Anger over planned cycle route
PUBLISHED: 05:02 26 February 2002 | UPDATED: 11:26 03 March 2010
ANGER and amazement has greeted proposals to allow cyclists to pedal up Felixstowe's one-way town centre shopping street - against the flow of traffic.
ANGER and amazement has greeted proposals to allow cyclists to pedal up Felixstowe's one-way town centre shopping street – against the flow of traffic.
County council officials have put forward the project as part of the development of a £3m new purpose-built cycle route across Suffolk.
But traders and town councillors are staggered at the suggestion that cyclists should be allowed to come up from the seafront and then along Hamilton Road between Bank Corner and Boots, which is one way, in the opposite direction.
Not only do they fear it will cause traffic danger and confusion, but putting a cycle lane in place will almost certainly mean all the parking – vital for shops which depend on passing trade – will have to be removed.
Opposition to the idea has been so strong that county cycling officers have been told to rethink the project and look at other alternatives.
Former mayor Andy Smith told the town council's general purposes committee that many people had been amazed that such an idea could be suggested.
"It seems that if this is put in place it will eliminate all the public parking on the left hand side of Hamilton Road in order to allow the disabled to still be able to park," he said.
"The only advantage of removing the parking is if we are bringing in pedestrianisation – but when we tried that several years ago business began to die and that was without it being fully pedestrianised."
Town councillors have told the county council that the scheme is "totally unacceptable" and would harm the viability of the town centre.
They suggested that Undercliff Road West and Garrison Lane should be developed as a route instead.
Work in Felixstowe to improve cycle routes will be part of the project on National Cycle Route 51, which will link the resort with Newmarket.
County cycling officers need to find a way of getting cyclists from the seafront into the town, before they head off into Walton and Trimley and then out onto the cycle ways alongside the A14.
It was felt going up Bent Hill and into Hamilton Road was the best and safest route, encouraging cyclists to use local shops, restaurants and other businesses.
The National Cycle Route is being developed to cater for the large growth in cycling tourists and there is great potential for resorts like Felixstowe to get spin-off economic benefits for accommodation and attraction owners.
The current value of cycle tourism in the UK is estimated at £635 million a year and is expected to grow to £15 billion per year within 20 years.
The county council is committed to raising the proportion of all journeys by bike from 3.5 per cent to 7pc by 2006 and to 10pc by 2010.