Pop-up cycle lanes, lower speed limits and wider pavements to support recovery

active travel GETTY

Cheshire East Council is stepping up its focus on active travel as part of its plans to support the borough through the recovery from the Covid-19 pandemic.

Over the last few weeks town and parish councils and local ward members have submitted more than 500 local ideas as to what measures may work in their towns and villages. The council is now developing a series of projects, informed by these ideas, that will be delivered this summer, including:

● Pop-up cycle lanes, with protected spaces for cycling;

● Measures to reduce rat-running in streets;

● Improved walking and cycling routes to school;

● Safer junctions, with the potential for bus and cycle-only corridors;

● Implementing lower speed limits; and

● Wider pavements, which also enables social distancing.

Councillor Laura Crane, Cheshire East Council cabinet member for highways, said: "I would like to reiterate my thanks to everyone who has worked with us so quickly to submit ideas and proposals regarding active travel on behalf of our towns and villages.

"People's travel behaviour has changed during the lockdown. We have seen an increase in more people walking and cycling in our borough and as more people turn to these active ways of travel, we need to work together to provide safe spaces for people to carry out these journeys.

"We will continue to work with the town and parish councils to develop, review and refine these measures.

"Due to the short timescales surrounding these schemes, any implementation will be done on an experimental basis. This means we can amend and improve the schemes as we go, before anything permanent is put into place.

"Our aim is to deliver schemes that are right for each town and developed in partnership with each local area."

Councillor Suzie Akers Smith, Cheshire East Council's walking and cycling champion, said: "There are long-term benefits to our health and environment by taking up daily active travel throughout our borough.

"There has never been a better time to walk or cycle – especially shorter journeys included as part of our daily activity or Footstep Friday and Cycle Saturday for weekly journeys. This type of activity helps to forge greener habits.

"Not only will the uptake of active travel reduce congestion and improve air quality across the borough, they will help us tackle our ambition to fight climate change."

Detailed plans for active town measures are being developed now and will be published ahead of their implementation over the coming weeks.

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Comments

Here's what readers have had to say so far. Why not add your thoughts below.

James MacDonald
Monday 22nd June 2020 at 3:21 pm
Wider pavements just means more estate for drivers to illegally drive on. Rule 145.
Maureen Marner
Monday 22nd June 2020 at 3:42 pm
With all this money proposing to be spent on these new proposals, how about more for the pensioners transport into Wilmslow, those that can't walk or don't ride a bike!!
Especially around Lacey Green, perhaps you could put the extra money on transport and not just towards the able bodied...
Gillian Slater
Monday 22nd June 2020 at 7:59 pm
Bit vague. A lot to do apparently. I wonder how long it will take to implement at Council speeds of action.
Jonathan Follows
Tuesday 23rd June 2020 at 11:07 am
I'm in favour of the proposals in principle, I think the balance of power between the motorist and the pedestrian needs to change, nothing to do with the current crisis but it seems like a good catalyst to do something that needs doing anyway.

In towns like ours, and in cities like Manchester, the motorist should give way to the pedestrian more, and should be compelled to do so given that it's not happening voluntarily.

I'm both a driver and a pedestrian, as many are.

The one point I don't really agree with is on speed limits because I believe the current speed limits are appropriate, just not enforced.

