Appendix B – Active Travel Fund – Summary of Initial Engagement Responses

In line with the Active Travel Fund Programme, an initial engagement exercise on four concept schemes ran from 24th February to 23rd April 2021. The four schemes were:

  • Bath Road/Castle Hill (Southcote Lane – Inner Distribution Road (IDR)/Castle Street)
  • London Road (Borough Boundary to London Street)
  • Shinfield Road (Christchurch Green – Shinfield Rise)
  • Southampton Street (Pell Street/Crown Street –Bridge Street/Fobney Street)

A total of 928 responses were received. The results are as follows:

Types of respondent (who)

  • 90% Reading residents
  • 8% residents from outside the borough
  • 1% other
  • 0% representatives of local community groups or residents’ association
  • 0% business owners or representatives
  • 0% on behalf of an educational establishment

Type of respondent (age groups)

  • 22% aged 46-55
  • 21% aged 36-45
  • 19% aged 56-65
  • 17% aged 66+
  • 15% aged 26-35
  • 3% aged 16-25
  • 2% prefer not to say
  • 0% under 16

Methods of transport

Thinking about your normal travel habits (pre-coronavirus), on average, how often did you use the following methods of transport when travelling in your local area?

Method of transportFive or more times a weekThree to four times a weekOne to two times a weekLess frequentlyNever use
Bicycle18%14%14%19%35%
Walking50%22%19%7%1%
Bus6%6%20%45%23%
Train7%7%12%58%16%
Motorbike1%1%1%3%94%
Private car as a driver25%19%26%12%18%
Private car as a passenger2%5%23%42%28%
Taxi – as a driver0%0%0%1%99%
Taxi – as a passenger0%0%3%53%43%
Van or lorry1%0%1%3%95%
Other1%1%0%1%97%

Impact of COVID-19

What impact, if any, has the coronavirus had on your use of the following methods of transport?

Method of transport Increased useNo changeDecreased useDon’t knowN/A
Bicycle25%32%17%24%1%
Walking59%28%12%1%0%
Bus1%20%61%1%17%
Train1%13%70%0%16%
Motorbike0%15%4%0%81%
Private car as a driver8%19%57%0%15%
Private car as a passenger4%23%48%1%25%
Taxi – as a driver0%11%1%0%87%
Taxi – as a passenger1%16%43%1%39%
Van or lorry0%13%3%0%84%
Other1%12%1%0%86%

Important factors

How important do you think the following factors are in deciding whether to use an active form of travel (i.e. cycling, walking and public transport)?

FactorVery importantFairly importantNeither important nor unimportantFairly unimportantNot at all importantDon’t know
Facilities that are safe to use65%22%7%1%3%2%
Supporting the local economy by visiting local shops and businesses more often28%40%19%6%6%1%
Increase activity on local streets to improve the sense of community22%31%23%10%12%2%
Reduced cost of the journey23%38%25%8%6%1%
Journey time is more reliable28%44%17%6%4%1%
Environmental benefits such as improving air quality due to less traffic58%26%8%4%4%0%
Increasing physical and mental health by keeping active55%31%8%2%3%0%

Initiatives

How effective would the following initiatives be in encouraging you to cycle/walk/use public transport more often around your local area?

InitiativeVery effectiveFairly effectiveNeither effective nor ineffectiveFairly ineffectiveNot at all effectiveDon’t know
Other17%3%9%0%5%66%
Changes to vehicle access to discourage ‘rat-running’ traffic through residential areas33%25%17%8%14%3%
Safer public transport journeys (post coronavirus pandemic)25%31%27%5%10%3%
More reliable journey times on public transport27%35%23%4%8%3%
More affordable public transport27%32%24%5%10%2%
Better wayfinding, including for local routes along quieter streets28%32%20%8%11%2%
Better crossings for people cycling and walking46%28%12%5%8%1%
Wider footways dedicated for walking only34%28%20%7%11%0%
Safer cycle routes with segregation from general traffic53%17%6%5%18%1%

Other suggestions

Code descriptionNumber of coded comments% of coded comments
Partial support – separate space needed for pedestrians and cyclists 20 7%
Walking/cycling opportunity – secure bike storage 20 7%
Discourage driving/ car-use/ rat-running 20 7%
Issues with Parking 19 7%
Existing maintenance issue 15 5%
Other – additional proposal 14 5%
Accessibility issues 13 5%

Bath Road/Castle Hill

To what extent do you support the following improvement ideas for the area?

