New proposals to boost cycling and walking in Wilmslow

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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/

Tags:
Manchester Road
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Comments

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

Gary Chaplin
Wednesday 3rd February 2021 at 2:33 pm
These schemes are pointless if they are merely a painted line alongside a busy road where vehicles still park/stop over them or worse, blindly turn across them. Look to Europe or the US to see how they have segregated lanes, separated from traffic via fixed bollards/road furniture.

Provide a good lane and it will get used (see Alderley Edge bypass as an example), but most are pointless as they are unsafe and dangerous so cyclists avoid them.
Jean Berman
Wednesday 3rd February 2021 at 3:25 pm
Another waste of money
Audrey Youngman
Wednesday 3rd February 2021 at 3:43 pm
Before commencing work on cycle lanes why not repair pot holes in roads. Hall Road, Handforth being one example.
Helen Battilana
Wednesday 3rd February 2021 at 3:44 pm
In reply to Gary, cycling on Manchester Rd. between Handforth and Wilmslow could be made safer if the dashed white line was replaced with a solid white line, making parking inside it an offence. The local Police have chosen not to penalise drivers parking in the dashed lines because it is allowed in the current discretionary situation!
To all users of this road, please do respond to the consultation if you think cyclists should have priority within the cycle route.
Mike Hennessy
Wednesday 3rd February 2021 at 3:46 pm
i think you need to read the specification gary. the manchester road one is a huge improvement
Mark Goldsmith
Wednesday 3rd February 2021 at 4:06 pm
Just to add that this proposal is far more permanent than the initial Active Travel Schemes from last year. It is also being funded by the Department for Transport though, so will again not come from council tax money.

The route will link Wilmslow Station to Handforth and will involve a mandatory double yellow line and in large parts, "light segregation" of bollards separating the cycle lane from the road. It is therefore exactly the type of segregated lane that Gary Chaplin wants to see.

However, if we want it to happen now, then please visit the Cheshire East web site above, click on the HAVE YOU SAY button to find out the full details and to leave your comments.

The more positive comments we get, the more likely ours is to be one of the projects chosen.

Cllr Mark Goldsmith
Residents of Wilmslow
Wilmslow West & Chorley
Mark Goldsmith
Wednesday 3rd February 2021 at 4:54 pm
Audrey - the Department for Transport will only give us this money for the cycle scheme tough. Unfortunately, they wont give us a penny of it to repair the roads.

Believe it or not, but I read recently that Cheshire East is in the top 5 of all UK councils for how much it spends on road repairs. Largely I think because we increased the budget on this last year when we took over. Additionally, the government has also promised an extra £500 million a year to councils for road repairs as well. But with 400 councils and £10 billion worth of repairs, this extra is welcomed but unfortunately won't go very far.

However, a glimmer of hope is that the Rishi Sunak, the Chancellor has asked for "shovel ready" projects to invest in after the Covid-19 crisis to stimulate the economy. Hopefully, he will put more funding into getting our roads up to par, as they have been severely neglected nationwide for far too long.
Andrew Backhouse
Wednesday 3rd February 2021 at 5:05 pm
Great to have Mark's explanation. The parking on the cycle lane from Handforth to Wilmslow is really difficult - and the alternative from Summerfield has the dreadful steps....With luck the new schemes will also look at the possibility of a path up through the Wilmslow Station car park from Ladyfield Terrace - that last pull up the hill on the main road is not much fun on a bike with all these cars!
When we had the first lock down we had lots of people on bikes, because people were not driving. Now we have too many people back in cars and making it dangerous for kids and adults alike.
Berkeley Thirsk
Wednesday 3rd February 2021 at 6:28 pm
I do not think I will be the only one to mention this, but I fail to see the point of providing dedicated cycling lanes when the local roads are in such a ridiculously poor state of repair. For a motorist, who actually pays a large amount annually for the privilege of driving on what are barely more than rutted tracks (even the main roads are nearly as bad) to have to contend with cyclists riding singly and in pairs, that pay nothing for the privilege and are also, as well as the motorists, having to swerve often to avoid potholes and very rough patches of road, it is dangerous. I am surprised that there are not more accidents - there have been hundreds of near misses!
Mark Russell
Wednesday 3rd February 2021 at 7:15 pm
Roads are a joke. Where is all the money going? Because it’s not into tarmac. Stop these stupid green ideas and fix your assets. And where does the government get its money from? OUR taxes, so don’t try to tell us this is free money because it isn’t.
Vince Chadwick
Wednesday 3rd February 2021 at 7:28 pm
Where does this odd idea that cyclists pay nothing towards the roads come from? We haven't had road tax in UK since 1937!

VED is a tax on the C02 a vehicle produces, not a payment to use the roads.

Roads are funded out of national and local taxation, which everyone pays regardless of whether they are motorists, cyclists, pedestrians, or never use a road at all. We all pay for roads and therefore we all have an equal right to use them.

