Transport tweak

Six locations across the county have been confirmed by Buckinghamshire Council as sites for temporary emergency active travel schemes, as coronavirus lockdown restrictions are eased.

The initiative comes in response to the Government’s desire to make post-Covid-19 travel safer and offer new ways of getting around, helping the county adjust to a ‘new normal’.

Temporary schemes will be funded by an initial Government grant of £514,000, and could include temporary “quietway” schemes, pop-up cycleways, more cycle parking in town centres, and temporary one-way roads.

The six temporary schemes include:

Amersham: Reallocation of road space to create pop-up cycleways around Amersham on the Hill, with improved active travel links to Amersham station, local schools and business areas.

Aylesbury: Improved cycle corridors through Southcourt for connections to Stoke Mandeville Hospital and Aylesbury town centre. Also in Aylesbury, a one-way system for vehicles in Turnfurlong to improve walking and cycling access to the three secondary schools, helping to reduce local congestion and problem parking hotspots.

Chalfont St Peter to Gerrards Cross: Closure of back roads to through traffic to create quiet streets, which are safer and more attractive for walking and cycling while maintaining local access.

Haddenham: Reallocation of road space to create safer routes for cyclists travelling east-west, to support social distancing and healthy travel to schools.

High Wycombe: Upgrades to create safer routes for cyclists travelling east-west through High Wycombe.

Detailed plans, currently being drawn up, will be included in letters to local residents in the neighbourhoods, and also published on the Council’s website shortly: The web page encourages residents and users to leave feedback.

The council has also identified two ‘reserve’ schemes – in Buckingham and from Marlow to High Wycombe – which will depend on how far the funding stretches. A decision will be taken later this summer.

Nick Naylor, Cabinet Member for Transport, said the council had seen an increase in levels of cycling and walking during lockdown, and had received many requests for new measures to support these changing travel patterns.

He said: ‘These will be temporary schemes, using temporary materials. Recovery from this pandemic is a new journey for all of us, and we’ll be learning from these schemes, which is why we want to keep the doors open for people’s feedback, so that we can make adjustments while they’re in operation.

‘Now is a good time to grasp new opportunities that will be better for people’s health, and promote improvements to the environment.’

Mr Naylor said the lessons learned from the six temporary schemes will help determine whether they become permanent, and also inform the council’s thinking about other locations across the county.

The initial funding of £514,000 is part of an expected total of £2.35 million secured through a successful bid to the Department for Transport for a programme of emergency active travel proposals.

The initiative has been welcomed by Clive Harriss, Cabinet Member for Sport and Leisure.

He said: ‘These schemes give us a perfect opportunity to think about changing some of our travel habits, particularly with cycling and walking, in a way which can be better for our towns, better for our health and better for our communities.’

Mr Harriss, who is also Aylesbury Garden Town Cycling Champion, added: ‘I’m sure this work will complement and help fund improvements we’ve been looking at in Aylesbury, and also inform our thinking about possible improvements in High Wycombe Town Centre.’