Proposals Total support % Total opposition %
Two new predominantly segregated cycle lanes between the IDR roundabout and Southcote Road   61%   22%
Improved segregated facilities on the IDR roundabout for pedestrians and cyclists   67%   20%
Improved facilities for cyclists at junctions, including early release at signals   65%   19%
Improved crossing facilities on the IDR roundabout and along Bath Road/Castle Hill   69%   15%

Would these improvements encourage you to…

Method of transportYesNoDon’t know
Walk more often36%47%17%
Cycle more often50%40%9%
Use public transport more often11%62%27%

Do you think these improvements would encourage people to…

Method of transportYesNoDon’t know
Walk more often50%30%20%
Cycle more often65%22%13%
Use public transport more often20%38%42%

London Road

To what extent do you support the following improvement ideas for the area?

Proposals Total support % Total opposition %
Two new segregated cycle lanes between Cemetery Junction and Kendrick Road   61%   29%
New eastbound predominantly segregated cycle route from Cemetery Junction to Liverpool Road   60%   28%
Bus and cycle lane westbound from Borough boundary to Cemetery Junction   58%   29%
Improved facilities for cyclists at junctions, including early release at signals   67%   21%
Improved crossing facilities along the route, including at Cemetery Junction   72%   16%

Would these improvements encourage you to…

Method of transportYesNoDon’t know
Walk more often37%50%13%
Cycle more often50%41%9%
Use public transport more often18%57%25%

Do you think these improvements would encourage people to…

Method of transportYesNoDon’t know
Walk more often48%32%20%
Cycle more often63%24%14%
Use public transport more often28%35%37%

Shinfield Road

To what extent do you support the following improvement ideas for the area?

Proposals Total support % Total opposition %
Two new segregated cycle lanes between Christchurch Green and Shinfield Rise   62%   19%
Segregated shared use path facilities through Shinfield Rise   57%   22%
Improved facilities for cyclists at junctions, including early release at signals   64%   17%
Improved crossing facilities along Shinfield Road   68%   13%

Would these improvements encourage you to…

Method of transportYesNoDon’t know
Walk more often37%46%17%
Cycle more often47%39%14%

Do you think these improvements would encourage people to…

Method of transportYesNoDon’t know
Walk more often48%27%25%
Cycle more often60%22%18%

Southampton Street

To what extent do you support the following improvement ideas for the area?

Proposals Total support % Total opposition %
New two-way segregated cycle route from Pell Street to Bridge Street, but no shared bus and cycle lane   57%   26%
Shared bus and cycle lane from Pell Street to Bridge Street   48%   29%
New one-way segregated cycle route along Crown Street   59%   24%
Improved crossing facilities on The Oracle roundabout for pedestrians and cyclists   72%   15%
Improved crossing facilities on the Southampton Street/Pell Street junction for pedestrians and cyclists   70%   15%
Deansgate Road becoming one way to prevent right turning vehicles from Southampton Street   41%   27%

Would these improvements encourage you to…

Method of transportYesNoDon’t know
Walk more often41%45%15%
Cycle more often50%39%12%
Use public transport more often16%55%29%

Do you think these improvements would encourage people to…

Method of transportYesNoDon’t know
Walk more often51%28%21%
Cycle more often61%22%17%
Use public transport more often25%32%43%

