Cheshire East Council is seeking people's views on a second phase of 'active travel' schemes to boost cycling and walking – following the award of £588,000 of Department for Transport funding
The proposals for five new active travel projects across Cheshire East towns, which are out for public consultation from today (Wednesday, 3rd February), are a second tranche to encourage more people to cycle and walk, help tackle obesity and improve access to our town centres, areas for employment and schools.
This consultation follows on from £155,000 of first-phase funding, last August, which led to eight emergency active travel projects across seven Cheshire East towns.
The choice of schemes will be informed by the public consultation response and the designs will also be refined to reflect local feedback. Construction of the selected projects will start in summer 2021. Unlike the first set of emergency schemes, it is intended that these measures will be permanent.
The new proposals, which are subject to consultation, include design options for the following locations in the borough:
● Manchester Road, Chancel Lane, Cliff Road and Styal Road, in Wilmslow/Handforth.
● Manchester Road, in Tytherington;
● Vernon Way, West Street and Market Street, Crewe;
● Black Lane and Hurdsfield Road, Macclesfield;
● Antrobus Street, West Street and Mill Street, Congleton; and
The Wilmslow and Handforth scheme aims to improve safety for pedestrians and cyclists on Manchester Road. It would provide a connection with the Tranche 1 scheme along Hawthorne Lane, which you can still provide feedback on, and the walking and cycle route currently under construction between Wilmslow Station and Alderley Road.
Currently the advisory cycle lane is often blocked or obstructed by parked cars, creating a hazard and causing cyclists to manoeuvre into traffic. Crossing Manchester Road near Styal Road can also be difficult, particularly during rush hours.
Two options have been identified:
Option 1 – This option improves the cycle lanes and includes Bus Boarders at four bus stops:
Installation of mandatory cycle lanes with light segregation such as bollards (also known as wands, see picture in scheme drawings below) between Styal Road and Station Road:
• Vehicles would not be permitted to park on the cycle lane;
• Breaks in the bollards (or wands) to allow access to side roads, residential properties and businesses;
• Wands could be either black or orange and feedback would be welcomed on which colour would be most appropriate for Manchester Road;
A signed on-road cycle route between Manchester Road and Wilmslow Rail Station along Styal Road, Cliff Road, Chancel Lane, Church Street, Swan Street and Station Road.
Speed limit reduction from 40mph to 30mph between the Bulls Head Pub and Copperfields to make the route safer for all road users including pedestrians and cyclists.
Upgrading the current pedestrian refuge crossing point near Dean Drive to be a Zebra or Puffin crossing.
A new Toucan crossing point across Manchester Road near to Styal Road that gives a safer crossing point for pedestrians and cyclists.
New shared footway/cycleway on Manchester Road between Styal Road and the new Toucan crossing.
An amendment is planned to four bus stops to include four 'bus stop boarders' (please see example photo in scheme drawings below). 'Bus stop boarders' bring the cycle lane up to the same level as the footway in front of the bus stop. Once the bus has stopped at the kerb then bus passengers would cross the cycle path to board or leave the bus.
Option 2 – This option is the same as Option 1 but does not include 'bus stop boarders' at bus stops. Instead there would be a break in the cycle lane as there is at present or bus lay-bys would be retained with an advisory cycle lane in front of this.
Separately to this scheme, consideration will be given to whether complementary measures such as lowering speed limits or traffic calming should be delivered on the on-road signed cycle route between Styal Road and Wilmslow Town Centre.
Councillor Laura Crane, Cheshire East Council cabinet member for highways and waste, said: "People's travel behaviour has changed during the lockdown – and this council is determined to lock in and build on the benefits of more people walking and cycling so that our town centres are safer, healthier and more welcoming to shoppers and visitors.
"I would emphasise that all of these proposals are subject to consultation. We will decide which schemes to deliver when we understand the views of local residents and road-users. We will continue to work with our town and parish councils, local communities and stakeholders to develop and refine proposals before anything is built.
"Our aim is to create schemes that are right for each community and developed in partnership with each local area and local people – which is why the public consultation and feedback is so important."
Councillor Suzie Akers Smith, Cheshire East Council's walking and cycling champion, said: "These are exciting proposals and I would urge people to share their views via the consultation. We want to encourage people to take up daily active travel, such as cycling, walking or scooting – which is good for your health, good for the environment and good for revitalising the heart of our towns and villages.
"Creating a safe environment, by proposals such as these, will encourage people to ditch their cars for shorter journeys and walk and cycle more. It also helps make our town centres safer and more attractive places to visit, spend time and spend money.
"Ditching the car really helps to forge greener habits, reduce congestion, improve air quality and help fight climate change."
The consultation runs until 3 March 2021. To find out more and have your say, visit: https://cheshireeastactivetravel.commonplace.is/