Active Travel

In May 2020, the Government launched a £2billion package to create a new era for cycling and walking in the UK. As part of this, a new Active Travel Fund was released, consisting of two tranches:

  • Tranche 1 – supports the installation of temporary projects for the COVID-19 pandemic.
  • Tranche 2 – supports the creation of longer-term projects.

Tranche 2

Reading secured our full indicative allocation of £1.179m to deliver schemes as part of the second tranche of the Active Travel Fund.

Tranche 2 involves a detailed two-phase engagement and consultation approach prior to the implementation of any scheme(s). Our Consultation Plan sets out how and when we intend to undertake each engagement and consultation exercise.

Engagement Exercise (Phase 1)

We have developed some initial ideas to provide enhanced cycling, walking and public transport facilities, that build on our existing network.

These initial ideas have been developed in the context of uncertainty regarding changes to traffic flows and unknown future travel demand, post-Covid-19. It is possible that peak hour traffic will not return to previous levels as more flexible working arrangements and changes in travel behaviour towards cycling, walking and public transport will reduce commuter car use.

Tranche 1 and 2 Overview Plan

Tranche 1 and 2 Overview Plan – wider context

These ideas seek to improve the health, wellbeing and safety of residents, as well as supporting the local economy and helping to address air pollution and the Climate Emergency.

We are seeking your views on initial proposals in four areas of the Borough. These proposals are concept designs, subject to traffic modelling, detailed design work and, cycle and pedestrian demand analysis. Whilst we recognise that not all of these schemes can be delivered through this initial Active Travel funding (initial indicative costings estimate each scheme could cost between £750,000 to over £1million each), results from this initial engagement will help to decide the scheme(s) to progress to the next stage of development. The four schemes are :

Bath Road/Castle Hill (Southcote Lane – Inner Distribution Road/Castle Street)

A predominantly segregated cycle facility in each direction, including a segregated facility across the IDR junction, achieved by removing sections of highway currently dedicated for general traffic. This will be complemented by improvements to junctions and crossing facilities along the route.

Linking local destinations

This route will connect the residential areas of Southcote and West Reading to the town centre and its shopping areas of Broad Street Mall and The Oracle. The scheme will also help connect other key local destinations nearby, including:

  • Schools
  • Hotels
  • Medical centres
  • Places of worship
About the improvements

A range of improvements are being considered along the route, including:

  • Segregated cycle lanes, which will be separated from the main carriageway and footway
  • New and improved pedestrian crossings
  • A dedicated cycle lane within a bus lane
  • Junction improvements
  • Relocated bus stops
  • Signal improvements such as ‘early release’ for cyclists, giving cyclists a head start before general traffic
High level analysis

Benefits to cyclists are safer and easier travel up the awkward Castle Hill and along Bath Road towards Southcote and west Reading. The new cycle lanes would connect with National Cycle Network route 422 at Berkeley Avenue and encourage cycling to The Wren, Blessed Hugh Faringdon, Southcote Primary and All Saints schools.

The section of cycle route on Castle Hill would require the re-allocation of the third (tidal flow) lane at the foot of the hill which could have a higher impact on traffic heading west from Castle Hill roundabout, including 14 buses an hour.

The effect on eastbound traffic and public transport would be very limited as the cycle lane would mostly share the existing eastbound Bath Road bus lane and not significantly reduce capacity going down Castle Hill as the tidal flow lane eastbound is only available for a short time each day and the one eastbound lane would remain.

Bath Road/Castle Hill Concept Drawings

London Road (Borough Boundary to London Street)

A package of predominantly segregated cycle facilities in each direction, and shared bus and cycle lane, providing access to key destinations including the Royal Berkshire Hospital, achieved by removing one inbound traffic lane. This will be complemented by improvements to junctions and crossing facilities, including at the Cemetery Junction local centre. The scheme is an alternative to the previously promoted fully segregated, fast-track cycle and bus facility in East Reading.

Linking local destinations

As well as helping to connect residential areas to the town centre, the improvements will also enhance access to other key local destinations nearby, including:

  • Existing routes developed last year
  • Two business parks
  • Retail units, including supermarkets
  • Schools and colleges, including Reading College
  • The potential to connect to active travel schemes being developed by Wokingham Borough Council
About the improvements

A range of improvements are being considered along the route, including:

  • Segregated cycle lanes , which will be separated from the main carriageway and footway
  • Shared space, for use by both pedestrians and cyclists
  • New pedestrian and cycle crossings
  • Junction improvements
  • Widened footways
  • Signal improvements such as ‘early release’ for cyclists, giving cyclists a head start before general traffic
High level analysis

Benefits to cyclists are safer and easier access along the important east-west corridor from East Reading and Woodley to the Royal Berks Hospital and Central Reading. The scheme would connect with existing north and southbound cycle routes on London Street and Silver Street. The route would connect Woodley and East Reading to Reading and Kendrick schools.

At the eastern end of the scheme the section from the Borough boundary to Cemetery Junction would significantly benefit up to 23 buses an hour running into Reading from Thames Valley Park, Woodley, Winnersh Triangle P&R, Twyford and Heathrow Airport.

The reduction in traffic lanes from two to one from the Borough boundary to Cemetery Junction will impact the flow of commuter traffic from outside Reading Borough.

For the sections from Cemetery Junction to London Street a reduction from three to two traffic lanes would have an impact on general traffic.

