New temporary cycle parks installed in Suffolk towns
- Credit: Charlotte Bond
New temporary cycle parks are popping up in towns across Suffolk as the county council tries to encourage more people to turn to pedal power for short journeys.
The authority is installing a number of temporary cycle parks in its larger towns in a bid to test demand and encourage people to get on their bikes.
In Ipswich, new parks have sprung up on the Waterfront and the town centre – and have attracted some adverse comments on social media.
Most are two planters filled with soil and a few plants and holding a “toast-rack” style structure of bars for cyclists to lock their bikes on.
Carl Ashton, from the council, explained these are not permanent structures – their aim is to “test the water” before permanent parks are created.
He said: “We know that one of the things that puts people off cycling is that they have nowhere to leave their bike when they get into town, so we are trying out these temporary parks.
“They are not fixed down at all, they can be lifted up and moved if we find that any of the parks just are not being used.”
Cabinet member for Ipswich, Paul West, said the council would be publishing its proposals for what to do with the money it had been offered by the government to improve cycling in early January.
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But it is expected the council will concentrate on improving existing cycle routes, rather than installing large numbers of new ones across the area.
Within Ipswich, proposals could include moving road crossings to make them easier for cyclists to use and improving the visibility of cycle routes to all road users.
Mr West said: “We have to show the Department for Transport that we have sought the views of road users, so we hope to get our initial proposals out early in January to go through that.”
A recent survey conducted by YouGov for Cycling UK found that opposition to cycle-friendly measures was significantly over-estimated by most people – and that 56% of people wanted to see more action taken to encourage cycling and walking, while 19% were opposed to it.
As well as in Ipswich, new cycle parks have been installed recently in Stowmarket and Sudbury – and this week more have been installed in Haverhill and Bury St Edmunds as part of the government’s Emergency Active Travel Fund.
Andrew Reid, Suffolk County Council’s cabinet member for transport, said: “Many residents in Suffolk have embraced cycling during the pandemic, so we have a real opportunity here to make cycling safer and easier not just for this unprecedented period, but for the future as well to reap the associated health and pollution benefits.
“To get more people cycling long-term we need to ensure there are enough places for them to safely store their bikes, so I am really pleased it is now easier to access Bury St Edmunds and Haverhill town centres on two wheels.
“I hope the facilities will encourage more people to grab their helmet and give it a go.”
Susan Glossop, cabinet member for growth at West Suffolk Council, said: “We are pleased more cycle parking is being introduced by Suffolk County Council at trial locations in Bury St Edmunds and Haverhill town centres.
“We had strong public engagement in shaping the town centre masterplans with many public comments calling for more places to store and lock up bicycles in the town centres.
“Furthermore, it supports our commitment to the environment and improving public health, by encouraging people to not use the car to come into our town centres.”