Bid to keep people walking and cycling post-pandemic
More than £1.8m will be spent on making roads safer for pedestrians and cyclists in Staffordshire.
The news was welcomed this week by Moorlands MP Karen Bradley who said it would usher in a new area for cyclists and walkers.
The £1,832,000 will come in the form of an emergency active travel grant from the Government to fast-track plans for new walking and cycling lanes.
The £1.8m is a share of the £250m announced by the Government earlier this month, which includes £25m to fund vouchers for cycle repairs, to encourage people to get their old bikes out of the shed and resume cycling.
The Government said that following unprecedented levels of walking and cycling across the country during the pandemic, the plans will help encourage more people to choose alternatives to public transport when they need to travel, making healthier habits easier and helping make sure the road, bus and rail networks are ready to respond to future increases in demand.
Measures to boost greener, active transport could include:
• Pop-up bike lanes with protected space for cycling
• Wider pavements
• Safer junctions
• Cycle and bus-only corridors.
An updated cycling and walking investment strategy will be launched by the prime minister in the summer, with further measures to transform cycling and walking to deliver the Government’s aims to double cycling and increase walking by 2025.
Mrs Bradley said: “People across this country have played their part in helping to defeat coronavirus – with many playing their part by avoiding taking public transport.
“It is vitally important that we continue to stay alert. These new walking and cycle lanes will help to ensure we can control the virus by avoiding overcrowding on public transport, while keeping our roads free from becoming too congested.
“This funding will not only help to control the spread of coronavirus – but will also ensure our local areas are greener in the years to come.”
Transport secretary Grant Shapps said: “During this crisis, millions of people have discovered cycling - whether for exercise or as a means of safe, socially-distanced transport. While there is no change to the ‘stay at home’ message today, when the country does get back to work, we need those people to stay on their bikes and be joined by many more.
“Otherwise, with public transport’s capacity severely restricted at this time, our trains and buses could become overcrowded and our roads gridlocked – holding up emergency services, critical workers and vital supplies.
“We know cars will continue to remain vital for many, but as we look to the future we must build a better country with greener travel habits, cleaner air and healthier communities.”