Cheshire East Council has announced the first active travel schemes to come into effect as part of the borough’s plans for sustainable investment in economic recovery following the coronavirus lockdown.
In Macclesfield, town centre access will be improved for cyclists. Through traffic will also be restricted on Ivy Road in Macclesfield, and Hawthorn Lane in Wilmslow.
Nine new schemes will come into effect this month across Cheshire East as a first phase to improve routes to schools and workplaces, boost social distancing, encourage active travel and improve access to town centres.
The first nine active travel schemes, totalling investment of £155,000, will be located at:
- Coronation Street, Crewe, near Sir William Stanier School – 20mph zone and through traffic restricted to cyclists and pedestrians;
- Crewe town centre – improved access for cycles;
- Congleton town centre – improved access for cycles;
- Macclesfield town centre – improved access for cycles;
- Ivy Road, Macclesfield – through traffic restricted to buses, cyclists and pedestrians;
- Hawthorn Lane, Wilmslow – through traffic restricted to cyclists and pedestrians;
- Old Middlewich Road, Sandbach – 20mph zone and parking suspension;
- Ladies Mile, Knutsford – through traffic restricted to cyclists and pedestrians; and
- Lodge Road, Alsager – through traffic restricted to cyclists and pedestrians.
Measures will also help to reserve capacity on public transport for those who really need it and should help to reduce congestion on some key routes to schools. Further schemes will be developed in further phases, following pledged government funding of up to £619,000.
Councillor Laura Crane, Cheshire East Council cabinet member for highways and waste, said:
This is exciting news and the part of steps by this council to promote social distancing and encourage more people to get active and cycle and walk more.
“I would like again to thank everyone who has worked with us so quickly to get active travel ideas and proposals up and running so swiftly in our towns and villages.
“We know people’s travel behaviour has changed during the lockdown – and we are determined to lock in the benefits of more people walking and cycling to make our town centres safer, healthier and more welcoming to shoppers and visitors.
“We have seen an increase in more people walking and cycling in our borough and as more people turn to these active ways of travel, we need to work together to provide safe spaces for people to carry out these journeys.
“These initial projects are, by their very nature and the short timescales involved, an experiment. We will continue to work with the town and parish councils to develop, review and refine these measures and others, as appropriate, before anything becomes permanent.
“Our aim is to deliver schemes that are right for each town and developed in partnership with each local area and local members.”
Councillor Suzie Akers Smith, Cheshire East Council’s walking and cycling champion, said:
Ditching the car and taking up daily active travel is good for your health, good for the environment and good for promoting social distancing to combat Covid-19. Creating a safe environment will encourage people out of their cars and be more active.
“It also helps make our town centres safer and more attractive places to visit, spend time and spend money.
“There has never been a better time to walk or cycle – especially shorter journeys included as part of our daily activity – and this really helps to forge greener habits, to reduce congestion, improve air quality and help fight climate change.
“Being bold in these measures may attract additional funding from government and we welcome feedback both positive and negative on the measures being proposed.”
Cheshire East Council is now working with parish and town councils, and ward members to deliver further projects.
Active travel schemes under consideration for a second round of funding in the Autumn include work on Manchester Road, between Wilmslow and Handforth, London Road between Alderley Edge and Wilmslow, and Black Lane, Manchester Road and Sunderland Street in Macclesfield.