Ipswich being turned into ‘cycle-friendly’ town as Suffolk hopes for a further £1.3m
PUBLISHED: 16:32 14 July 2020 | UPDATED: 16:32 14 July 2020
Work to turn Ipswich into a cycle-friendly town is set to continue as more measures are introduced to try to persuade commuters to get on their bikes to reach jobs in the town centre.
A series of emergency measures have now been introduced – closing some junctions to motor traffic and in some places installing temporary bollards to mark out cycle lanes on Valley Road and Colchester Road.
These changes will remain in place for a minimum of six months while their effectiveness is assessed – but could remain in place for a further 12 months after that before the county has to decide whether to make them permanent.
And the council is waiting to hear whether it will get a further £1.3m from the government to spend on more cycle-friendly moves across Suffolk, half of which would be spent in Ipswich.
Cabinet member for Ipswich Paul West visited the junction of Milner Street and Rope Walk where planters have been installed to close the road off to motor traffic and create a cycle route to the town centre.
He said: “We are still bringing in the changes but we hope to get feedback from road users about how they are working and whether more people are being encouraged to cycle – that is the aim, to get more people on their bikes.”
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The changes were introduced quickly under emergency legislation – so unlike normal alterations there was no consultation before they were introduced although road users do have their chance to have a say now.
Some of the proposed changes have been held for the time being because the council is aware of specific concerns. One of these is the proposal to close Bramford Lane to motor traffic at the railway bridge – this is the main cycle route from north west Ipswich into the town centre, but there are some motorists who could face serious problems if the bridge was closed and the council has delayed making a decision on that.
The council is launching a consultation on the changes and is installing posters giving details of how people can take part in that at key road blocks with a QR code for them to download the consultation form on their mobile phone.
But there is some opposition to some elements of the changes – the CTC Suffolk, part of Cycling UK, has warned that the temporary bollards on Valley Road and Colchester Road could be dangerous because the cycle lanes are not enough and cyclists would not be able to safely overtake each other.
The new barriers to encourage cycling have been welcomed by local residents whose lives have been blighted by increased traffic over recent years.
Oxford Road is one of the residential streets off Milner Road and local resident Jasper Scott was delighted when the planters went up to stop cars from using it as a through route.
He said: “We’ve been trying to get this closed for years, it is a bit of a rat-run. A lot of children play in their front gardens in Oxford Road and there was always the worry that there could be a nasty accident. It is wonderful not to have the traffic going through.”
Since the barriers had been installed, the number of cars going through Oxford Road had plummeted: “It’s now a much safer area and people are able to walk about much more. I think everyone in the area feels the same way.”
As he talked to us, another resident passed and said the same thing – that the streets were much better without through traffic.
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