London Road Concept Drawing

Shinfield Road (Christchurch Green – Shinfield Rise)

A segregated cycle facility in each direction, providing access to key destinations including the University of Reading. This will be complemented by improvements to junctions and crossing facilities, including at the Christchurch Green and Shinfield Rise local centres.

Linking local destinations

Running alongside the University of Reading’s Whiteknights campus, the route will connect the University to residential areas. In addition to this, the route will also connect to:

  • Existing routes developed last year
  • Schools
  • Retail and leisure opportunities, including Shinfield Road Recreation Ground
  • Places of worship
About the improvements

A range of improvements are being considered along the route, including:

  • Segregated cycle lanes, which will be separated from the main carriageway and footway
  • New and improved pedestrian crossings
  • Junction improvements
  • Wider footways
  • Relocated bus stops
  • Shared space, for use by both pedestrians and cyclists
  • Signal improvements such as ‘early release’ for cyclists, giving cyclists a head start before general traffic
High level analysis

Benefits to cyclists are safer and easier travel along the length of Shinfield Road from Shinfield Rise and Lower Earley providing access to the University campus and connecting to existing cycle facilities on Redlands Road and Christchurch Road. Together with these facilities a full cycle route would be available from Central Reading to and from the University. The route would also connect Lower Earley to the Royal Berkshire Hospital and Reading and Kendrick schools.

The impacts on general traffic and bus services would be very limited as no general traffic lanes would be reallocated entirely.

Shinfield Road Concept Drawing

Southampton Street (Pell Street/Crown Street – Bridge Street/Fobney Street)

We are seeking views on two alternative options on this key route into the Town Centre; either a two-way segregated cycle facility, or a shared bus and cycle facility, both achieved through the removal of one inbound traffic lane. Either scheme will be complemented by segregated cycle facilities on Crown Street and through the Oracle roundabout, and improvements to junctions and crossing facilities.

Linking local destinations

This scheme will connect residential areas to the town centre, as well as to the proposed improvements on London Road and the existing routes developed under Tranche 1 schemes in 2020. 

About the improvements

A range of improvements are being considered along the route, including:

  • Improvements to the Oracle roundabout to allow for the safe crossing of cyclists and pedestrians
  • A shared cycle and bus lane
  • Segregated cycle lanes, which will be separated from the main carriageway and footway
  • New and improved pedestrian crossings
  • Local side roads becoming one way only
  • Signal improvements such as ‘early release’ for cyclists, giving cyclists a head start before general traffic
High level analysis
Option 1: two-way segregated cycle track on Southampton Street

Benefits to cyclists are improved access to Central Reading at the important Oracle/Bridge Street access, from the south via Whitley Street and Southampton Street. Better access is also provided for east-west cycle journeys between Pell Street and London Road/London Street. For journeys south from Central Reading this option would take cyclists to Crown Street to then travel east to join the existing southbound cycle route on Silver Street.

This option would have a higher impact on general traffic and public transport as the current three lanes on lower Southampton Street would be reduced to two lanes. 18 buses an hour would need to use the same lanes as traffic heading for the Oracle car parks or the IDR.

Option 2: one-way segregated bus and cycle lane track on Southampton Street

Benefits to cyclists are improved access to Central Reading at the important Oracle/Bridge Street access, from the south via Whitley Street and Southampton Street. Better access is also provided for east-west cycle journeys between Pell Street and London Road/London Street. For southbound journeys cyclists would be encouraged to use the existing cycle route via London Street and Silver Street.

This option would have a lower impact on general traffic as buses would be taken out of the two lanes and share a wide bus and cycle lane. This would provide improved public transport connectivity from the south of Reading via the existing bus and cycle lanes on upper Southampton Street and Bridge Street.

Southampton Street Option A1 Concept Drawing

Southampton Street Option A2 Concept Drawing

This survey is open 24th February 2021 – 23:59pm 23rd April 2021.

Alternative formats: If you require any of the engagement material in an alternative format, please email: transport@reading.gov.uk

Next Steps

Following the initial engagement exercise (phase 1), responses received will be reviewed and will determine which scheme(s) are progressed to the detailed design stage. The selected scheme(s) will be again shared with residents and businesses as part of a statutory consultation exercise (phase 2).

Tranche 1

Reading secured £221,250 for the first tranche of the Active Travel Fund. 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 Covid-19. The following temporary schemes have been implemented:

  • George Street, Reading Bridge – removal of general traffic lane to create new cycle facilities.
  • Southampton Street, Silver Street and Mount Pleasant – reallocation road space to create new cycle facilities.
  • Sidmouth Street – temporary one-way restriction and removal of one general traffic lane to provide a segregated two-way cycle lane.
  • Whitley Street – removal of general traffic lane 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 drawing – reallocation road space to create new cycle facilities.
  • Following a trial period, the Council has decided to remove the scheme on Gosbrook Road/Westfield Road, reverting these streets back to their previous road layouts.

Next Steps

With all Tranche 1 schemes now delivered, we will continue to monitor these schemes over the coming months. A review will be undertaken once decisions on which Tranche 2 schemes to take forward have been made, to determine whether these temporary schemes are made permanent, amended, or removed in the future.

You can provide feedback on these schemes or the types of schemes we should be considering in the future using www.widenmypath.com.

Further Information

Emergency Active Travel Fund: Tranche 1 Bid

Emergency Active Travel Fund: Tranche 1 Survey

Tranche 1 – Sidmouth Street – Emergency Notice

Emergency Active Travel Fund: Tranche 2 Bid

Active Travel Fund – Tranche 2 Summary Consultation Plan