Warwickshire County Council Response to Temporary Cycling Infrastructure

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The following email was received from Warwickshire County Council on 08 June 2020 following my enquiries into the local authority’s plans for cycling infrastructure as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic and the government’s announcement of emergency funding.
For more information, see the resulting blog article of 09 June 2020.

Dear Ben

Many thanks for taking the time to write to the County Council with your thoughts for improving cycling infrastructure in Nuneaton and more broadly across Warwickshire. 

A number of schemes in Warwickshire have already been allocated funding which in Nuneaton includes the Nuneaton to Bedworth and Bedworth to Coventry and the A47 Longshoot cycle routes and we are actively working on delivery of these schemes to support the development of walking and cycling in and around Nuneaton. 

The County Council is also accelerating design on a number of priority cycle schemes across Warwickshire to ensure we are in a position to be able to take advantage of a Government funding announcement should this opportunity arise. 

The Government has set out an expectation that local authorities will make significant changes to road layouts to support social distancing and to create space for cyclists and pedestrians, and has announced funding to support this work. Warwickshire has an indicative allocation of £1.388 million from the Emergency Active Travel Fund of which £258k is available to fund immediate temporary measures. The County Council is actively developing a series of temporary ‘pop-up’ schemes across the County prioritising schemes which will support the gradual re-opening and recovery of the county’s town centres, recognising that there is potential for significant concentrations of people in these locations, particularly as lockdown restrictions are eased and shops and businesses reopen, and that this could have an effect on the COVID-19 transmission rate. The council has therefore been developing proposals for all of Warwickshire’s town centres which create space for social distancing so that businesses can operate, the public can confidently return to town centres and they can be reached safely on foot or by bicycle. 

The county council has been exploring options with the borough council for reallocating road space to pedestrians and cyclists in Nuneaton to support social distancing. Making changes to road layouts is a complex and resource intensive task with a wide range of factors, issues and community needs which require careful consideration and balancing. This inevitably means compromises must be made to achieve solutions which are workable, deliverable and affordable. The council is continuing to work on temporary scheme options for Nuneaton and Bedworth with the aim of finalising our plans in the very near future.

Any temporary schemes that are introduced will be monitored closely to ensure they remain suitable and appropriate to local conditions and need in what is a fast-changing situation. Over time we expect these schemes will be reduced or removed as social distancing measures are relaxed and traffic levels increase. We will however consider how the changes might feed into longer term plans for town centres and increasing active travel. 

We understand that the remaining funding from the Emergency Active Travel Fund is to support more permanent measures which encourage cycling and walking, however we await further information on both this and the remainder of the £2 billion which government recently announced for cycling, walking and public transport.

Kind regards

Warwickshire County Council

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