Tuesday, 20 March 2012

County Council Celebrates Success In Increasing Levels Of Cycling

Milton Road Cycleway (in Snow)

Cycling trips in and around Cambridge have soared by 14 per cent in a year according to surveys undertaken recently as part of the County Council's annual traffic monitoring report.

The figures also revealed an amazing 21 per cent rise in cycling trips from the surrounding villages into the city.

A major contributor to the steep rise in trips is the significant investments in cycling in the Cambridge area in recent years. As one of Cycling England's 'Cycling Towns' £9 million was invested between 2008 and 2011 to provide 14 new and improved cycle routes, events and promotions, and cycle training for adults and children as part of the Cycle Cambridge project delivered in partnership with other local Councils and key partners such as Sustrans.

Counts are taken each year across a standard set of sampling points in the City. In 2010 29,388 cyclists crossed these points on a single day, and the figure for the same locations rose to 33,518 in 2011. The rise in cycling trips is also confirmed by data from an array of automatic counters across the city which return information on a daily basis. Cycling as a percentage of all traffic rose to 22 per cent reinforcing Cambridge's position as the cycling capital of the UK.

The stated aim for Cycle Cambridge was to get more people cycling, more safely, more often. The project targeted new developments around the City, and encouraged more cycling trips into Cambridge from necklace villages in a bid to combat increasing traffic congestion at peak times.

It is these routes that have seen the greatest rise, where 21 per cent more trips were made. Improvements on routes into Cambridge from Histon, Cottenham, Horningsea, Cherry Hinton and Harston have been made, as well as the opening of the cycleway on the maintenance track alongside the Busway which now brings cyclists into the city from both the north and the south.

Within the city itself a rise in trips of 12 per cent was recorded and this can be attributed in part to the improvements made to Gilbert Road, Hills Road Bridge and hundreds more cycle parking spaces provided at schools and workplaces.

The Cycle Cambridge project was a finalist in the Local Transport Awards 2011, and is a finalist in the Eurostar Ashden Awards for Sustainable Transport 2012 with the winners announced in May.

With the ending of the Cycling Town national programme in April 2011 work on cycling in Cambridge has continued as part of a European funded project called 'Bike Friendly Cities'. The County Council is working collaboratively with partners in the Netherlands, Belgium and France to develop innovative, low cost solutions to make cycling even more attractive and safe. This includes addressing problematic issues for cyclists such as roundabouts as well as working on a number of events including The Cambridge News Big Bike Ride which takes place on July 8.

The County Council continues to invest in cycling across the County as part of its Market Towns Transport Strategy work and this includes improved links to schools and workplaces, as well as the establishment of cycle forums as a means to engage with local cyclists. The County Council will be offering countywide free cycle training to year 6 children from September having successfully obtained a Department for Transport grant.

A bid for further funding for cycling in the form of the Local Sustainable Transport Fund has just been submitted and this could see several millions of pounds invested in cycling in the Ely-Cambridge and Huntingdon-Cambridge corridors. This will help support economic growth in those areas.

Local Bar Hill Parish Councillor Andy Pellew said "Given the already high levels of cycling in Cambridge it's fantastic to see these levels continue to increase but there is still a great deal more to do. The state of cycleways during snow is still a significant issue within the city, but it's good to see the County Council committing to continued improvement for cyclists in Cambridge City"