Other comments

Comment description Nature of comments received No. of comments % of comments Example comments
            Partial opposition – proposal won’t reduce traffic/will increase traffic Removing a vehicle lane will cause more traffic and create more pollution.All the schemes unfairly impact drivers due to the increase in congestion they will cause.Any cycle lane shouldn’t be at the expense of losing a vehicle lane. The increase in traffic will make it less pleasant to walk and cycle.More congestion will mean people won’t travel into the town centre, negatively affecting businesses. The London Road proposal is likely to cause the most problems in terms of increasing traffic. The increase in traffic will lead to an increase in rat running, along less suitable roads.               140               8%   “The schemes implemented so far are designed to make car travel more difficult and will damage Reading’s reputation (by turning it into an M25 like car park) and drive more and more businesses from the town centre.”   “The proposal for London Road is a disaster, reducing 3 lanes of traffic to 2 would increase congestion, and pollution” “We are concerned the proposed reduction in the number lanes available for cars on London Road will result in the displacement of traffic onto Wokingham Road and also the surrounding residential streets.”
      Existing safety issues       113       6% “I was concerned for my safety due to the lack of adequate crossings for pedestrians as well as car’s speed on roads in central Reading” “Cyclists seem to think they can cycle on any pavement these days, far removed from my youth! Even on wide pavements they pass pedestrians at speed without any warning.”

“The main issue I feel is that car drivers come in huge speed to intimidate cyclists.” “No improvements to Vastern Rd roundabout, or TGI Friday’s roundabout, both of which are very dangerous to pedestrians and cyclists.” “Another issue is bike theft, town bike theft needs to be clamped down on” “I consider myself a reasonably confident cyclist, but do not feel safe or comfortable riding in Reading as there are not enough joined up segregated cycle ways for me to get around easily.” “…people will need to feel safe when walking/cycling due to fears of being attacked or intimidated.”
Existing traffic issues Pollution from traffic.Reading town centre can get gridlocked.London Road, including Cemetery Junction, suffers from congestion. HGVs using Reading as a rat run.Traffic on Shinfield Road.A327 experiences traffic during peak periods, since the mini roundabouts at Elm Road and Whitley Wood Road junctions were replaced with traffic lights.Existing traffic along Bath Road/Castle Hill.Traffic on A33, A4, and A329. 1066% “London road from Cemetery Junction along in front of the hospital it already congested.” “The roads are so busy with traffic now and we’re still in a lockdown.” “As a driver and also user of Bus services I have noticed that traffic congestion is increasing in Reading.” “I cycle every day from Shinfield Road to London Road. These are some of the most congested roads in the area.”
