Biggleswade councillor wants to know where YOU think cycle lanes should go

'I would love to hear from people, what they want to see, and what would make them get onto their bike'

By Joanna Gravett
Thursday, 16th December 2021, 1:04 pm

A Biggleswade politician is appealing for residents to suggest cycle lane locations in a bid to reduce the town's carbon footprint.

Central Bedfordshire Councillor, Dr Hayley Whitaker, of Biggleswade South, is hoping the public will get in touch with suggestions that would persuade them to ditch their car and cycle to work or for leisure.

Cllr Whitaker explained that in order to secure government funding for such features, CBC needs to "produce plans that will have dedicated cycle lanes".

Image: Getty.

She wrote on social media: "CBC is particularly keen to promote a dramatic shift away from the car and the government has funds available for local authorities under the badge of the ‘Active Travel Scheme’. These schemes provide infrastructure to promote increased walking and cycling. (Improving bus services does not fall under this scheme.)

"In order to apply for and receive government funding, CBC needs plans that will have dedicated cycle lanes – something that was missing from the London Road schemes.

"It also needs to be seen to be a ‘flagship scheme’ on a major road, as this is likely to have the biggest impact on shifting people away from cars."

Due to the pandemic, a mixed pedestrian and cycle lane was introduced on London Road to help people exercise and travel around the town.

However, Cllr Whitaker claims that it is not the best location or idea.

She told the Chronicle: "There are lots of reasons - it's a mixed pedestrian and cycle lane which makes pedestrians worried about cyclists coming past too fast, while cyclists feel impeded by pedestrians.

"You can't have proper cycle lane on London Road, really - it's too narrow.

"Although London Road is wide, and has broad verges, the impressive trees along its length makes it very difficult to use for a dedicated cycle lane scheme without disturbing the roots and putting the trees in jeopardy - and no one wants that.

"It's a busy road with plenty of traffic - it's not the nicest road to cycle on if you are not a confident cyclist.

"There are lots of reasons why it doesn't quite work."

Cllr Whitaker has previously asked CBC officers to reinstate London Road to "its former glory" and consider installing cycle lanes along Dells Lane, joining up the existing routes long Holme Court Avenue with the town centre.

She would now like to know where you think dedicated cycle lanes should go.

Cllr Whitaker said: "One idea is possibly Saxon Drive, if you want a fast route that's not shared with pedestrians, and it would tie Kings Reach to the retail park.

"Biggleswade is an old town with narrower roads, so the idea is to ask people where they want to see cycle lanes, can they come up with a compromise?

"I would love to hear from people, what they want to see, and what would make them get onto their bike."

You can email [email protected] or call 0300 300 8569.

She concluded: "CBC recognise that a network of dedicated cycle lanes is needed if it is to truly make an impact, much like the Netherlands. They are also keen to get the money from the government while it’s on offer as it seems likely in the future that local councils may have to foot the bill themselves."

A Central Bedfordshire Council spokeswoman, said: “The advisory cycle lanes on London Road are a permanent feature arrangement. We are committed to improving the facilities for both pedestrians and cyclists using London Road and work is ongoing to achieve this.”