But I look forward with interest to the proposals that emerge. And I will be likely to support them strongly.
Laurie Atterbury
Wednesday 24th June 2020 at 5:08 pm
Wider pavements? Why, so that even more cars can park on them?
John Harries
Wednesday 24th June 2020 at 5:27 pm
All very admirable but as pointed out in an earlier comment 'they' seem incapable of implementing anything expeditiously or even enforcing what is already in place. There is no mention of other effects prompted by "people's travel behaviour has changed during the lockdown.." - drivers (mainly cars but also motorcycles) taking advantage of quieter roads by driving at insane speeds in both urban restricted areas as well as in excess of the National Speed Limit or other lower restricted limits. Only yesterday at the 30mph Handforth Road single lane on-slip to the westbound A555 I witnessed a blue BMW overtake a people carrier ON THE INSIDE (which is a hatched refuge lane) and continue accelerating to what I judged to be at least 70mph before actually joining the 50mph dual carriageway; all the roads feeding into the A555 here are 30mph and the (mostly new) signage is inadequate yet it's been passed off as appropriate by CEC and Cheshire Police following the commissioning of the A555 - elsewhere here I note a report of 3 Manchester Police cars involved in a multiple collision at this exact same spot - 'nuff said.
True some of the above does not come into CEC remit but 'pop-up cycle lanes' and 'wider pavements' really do grind my gears - get real and get out more CEC!!
Why waste more money with token (and likely expensive) gestures that cannot, and judging by the prevailing attitude, do not get enforced or reinforced (just generates more complaints to get passed around between CEC and the police) - I give you as one example of many the advisory cycle lanes along both sides of Manchester Road between Styal Road and the The Bluebell that may not as well exist for the amount of all-day parking that is allowed to take place and as for suggesting wider pavements for social distancing - the columns of this local on-line journal are frequently/regularly reporting outraged pedestrian complaints - how long did it take CEC to 'analyse' the problem and implement parking restrictions along Alderley Road between the Kings Arms and The Coach and Four - and that was just one small zone!!
There is a huge upturn in the number of people walking and cycling during this lockdown but it's out of neccessity rather than (and I apologise for quoting fully a CEC champion "Councillor Suzie Akers Smith, Cheshire East Council's walking and cycling champion, said: "There are long-term benefits to our health and environment by taking up daily active travel throughout our borough", I suppose she has to say something but why not something with just a small amount of originality; I quote her further "active travel reduce congestion and improve air quality" - I seem to recall CEC coming up with a really imaginative way to virtually improving air quality, take lots of samples and then doctor the results - a much cheaper outcome for the community at large.
Clive Cooksey
Wednesday 24th June 2020 at 7:46 pm
Question: Wider pavements, cyclopede lanes. Where do cars, vans, trucks, fire engines,
ambulances, motor bikes, go driving at 5MPH with a man with a red flag in front of them?
Most of our roads are the size of cart tracks & never enlarged since the middle ages. Blue Sky thinkers have been let out again! Cyclopede pushers all over the roads, 2 & 3 abreast. When on earth are these people going to pay a road tax?

People having not used cars during lockdown for obvious reasons but now they will be back in ever increasing numbers day by day. I live on a "quiet road" A month ago I got 2/3 vehicles a minute. Todays count is 17 and increasing daily.

