County council uses emergency powers to make use of Government cash to make life safer for cyclists and pedestrians in post-lockdown Cambridgeshire

PUBLISHED: 15:56 14 June 2020 | UPDATED: 18:29 14 June 2020

Making life easier for cyclists is part of a new initiative by Cambridgeshire County Council. New measures are being introduced using emergency powers to use an allocation of Government funding. Picture; Camcycle/Lucinda Price Photography

Making life easier for cyclists is part of a new initiative by Cambridgeshire County Council. New measures are being introduced using emergency powers to use an allocation of Government funding. Picture; Camcycle/Lucinda Price Photography

Archant

Rarely used emergency powers are to be used by Cambridgeshire County Council to fast track pop-up cycle lanes, wider pavements that allow for social distancing, safer junctions, and cycle and bus-only corridors.

Making life easier for cyclists is part of a new initiative by Cambridgeshire County Council. New measures are being introduced using emergency powers to use an allocation of Government funding. Picture; Camcycle/Lucinda Price PhotographyMaking life easier for cyclists is part of a new initiative by Cambridgeshire County Council. New measures are being introduced using emergency powers to use an allocation of Government funding. Picture; Camcycle/Lucinda Price Photography

Mayor James Palmer says the Cambridgeshire and Peterborough Combined Authority has “already advanced” nearly £3 million to bring about the changes.

The exact amount - £2.9 million – is what the combined authority has been promised from the Government’s “emergency active travel fund”.

The Government says it is the first stage of a £2 billion investment, as part of the £5 billion programme for cycling and buses announced in February.

Mayor Palmer tweeted: “The combined authority has already advanced the full £2.9 million to both Peterborough City Council and Cambridgeshire County Council. The money will then come to us in tranches from government.”

Steve Cox, the council’s executive director, said tight timescales to make use of the first £575,000 of Government funding meant it had not been possible to evaluate whether all the measures are deliverable.

“Some of the measures will require traffic orders, and there are potential delays in that process that could delay scheme delivery,” he said.

His report to the highways and transport committee says the money was obtained by the Cambridgeshire and Peterborough Combined Authority and passed to the county council and Peterborough City Council to deliver the proposals.

Mr Cox says the funding and guidance from Government recognise that with requirements for social distancing, public transport capacity will be 10-20 per cent of pre Covid-19 levels.

“Many parts of the road network do not have the physical or environmental capacity to cater for the displaced public transport trips, if those trips are made by car,” he says.

“For the transport network to operate effectively as the economy and society transition back to more normal levels of activity, more people will need to walk, cycle or work at home.”

It is anticipated that much of the work will be commissioned through the highways contract with Skanska and that no further procurement will be needed. The programme includes signage and cones/barriers to all 240 county schools.

The council will use an Experimental Traffic Regulation Order (ETRO) to bring in changes.

“Given the speed that schemes have been developed and will be implemented, measures will be closely monitored, and, if necessary, changes made to schemes address any problems,” says Mr Cox.

“If necessary, temporary measures can be removed. As traffic levels build up towards more normal levels, it may negate the positive impact of measures in some places or lead to issues elsewhere on the transport network.

He added: “The enforcement of some measures may require police intervention, as the powers available to the county council and the temporary nature of the measures rule out other options in the short term.”

Mr Cox said ETROs were “not often used in Cambridgeshire. This is like a permanent Traffic Regulation Order in that it is a legal document which imposes traffic and parking restrictions”.

He said it was not possible to lodge a formal objection to an ETRO until it is in force.

“Once it is in force, objections may be made to the order being made permanent and these must be made within six months of the day that the experimental order comes into force,” said Mr Cox. In Fenland the measures mainly concentrate on temporary cycle and pedestrian-friendly measures.

MARCH AREA

Cycle parking in town- review cycle parking provision and provide 30 additional stands (that can be removed and relocated when the high street funding changes are implemented).

Burrowmoor Road from Richmond Avenue to the roundabout on The Avenue B1101 - changes to speed limits (reduced from 30mph to 20mph) on a flashing sign basis related to school times.

Maple Grove - change speed limit to 20mph from 30mph with flashing signs related to school opening times

Wimblington Road from Saxon Way to Cavalry Park - change speed limit to 20mph from 30mph with flashing signs related to school opening times.

Cavalry Drive, from the Shires to Upwell Road - change speed limit to 20mph from 30mph with flashing signs related to school opening times.

County Road, from Robingoodfellows Lane to High School Close - change speed limit to 20mph from 30mph with flashing signs related to school opening times

WISBECH/ CHATTERIS

Review cycle parking provision and provide 30 additional stands with the agreement of the town councils as to their location.

WHITTLESEY

Review cycle parking provision and provide 30 additional stands with the agreement of the town council as to their location.

Route 63 between Whittlesey and March in conjunction with SUSTRANS - to create new and improved signage for the Route 63 cycle route between Whittlesey and March.


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