West Berkshire Council has today launched a set of draft proposals of measures to help the public safely make walking or cycling trips part of their daily travel choices, and is inviting feedback from the community to help shape these plans. The public consultations can be viewed and commented upon via the Council’s new Active Travel consultation platform:https://westberksatschemes.commonplace.is/
Designed to encourage 'active travel' by introducing more walking and cycling opportunities throughout the district, the draft proposals include:
- West Berks Local Cycling & Walking Infrastructure Plan (LCWIP). This emerging draft transport policy is about making streets work for everyone, thus helping to make West Berkshire a better place to live, work and visit.
- Crown Mead Cycleways. The emerging LCWIP has identified the A4 as a primary route with high potential for increased cycle trips if appropriate infrastructure were to be provided.
- Western Avenue Cycleways. The A4 Western Avenue in Speen, Newbury has been identified as a high priority corridor for cycling and walking routes. The plan proposes permanent measures to create and improve travel routes for cyclists and pedestrians.
- West Berks Active Streets. These are various smaller scheme draft plans to help improve facilities and grow walking and cycling opportunities in West Berkshire including proposals for restricted access on Lawrence's Lane and Deadman's Lane in Thatcham and Theale respectively. In addition, if any resident would like to submit a specific walking and cycling proposal of their own, or comment on a location which falls outside of the currently identified schemes, they can do so via the Active Travel Heat Map within the West Berks Active Streets section of consultation portal.
- Calcot Schools Streets. This pilot School Zone/School Street Scheme is designed to make the streets around the schools safer and suitable for more walking and cycling, as well as improve the air quality.
Councillor Richard Somner, Executive Member for Transport and Countryside at West Berkshire Council, said:
“Our Active Travel schemes are designed to enhance the safety of pedestrians and cyclists, including children and adults alike. They will also promote health and wellbeing for residents; improve the environment, air quality and sustainability; and play a key role in COVID-19 economic recovery plans.
“We encourage residents to take to part in shaping our plans by registering onto our specially-dedicated online consultation platform. The platform has been designed to make it easy for participants to read the proposals, provide views, and engage in discussions around each of the schemes.”
The Active Travel consultation platform enables the general public to read and comment upon detailed concept plans and various information related to the schemes, including maps. Some of the consultations feature visual sliders to demonstrate a "before and after" scenario to help residents understand any changes being proposed. Several opinion surveys will be held within the platform throughout the course of the consultations to gauge further feedback from the community.
The Crown Mead Cycleways and Western Avenue Cycleways proposals are each open for consultation until on Friday, 9 April. The remainder are eight week consultations that will finish on Friday, 23 April.
With the exception of the LWCIP, the implementation of the Active Travel proposals will be funded through the £495,000 award from the Department for Transport's Active Travel Fund, following the Council's bid to further develop a lasting, safe environment for walking and cycling.
With their emphasis on promoting health and wellbeing, maintaining a green district and enhancing sustainability, the proposals support the local authority’s Council Strategy 2019 – 2023, Environment Strategy 2020 – 2030, Health and Wellbeing Strategy, Local Transport Plan 2011 – 2026, and the Covid-19 Recovery Strategy.