Partial opposition – further developments needed Specific areas mentioned that are unsafe for cyclists e.g. Rivermead, Caversham, Peppard Road, Prospect Street, Oxford Road, Christchurch Road, Castle Hill, Grovelands Road, Vastern Road.Currently unsafe for children to cycle.Bus lanes unsafe for cyclists, as both the buses and taxis that use them do not have any consideration for cyclists. Conflict between cyclists and pedestrians on footways. Lack of crossing facilities in areas such as Forbury, A33, A4, A329, Kidmore Road.Speed of cars making cycling dangerous.Poor lighting in areas, such as the footbridge at the top of Berkeley Avenue/Bath Road.Some pavements are a tripping hazard for pedestrians.Bike theft a problem in the town.Dangerous cyclist behaviour e.g. travelling at speeds, jumping red lights.New cycle lanes along Christchurch Road are being ignored by cars, resulting in collisions at the Kendrick Road junction.Cycle lane at roundabout at Whitely pump has caused driver confusion.Existing cycle lanes ending abruptly are dangerous.Fear of being attacked or intimidated, which prevents people from walking or cycling.
A number of suggestions have been made by respondents, which they feel are needed as part of the proposals. These include: Enforce no parking on cycle lanes to allow for consistent travel.Educate motorists and cyclists – about where the current cycle lanes are and encourage them to use them.Continue with the cycle lanes across side road junctions.Southampton Street proposal at the Oracle roundabout – create a cycle and pedestrian path which crosses the island, rather than directing cyclists around it into and across traffic flow/lanes.Improved crossing pattern at Cemetery Junction for cyclist coming east along the Kings Road bus lane and wanting to continue along Wokingham Road.New cycle lane on Sidmouth street needs to have an onward connection.Bath Road – Look to introduce segregated facilities, such as at Berkeley Avenue and Russell Street.Make all bus stops floating.London Road proposal – have a central bus lane into town with places where it discontinues to allow traffic to turn right.Castle Hill/Bath Road proposal – cycle lane from IDR junction extended to include corner outside the Advantage office, as it is a pinch point at the moment.Exclude bus stops/parking bays from cycleways.Priority cycleway controlled crossings at major junctions. Improve aesthetics of the areas (such as planting).IDR roundabout – need to create a safe route from the top of Wolseley Street, up the slip road (i.e. outside the Advantage Building) and then onto Castle Street.London Road proposals should be changed to on street segregated cycle lanes in both directions.Include a pedestrian crossing where there is currently the traffic island at the Castle Hill end of Coley Avenue, as this is heavily used.
88%5% “The Oracle roundabout needs the road marking treatment that some other roundabouts have had” “I would really like to suggest to make some routes car free and a proper separate cycle lanes with a kerb” [Bath Road/Castle Hill proposals] “Suggest make one lane uphill for bus and cycle use with over a dozen buses per hour this is sensible and one lane each way for other traffic.” “If you’re going to implement the Pell Street to Bridge Street option, you need to consider giving priority at traffic lights to buses and cyclists” “Nature (trees/wildlife) along the route would also improve the enjoyment of cycling.” “Please do not narrow or reduce any current lanes for cars.” “The amount of buildings and street furniture will need to be severely reduced to accommodate the reduction in availability of street space for vehicles.” “It is also important to ensure that cycle paths are not blocked by cars parking on them.” “I would also like to see an improved crossing pattern at Cemetery Junction for cyclist coming east”
“Segregated cycle rather than shared routes always preferred”

