With social distancing measures likely to remain in place for some considerable time in response to the Covid 19 pandemic, the Council has moved to design a series of schemes to create more space for pedestrians and cyclists, which recognises the severe restrictions on the capacity of local public transport.
This follows the Government guidance of 9th May in which the Secretary of State said: “The Government therefore expects local authorities to make significant changes to their road layouts to give more space to cyclists and pedestrians. Such changes will help embed altered behaviours and demonstrate the positive effects of active travel.”
The government created an emergency fund, ringfenced for installing such temporary measures and we have been successful in securing this funding based on concept initiatives across the borough. We have prioritised the development of these concepts into detailed proposals over a relatively short period of time and are now rolling out the delivery of these schemes, working closely with contractors, suppliers and manufacturers of specialist products.
These schemes are temporary and the amount of time they are in place will be determined through continuous monitoring and close review of the latest government advice regarding the pandemic. We will review the effectiveness of the temporary schemes, with consideration about whether a number of the initiatives could become permanent schemes.
Their impact on residents and the traveling public will be a key part of any review, alongside the Council’s existing commitment of supporting the recovery of the local economy, tackling the climate emergency by creating a net zero carbon Reading by 2030 and the new Local Transport Strategy, which prioritises tackling poor air quality and congestion. The proposed schemes will also benefit the health and wellbeing of local residents by making it easier for them to walk or cycle when getting around town.
You can provide feedback on the types of schemes we should be considering using www.widenmypath.com.
The Council quickly implemented temporary signs and markings throughout the town centre, reminding visitors about the need to socially distance. Similar measures are a being rolled out to other busy local centres across the town. Temporary, advisory cycle lanes have also been implemented across Reading Bridge to provide an additional cycle link across the Thames by removing one lane of traffic.
Active Travel Schemes that have been completed or substantially completed by the end of July:
Further schemes will be introduced shortly,
including cycle improvements on Redlands Road, Christchurch Road and Oxford Road (between Norcot Road and the town centre).
These schemes are being developed in a dynamic and fast-track way and content on this web page will evolve accordingly. It is intended that this page be a resource for viewing design drawings and linking the background to these schemes.
Following a trial period, the Council has decided to remove the scheme on Gosbrook Road and Westfield Road, reverting these streets back to their previous road layouts.
We are prioritising the swift delivery of these important schemes, but once we are in a position to produce more presentable – and less operational – scheme drawings, we will add these to the page.