Why do the Blue Sky thinkers have the idea we have all given up driving for stupid cycling, especially on a day with snow, sleet, rain. and 5degrees below is occurring! Get real.
Carol Shawcross
Wednesday 24th June 2020 at 9:06 pm
This is a really good idea but I fear for the reasons pointed out by the folk above, drivers will ignore the cycle lanes and park on the wider pavements unless CEC really crack down hard on offenders.
I sincerely hope this works and it’s policed properly otherwise it’s just a waste of time and money!
David Smith
Thursday 25th June 2020 at 11:57 am
The problem is that all cyclists coming from the Handforth direction to Wilmslow must eventually enter town via the narrow section of Manchester Road after the junction with Styal Road. It is downhill and has cars travelling in excess of the 30mph limit because they have not yet slowed down from their speed in the previous 40mph limited section and so probably still doing around 40mph. The pavement in this section is also very narrow with vegetation growing onto it and reducing the width [previously mentioned but with no action taken by the council or our local councillors]. At the same time there is NO pavement on the other side of the road.
So we have a BLACK SPOT = ACCIDENT WAITING TO HAPPEN section of road that none of our councillors or council or police or any 'do-gooders' on any other committees [Wilmslow town council] or groups seem to be aware. Add to this the parked delivery vans half on the pavement, HGV's trundling up the hill from Wilmslow and the bend in the road by Hill Top Avenue and it is amazing that no serious accident on a level that would become headlines in the national news with many deaths [schoolchildren, mothers with pushchairs, cyclists and the elderly] has as yet not occurred.
In addition there is the other 'accident waiting to happen' of a vehicle going up the hill after the roundabout, then leaving the road, plunging through those flimsy green metal railings on the left side just before the row of houses and ending up in the gardens of the houses below. Of course you haven't seen it because you go around with your eyes closed and can't see an accident waiting to happen. Neither can our local councillors whose main purpose as far as I am concerned is to be aware of issues like this at the very lowest, local level of government - and then do something about it. Have a look next time you are up that way and report back with what you have done to prevent this sort of accident.
Pippa Jones
Friday 26th June 2020 at 4:33 pm
I think anything that can be done to make it easier for us to walk and cycle is a great idea. Anyone who has tried to negotiate a wheelchair or even a large pram around Wilmslow will tell you what a difficult experience it is, so wider pavements are very welcome. Oldies like me will remember that once upon a time we all walked or biked to school...what a difference it would make to the traffic in the town if there was no school run traffic because the school students could travel independently...just like many of us used to do! And most of us, let's admit it, are not as fit as we might be, so a bit more walking and cycling has got to be good for us. And for those who don't like the sight of bikes....perhaps if we weren't on a bike we'd be irritating you by being another car adding to the congestion in town! So please, yes, let's do whatever we can to make Wilmslow safer and pleasanter to walk and cycle around. We might even enjoy a bit more clean air and a bit less noise!
David Smith
Friday 26th June 2020 at 7:08 pm
I bought a bike last week. It was not an easy event because there weren't any! Sure there are plenty available that cost huge chunks of dosh but bikes that match most of our financial means are at the moment like 'rocking horse teeth’. This is, I think, because Covid-19 has caused production to falter in most of the countries [China] that make them. Then there has been a surge in interest from those who don't bike and have now taken up the challenge to get out with their kids who already are experts on the two-wheeled transport. Many websites I viewed and actually saw the bike I liked said 'out of stock' with 'delivery in January 2021'. In the end I was incredibly lucky and happened on an ex-display model whose price slightly reflected the rarity of such a decent machine in the present circumstances. I didn't mind as it allowed me to be bikeable for the rest of 2020 instead of waiting until the middle of next winter whe prices might be higher anyway.
So there - if you haven't yet got your 2-wheeler, don't give up and look forward to joining the rest of us and perhaps nailing your colours to the mast of making biking more safe by lobbying your councillor for safer roads with cycle lanes that DO NOT ALLOW CARS TO TREAT THEM AS CAR PARKS. Any other whinges and suggestions for a better cycling experience please pass them on as well. Your councillor can be found at the link:

https://moderngov.cheshireeast.gov.uk/ecminutes/mgMemberIndex.aspx?FN=WARD&VW=LIST&PIC=0

...and while you are at it tell them anything else that is annoying you and needs to be put right - that’s what they are for!
Adrian Hackney
Saturday 27th June 2020 at 1:15 pm
I’m not sure whether Clive Cooksey reads comments made by others? However, when referring to ‘Cyclopede pushers’ he asks ‘When on earth are these people going to pay a road tax’? Please note Clive, road tax was abolished in 1937!

Many, in fact most, of these ‘Cyclopede pushers” are car owners and drivers and dutifully pay the appropriate ‘Vehicle Excise Duty (VED)’ that is based on vehicle engine size and emissions. VED is paid irrespective of choosing at times to either walk, run or cycle, reduce congestion, benefit health and wellbeing and reduce carbon emissions. Sometimes, when conditions are not good for what Clive refers to as ‘stupid cycling’ we choose, for safety reasons, to take our car or public transport.

There needs to be a safe option for people ‘doing their bit for the planet’ through ‘stupid cycling’. Perhaps ‘Cyclopede pushers’ could get a discount on their ‘Vehicle Excise Duty’ based on reduced emission production from a vehicle left at home. Any views on that Clive?

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