New cycling provision in Peterborough to be chosen as Green Wheel plans progress
New provision for cyclists in Peterborough is to be considered this month as the city council prepares to carry out £500,000 works on improving the Green Wheel.
The council has £470,000 more to spend from the Government on emergency cycling and walking measures due to the coronavirus pandemic, with a list of proposals to be discussed alongside a cross-party working group of councillors.
This follows initial funding of around £175,000 which was spent on measures including pop-up cycling lanes in Crescent Bridge, Priestgate, New Road, City Road and a small section of Lower Broadway.
However, the lanes in Priestgate, New Road and City Road have now been removed, with sensors at the locations showing they diminished in popularity over recent months.
Peterborough Cycling Forum is now “urging” the council to extend its cycle scheme at Crescent Bridge which currently allows cyclists to ride towards the city centre.
It told the Peterborough Telegraph: “The scheme which was implemented through the initial funding does not go far enough. It is of great benefit for cyclists travelling towards the city centre but in the opposite direction it ends abruptly at a point where it is hazardous to cross Thorpe Road.
“The forum has received significant levels of feedback from users saying how they now feel much safer using Crescent Bridge. By extending it and improving it we believe this will become an excellent route into the city centre for cyclists.”
Data held by the council shows the average number of cycle journeys made in Priestgate reduced from 29 each day in September to 15 in November.
In City Road, the reduction was from 89 to 44 over the same period, while in New Road the drop was from 126 to 88.
The forum said the schemes in Priestgate and City Road were never regarded as “necessary”.
It added: “These were late additions by the city council and never endorsed by the cycle forum. Funding should have been spent on schemes for which there was greater need and it is not surprising that usage has been low.
“The forum view was always that the Cowgate and Broadway schemes would have considerable benefits for both pedestrians and cyclists, but they were disappointingly dropped due to opposition from a determined minority of business owners.
“The cycle forum has proposed a number of schemes for the second phase of funding but it is not clear yet if the city council will submit these for inclusion in the bid from the Cambridgeshire and Peterborough Combined Authority.
“The most important of these is the westward extension of the Crescent Bridge scheme.”
The average number of cycle journeys made each day on Crescent Bridge has reduced from an average of 192 in July to 118 in October, according to the council data.
It was claimed last month that Peterborough and Cambridgeshire missed out on £500,000 of funding for cycling and walking.
The Government indicated that the Cambridgeshire and Peterborough Combined Authority could receive £2,875 million as part of the scheme - which would then be handed down to local councils - but that instead it received £2.366 million.
In a letter to local government leaders across the country in November, Transport Secretary Grant Shapps said authorities received the money based on the “strength of their bids” and that some areas, such as Cambridgeshire and Peterborough, received less than originally indicated because their proposals in the bidding process were “less well aligned with the objectives of the fund than those of other authorities”.
Meanwhile, the council is progressing with its £500,000 programme to make improvements to the city’s Green Wheel, the 45 mile cycle route which runs around Peterborough’s perimeter.
Funding for the project is coming from developer contributions and the council said so far it is planning on doing works on a section of North Bank, as well as a section that runs along the river to the west of Wharf Road.
Further areas are also being investigated.