It's good to see this long overdue move to boost cycling and walking in Wilmslow. Just take a look at Denmark and The Netherlands to see what can be done to improve equality for all users of our roads.
John Harries
Wednesday 3rd February 2021 at 7:57 pm
I'm no expert but whatever scheme 'they' decide on I wonder if there isn't an implied, inevitably high proportion of the cost allocated to bus boarding measures (does that mean school coaches and public transport?) and to me it appears a bit complicated, thus knowing CEC that also means expensive! There is no high usage by the scant local bus services anyway so maybe signs (painted in the cycle lanes, a pretty low cost solution in my judgement) will keep it very simple and do the job quite adequately - and we get more bang for our buck.
CEC have a Government (MoT) grant to do this work (as MBC had some good few years back), that was a good/groundbreaking scheme that was executed and then forgotten. Judging by their attitude to the existing cycleway schemes (entirely neglected) some funds should be ringfenced to ensure what we have now is made fit for purpose and that future inspection/maintenance is available to the whole network.
I thought mandatory cycle lanes were marked with a solid white line and parking on/over them was an offence; double yellow lines too and maybe white hatched centre reservations, there won't be much room left for the much potholed black stuff!! Who does the road marking for CEC?
I'd also like to learn how CEC decide when pothole repairs are authorised (I know there is a depth and perimeter rule of thumb for this) and how they calculate costs. Sub-contractors do most of the repair work (gleeful rubbing of hands somewhere in the Stockport area) and someone from CEC (or is it yet another sub-contractor...) patrols around marking out likely holes with white spray. Sometime later (it can be weeks or even months) the repair mob turn up, at locations I've noticed that have a patchwork of white edged holes, only to fix one or maybe two and then skedaddle. Why on earth don't they fix the lot in one go is a mystery of logic but it all makes sense if you think about the (expensive but eminently chargeable) merry-go-round of constant supply of sub-contractor job schedules - licence to print/spend money (our money).
Chris Neill
Thursday 4th February 2021 at 8:38 am
Walking could be improved greatly if the pavement areas were returned to their original width by cutting back overgrown and abandoned hedges. Low cost community service work possibly, and not just in the area highlighted here, but within a half mile circle around the town. Easy.
Also ticket the pavement and grass verge parkers.
Julian Barlow
Thursday 4th February 2021 at 10:03 am
We already have cycle paths but they've been totally neglected. The Council are always banging on about sustainability but the fact is they repeatedly fail to maintain what we already have. There's every likelihood that once this new cycle path is built, it will be neglected and unfit for purpose much like most of our existing roads and footpaths.
Alan Brough
Thursday 4th February 2021 at 12:24 pm
@ Julian Barlow

Excellent point.

They fail to "sustain" existing roads, pavements, footpaths, streams, drains etc. etc. and inevitably we'll end up paying more in the long term.
Mark Russell
Thursday 4th February 2021 at 4:42 pm
Spot on Julian.
Graham Steel
Sunday 7th February 2021 at 11:42 am
We need better enforcement of the speed limits. Then the roads will be more attractive for cycling.
Mike Hennessy
Friday 12th February 2021 at 10:13 am
a belated comment on this following some opposition on the Wilmslow Community page. as Mark has said, this additional money can only be used to improve cycling and walking amenities. As a byproduct there will have to be some resurfacing but that cannot be the objective. If we don't use the money in wilmslow it will be spent elsewhere in CE. Use it or lose it. It is pointless recommending other priorities if the money can’t be used for them

And the enemy is not the cyclist; it is the parking in the current cycle lane, most of which is legal. Cyclists will benefit hugely from the scheme because they will not have to pull out into the centre of the road. But all road users benefit. Pre pandemic, between Styal Road and the 40mph sign, children could not see oncoming traffic when crossing the road at school pickup and drop off times; wheelchairs and buggies could not pass cars parked on the pavement and their users were forced out onto the road into oncoming traffic. And all along Manchester Road, anyone on 2 or 4 wheels, residents, visitors, delivery vehicles pulling out of a drive or a side road had NO visibility of oncoming traffic. We played Russian roulette daily as we inched forward hoping we would not hit or be hit by a cyclist or motorist. It is a miracle there have not been fatalities.

The displaced parked cars will not be able to migrate to the side streets because the Wilmslow Parking Review lists them for priority residents parking. We must hold CEC to that promise but the money comes from a different pot.

So those who oppose the cycle scheme, please consider the broader picture. As the leaflet doing the rounds says, the scheme in whatever form it ends up, will make Manchester Road safer for ALL users. Why would anyone not want that ?
Brian Mcgavin
Wednesday 17th February 2021 at 7:20 pm
This parking obstruction on major gateway roads into Wilmslow like Manchester Road has been going on for years and raised by residents many times. Cllr Don Stockton claimed he was doing consultations which never resulted in real action to address local residents concerns.
Now the council plans to spend taxpayers' money sticking ugly orange or invisible black bollards to designate the cycleway along an historic and beautiful copper beach boulevard. All that is really needed is double yellow lines so opportunist day parkers can be fined for parking along the cycle way.
Jonathan Price
Friday 26th February 2021 at 1:46 pm
To reduce traffic congestion and wear and tear on our roads, and thereby make travelling better for everybody, we need to make it possible for people to cycle and walk safely instead of driving. This scheme is a welcome step in the right direction, mitigating the climate emergency, reducing air pollution, and improving health and fitness along the way. We are starting to catch up with what more progressive countries have been doing for years-making their towns better places to live-well done CEC and lets see more of the same please!

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