28 May 2020
Following lobbying from Greens and others the council has announced some short-term cycling improvements for the town. This will help a little with social distancing but we need to go further so Green campaigners launch petition to boost “unambitious” cycling targets.
David McElroy, Green campaigner for Redlands and keen cyclist said: “Greens welcome the recently announced improvements for cycling which will give people more space and make cycling more attractive.
“Cycling is a healthy sustainable way to get round and should make sense for many more people in a compact town like Reading. We want to see other measures such as a joined-up cycle network, more 20 mph zones and segregated cycle lanes brought forward as quickly as possible.”
Louise Keane, Green campaigner for Katesgrove continued: “We would also like to see more ambitious cycling targets in the new local transport plan – currently out for consultation. The draft plan lacks ambition and only proposes increasing the proportion of adults cycling up from a low 5% to a not much higher 10% in 16 years’ time - 2036. In the Netherlands on a similar measure the percentage of people currently cycling is around 70%. Elsewhere in the UK currently 35% is the gold standard in Cambridge. The council’s target is not ambitious.
“David McElroy and I have created a petition to get the council to increase the cycling targets and action in the new local transport plan. Please sign it and help us create a fairer, greener and healthier town.”
Sign the petition here and support cycling in Reading: www.bit.ly/rdgbiketarget.
The short and medium-term cycle schemes are listed below.
Reading Bridge – this would involve removing an inbound lane and existing hatching and remarking the highway to allow north and south bound cycle ways. This will support on road cycling to and from Caversham and create alternative routes to the Town Centre and the Station for those cyclists not wishing to utilise Christchurch Bridge at the current time. This would be implemented as a temporary measure under legalisation, however the scheme itself could be made permanent with minimal additional works as it would involve highway remarking rather than temporary barriers. No TRO is required for this even if the Council eventually decided to make the cycle lanes mandatory. The cost of re-lining Bridge Street and George Street is estimated to be between £10K and £12K.
Next actions and timescales: To carry out on-site surveys and complete detailed design should this be approved. From 25th May to order equipment and prepare the road for re-lining. Subject to contractor availability this could take place the following week.
Sidmouth Street – to make the road one way (northbound) for all traffic and introduce a contra-flow cycle lane in the current southbound lane in order to allow increased space to support social distancing for pedestrians and/or cycle lanes. This would helpfully link to Royal Berkshire Hospital and existing cycle facilities on London Road. This would be initially be a temporary measure (using barriers) to help with social distancing but it’s effectiveness would be reviewed with a view to potential longer-term changes. A temporary Traffic Regulation Order (TRO) is required to make the roads one-way resulting in a short notice (local advertisement) period. There is no mechanism to object to a temporary TRO but a further statutory process will be needed should we decided to keep the road one-way with a 21-day consultation (4.8 refers). The cost of the signing, lining is estimated at £6k to £8K. Waterfilled barriers would be used to support the points of access to prevent drivers from driving the wrong way and this is estimated at £10K.
Next actions and timescales: To carry out on-site surveys and complete detailed design should this be approved. From 1st June order equipment and prepare the temporary TRO for advert. Subject to availability of equipment we could be in a position to implement this change around 29th June. We intend to use in-house resources where possible but there will be a need to use commercial suppliers for equipment.
Whitley Street Local Centre - Remove one traffic lane outbound and reallocate to cyclists, alongside other public realm enhancements for pedestrians. This would be implemented as a temporary measure under legislation, however the scheme itself could be made permanent with minimal additional works as it would involve highway remarking rather than temporary barriers due to need to maintain access to the existing parking bays. Public realm improvements such as decluttering the footway could be implemented in the medium term. The costs for road markings is estimated to be between £5k and £6k.
Southampton Street / Silver Street – Introduce cycle lanes through removal of existing road hatching. Plans have been developed through the University & Hospital area study and could therefore be implemented quickly as a permanent measure through remarking the highway. The costs for road markings is estimated to be between £8k and £10k.
Basingstoke Road – Review of existing bus/cycle lanes and road hatching, upgrade bus priority at signals etc to introduce a more joined-up ‘smart and sustainable corridor’ Some short-term ‘quick win’ temporary measures could be identified but the full corridor approach would involve construction works which would therefore be a permanent scheme to be implemented in the medium term.
Redlands Road – Introduce southbound cycle lane (uphill) and cycle priority measures at Christchurch Green junction. This would be implemented as a permanent measure through remarking the highway. The costs for road markings is estimated to be between £10k and £12k.
London Road - implementing a west bound cycle route, potentially as a bus lane subject to discussions with Reading Buses regarding the frequency of services that could use this route. This would be implemented on a temporary basis, however the scheme itself could be made permanent with minimal additional works as it would involve highway road markings and vertical signs rather than temporary barriers.
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