Almost £3 million pounds is to be spent on upgrading cycle and pedestrian facilities across Cambridgeshire and Peterborough, with the aim to get more residents walking and cycling.
The Combined Authority of Cambridgeshire and Peterborough has approved the spend of £2,875,000, of which 20% will be spent over the next eight weeks.
The funding was awarded by central government after Cambridgeshire and Peterborough Mayor James Palmer proposed a package of travel measures aimed at encouraging more people to make journeys by bike or by foot.
He said that as the economy begins to reopen, there is an urgent need to boost alternative modes of travel to the private car.
“As of May 27, traffic flows across the Combined Authority area had already recovered to nearly two-thirds of pre-lockdown levels", Mayor Palmer added. "It is critical as we head out of lockdown that people have a safe mode of travel and a viable alternative to the private car.”
This funding will partially be used to reallocate road space to allow for cycling and walking while social distancing.
Cllr Ian Bates, chairman of the Highways and Transport Committee at Cambridgeshire County Council, said temporary changes have already been made to Girton Road, Milton High Street and Chesterton Road.
He added: “We know from looking at other countries that walking and cycling is key in getting our county moving again during Covid-19. We’re making the changes as quickly as we can due to the difficult times we’re in."
The Combined Authority is working closely with Cambridgeshire County Council, Cambridge City Council, Peterborough City Council, East Cambridgeshire, Fenland, Huntingdonshire, South Cambridgeshire district councils and the Greater Cambridge Partnership to deliver these improvements.
Proposed improvements include:
New cycle lanes, including on significant roads such as Crescent Bridge in Peterborough, Newmarket Road in Cambridge and Forehill in Ely
An area-wide “school streets” offer to encourage walking and cycling to all schools in the area
Removing on-street car parking and railings to allow for more cycle lanes
Installation of cycle parking in city and district centres
Widening pavements to allow for social distancing, for example in Mill Road, Cambridge
Additional cycle parking at the Park & Ride sites
Removal of bays to widen footpaths on Broadway and Cattle Market Road in Peterborough
The full funding amount will be £2,875,000. The first tranche of funding (£575,000 or 20% of the total) is to be awarded imminently and the remaining 80%, (£2,300,000) will be dispersed in the summer.
Cambridgeshire will receive 72.81% of the funding, while Peterborough will receive 27.19%. The split is in line with census data on the number of people who travel to work using public transport.