“…could potentially increase collision risks between pedestrians and cyclists”
Partial support – separate space needed for pedestrians/buses and cyclists Segregated cycle lanes are better for cyclists and pedestrians, as shared paths can be dangerous.Cyclists do not consider pedestrians on shared paths by travelling at high speeds and not giving warning of them approaching from behind. This causes conflict between the two user groups.Shared paths cause cyclists to think they can cycle on any pavement.Sharing bus and cycle lanes are dangerous as buses are large, taking up the entire lane, and fast.Shared bus and cycle lanes also hold up buses, making them unreliable and behind the timetable.Shared paths can cause difficulties for disabled users.Dedicated lanes for cyclists will encourage more people to cycle. 84%5% “Shared use paths and shared bus lanes are not suitable infrastructure.” “Shared space with buses and taxis etc is dangerous and intimidating for cyclists as the most vulnerable road users.”
“Mixed lanes with buses will not encourage more women, older or disable people to cycle”
“On shared pathways pedestrians are not respected properly.”
Other – additional proposals A number of additional proposals have been suggested by respondents. These include: Build the MRT over Kennet Mouth, as this would increase access to Reading town centre.Build a ‘Third Bridge’. Early release for cyclists at traffic lights.Prevent cars making illegal right turns out of Granby Gardens and going through red lights.Provide funding for bikes to young people in order to support their well-being and develop new behaviours and attitudes to transport.Charge cyclists for riding in Reading and implement a congestion charge for vehicles, like in London.Adjust traffic lights so they can detect cyclists when cars are not around.Restrict cars using streets around schools and colleges.Consider use of tactile cones on road signals.Improved signage.Apart from walking and cycling, Reading needs more facilities to keep people active such as an improved swimming pool, or other indoor sports such as ice skating.CCTV to improve safety along routes.Park and Ride around the edges of Reading.Bus laybys on London Road to help with the flow of traffic.Bring back ReadyBike. Low Traffic Neighbourhood schemes.Cheaper bus fairs for low income households.
Rubbish bins to prevent littering.Ban pavement parking.Create a car share lane, rather than a cycle lane, to reduce the number of single-adult cars.Pedestrianisation of the town centre.
774% “The most needed road change in Reading is a Thames crossing at the end of the A329M to ensure that through traffic doesn’t go through the town centre.” “The council should seriously consider road pricing or some technology-based approach to discourage vehicle use.” “Cameras on traffic lights catching cyclists going through red lights” “…having secure CCTV safety routes for people at night-time can see the cameras and know that the route is monitored for their protection if they travel at night” “Free bus/train shuttle from a park & ride area just outside town” “The public transport infrastructure needs to be more wide ranging, cheaper and reliable than is currently” “An improvement on Shinfield Road would be to install traffic lights at the junction with Cressingham Road” “I frequently used the ReadyBike scheme as it was really convenient to pair with walking and bus travel to work and town” “I think a congestion charge would help to encourage active transport.”
London Road scheme London Road was the proposal mentioned most frequently out of all four proposals. 764% “London Rd is especially an area that I find has significantly too much traffic and encourages speeding or more dangerous driving due to the size of the road.” “Why are you proposing changes to London road which gets choked with traffic, when there is already a bus and cycle lane directly into town via kings road, and cycle paths on London road. “London Road: west of Cemetery Junction, generally good proposals.” “London Road scheme – needs markings to guide cyclists moving westwards from Wokingham Road.”
General support These comments were in general support of the proposal(s), but mostly provided no further explanation as to the reasons why 634% “These schemes seem really good to get people into the town centre, thank you. Just want more of them!” “I am fully in support of any proposals that will attempt to change car traffic into public transit or car/walking space.” “Fantastic initiatives and suggestions.” “It would be great for all 4 of these proposals to be enacted”
Walking/cycling issue – misuse/speeding Cyclists jumping red lights.Cyclists going straight through junctions.Cyclists double breasted on shared paths, forcing pedestrians onto the verges/road.Cyclists using the pavement, in some cases even when there is a cycle lane. Cyclists not wearing the correct clothing or having all the equipment in order to be safe, e.g. helmets, bright coloured clothing, lights. Cyclists travelling at speeds along shared pavements is a safety concern. 563% “There is an increasing problem of cyclists, especially powered bikes ridden by delivery people, and scooter riders speeding on pavements causing real hazards to pedestrians.” “9 times out of 10 cyclists don’t even stop at red lights or obey them” “It is my personal experience that even where cycle lanes are present the pavement is the preferred option for far too many cyclists.” “Cycles are inconsiderate to other road users and are a danger to themselves along with other road users.”
Walking/cycling issue – current provision is not being used Very few cyclists using the cycle lane on Sidmouth Street.Cycling tends to only take place in good weather, and therefore when the weather is bad, or too hot, the cycle lanes are empty. The current cycle lanes are very rarely used, and these proposals will not change that. 563% “Sidmouth Street cycle lane was utterly pointless as virtually no cyclists use that route” “Cycling traffic evaporated once the weather changed and it became hot or cold. It literally disappeared.” “In the past 5 months since end of September cycle lanes are virtually empty with a handful of cycles per hour.” “Once the current facilities are being used it would make sense to look at improving the network”

“Cycling lanes and routes created last are hardly used and have made the situation on the roads significantly worse”
Opposition – value for money Proposals are a waste of money.Money is better spent elsewhere. 553% “What a waste of money” “…a waste of money to spend it on cycle paths and segregated routes taking up important road space that will negatively impact vehicular traffic flow by slowing it down and causing congestion.” “The money would be better spent on tidying up the town and maintaining roads…” “A better use of budget would be to educate the general public about where the current cycle lanes etc”