our website or at www.childcarechoices.gov.uk.