By Daniel Hunter
Cyclists and walkers across the UK are on track to benefit from thousands of new cycle spaces and routes from the middle of this year, Transport Minister Norman Baker has announced.
Over 7,500 new cycle spaces at railway stations and 38 new and improved routes have been agreed, as part of a £30 million package of developments to connect communities, reduce carbon emissions, get people active and make cycling safer and more convenient. The schemes will also promote economic growth by providing commuters with improved sustainable travel options.
The Department for Transport has worked closely with the Association of Train Operating Companies, UK transport charity Sustrans, the Cycle Rail Working Group and local councils to design and approve the 68 projects to provide better access for cyclists and pedestrians.
“I know these plans will be hugely beneficial to communities and cyclists up and down England. They will also help to create jobs and reduce our carbon footprints while making cycling safer and more convenient — further emphasising the government’s dedication to offer sustainable transport for all," Local Transport Minister Norman Baker said.
“I look forward to visiting some of the projects and hearing the difference renewed transport links have made to peoples’ daily lives, especially making that last mile from the train to home an easy ride or walk.“
The projects are spread across the England and focus on areas that will enhance existing transport links. The plans include the development of paths that will allow budding cyclists to travel directly and safely to their destination - their bikes will be secure on arrival with new cycle racks, the use of CCTV and additional lighting.
“Sustrans is delighted to be working with the Department for Transport to help more people in communities to walk or cycle to school and work," Malcolm Shepherd, Sustrans' Chief Executive, said.
“Ongoing investment is needed to give many more people the chance to get active safely in their everyday journeys.”
At Cambridge train station, a ‘cycle hub’ will be created offering cycle storage for up to 3,000 bikes — making it one of the largest in the UK. Commuters will also be able to hire bikes, purchase new cycles while also checking your bicycle into the ‘bike doctor’ for a full MOT.
Speaking on behalf of the Cycle Rail Working Group, Michael Roberts, Chief Executive of the Association of Train Operating Companies said:
“Train companies and the rail industry as a whole recognise the important role cycling plays in our growing railway and the Cycle Rail Working Group has been working hard on how we can improve cycle-rail provision further.
“This money is a real boost to the group’s work and is good news for passengers. It will allow the industry to extend and develop cycling facilities across the country, offering more people a low-cost and environmentally friendly way to get to and from the station.”
The funding complements £7 million that Network Rail is investing to improve cycle facilities across the country. This is going towards updating and creating new facilities at stations up and down the network, and includes £1.5 million for cycle hubs at Liverpool Lime Street, Sheffield, London Victoria and London Waterloo.
Including match funding from local authorities, train operators and private investors, the projects will collectively deliver over £37 million worth of improvements. The Department’s contribution of £15 million, announced last month, is in addition to the £560 million Local Sustainable Transport Fund.
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