Active travel and social distancing

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.

Works update

The Council quickly implemented temporary signs and markings throughout the town centre, reminding visitors about the need to socially distance. Similar measures have been rolled out to other busy local centres across the town.

The following temporary schemes have been delivered:

  • George Street, Reading bridge – reallocation road space to create new cycle facilities.
  • Southampton Street, Silver Street & Mount Pleasant- reallocation road space to create new cycle facilities
  • Sidmouth Street – temporary one-way restriction and lane closure to provide a segregated two-way cycle lane.
  • Whitley Street – reallocation road space to create new cycle facilities
  • Oxford Road (Tilehurst) – reallocation road space to create new cycle facilities
  • Oxford Road – introducing a number of cyclist-priority measures between Norcot Road and Bedford Road
  • Redlands Road – introducing cycle logos alongside a separate major scheme that is being developed to improve motorist compliance with the 20mph speed limit. This scheme intends to replace the proposed ‘virtual’ speed cushions with physical measures for potential delivery in Spring 2021.
  • Christchurch Road (delivery in progress) – reallocation road space to create new cycle facilities.

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.

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.

Scheme survey and drawings – tranche 1

Emergency Active Travel Fund: tranche 1 survey

Christchurch Road drawing

Gosbrook Road/Westfield Road drawings

Oxford Road drawing

Oxford Road (Tilehurst) Drawings

Reading Bridge and George Street

Redlands Road Drawing

Sidmouth Street Drawing

Silver St_Mount Pleasant Drawings

Southampton Street Drawing

Whitley Street Drawing

Scheme survey and drawings – tranche 2

Emergency Active Travel Fund: tranche 2 survey

Emergency Active Travel Fund – tranche 2 – concept plans

Active Travel Fund – trance 2 summary consultation plan

Further information