Monday, 12 August 2013

Cyclists Can Go Dutch With New £4.1 Million Investment

A successful bid of £4.1 million for transport funding could see a step change in cycling facilities in and around Cambridge, including Dutch style lanes.

Cambridgeshire County Council has been successful in being one of the authorities to secure a share of the Department for Transport’s Cycle City Ambition Fund.

The County has secured £4.1m which will be spent on cycling infrastructure schemes that need to be delivered by May 2015.

Cambridgeshire is already the cycling capital of the UK and the County Council recognises that this is vital in reducing congestion, boosting the local economy and improving health.

The fund was announced by Transport Minister Norman Baker in January, and a narrow window for compiling bids ended in April.

The so called GC3 (Greater Cambridge Cycling City) programme for Cambridgeshire has two key themes. The first is to provide good quality cycle links to business parks in South Cambridgeshire while the second is about providing segregated lanes on main arterial roads.

Plans include cycle links to Buckingway Business Park, Granta Park and Babraham Research Campus.

With the award of funding Cambridge will also see a step change in the provision of cycling infrastructure with the provision of Dutch style segregated cycle lanes. These offer safe, yet direct routes for cyclists on some of the main arterial roads in the City. Such lanes will separate cyclists from motor vehicles and from pedestrians and will be of sufficient width to allow cyclists to ride side by side making cycling a safe and sociable option.

Also to benefit from the funding is the A10 south of Cambridge. Recently a campaign and associated bike ride has highlighted the need for investment in this route for cycling.

Ian Bates, Cabinet Member for Growth and Planning said “Cambridgeshire County Council has been investing millions of pounds in improving cycling facilities and riding skills to encourage more people to get on their bikes. There is no doubt that more cycling reduces congestion, helps the economy and improves health. Securing this funding underlines our commitment to cycling as a serious mode of transport, and an essential component of our transport policies.

“I would like to take this opportunity to thank the partners we worked with in compiling the bid, in particular Sustrans, CTC, Cambridge Cycling Campaign, Babraham Research Campus, Cambridge City Council, and South Cambridgeshire District Council, as well as the many organisations and businesses that offered their written support for the bid.”

Cambridge MP Julian Huppert, who has supported the bid, said: “This investment will go a long way to improving cycling in Cambridge and I am delighted to see we are drawing inspiration from the Dutch model.

“We are fortunate in Cambridge to have an enviable record on cycling but if we are to encourage more people out of their cars and onto their bikes we need to continue to make it safer for them to ride.”

Cambridgeshire County Councillor Noel Kavanagh, Cycling Champion, said: “Cambridgeshire is at the forefront of cycling in this country but we can do more and there is much we can learn from other countries. That is why I welcome the news of the more Dutch style segregated paths which are safer and therefore encourage less confident cyclists to get on their bikes. I would like to thank the officers in the Cycling Team, together with councillors and partners who have put this successful bid together and are working hard to get everyone on their bike. I am pleased to see our hard work and ambition has been recognised by Government and I will be working to make sure it is spent in the best way to boost cycling.”