Active travel improvements for cycling and walking

How we’re making it safer and easier for you to walk and cycle in Suffolk, including free cycling sessions and vouchers towards the cost of bike repairs.

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What are we doing?

Prime Minister Boris Johnson and Transport Secretary Grant Shapps have announced measures to make walking and cycling safer and easier during the pandemic, to avoid over crowding the transport network.

The aim is to embed active travel as part of a long-term habit and reap the associated health, air quality and congestion benefits.

The measures will be supported by the £250 million emergency active travel fund announced in May and the £2 billion of funding over the next five years announced in February 2020.

Read the Government’s plan - Gear Change: A bold vision for cycling and walking (PDF).

The plans are:

  • Installing ‘pop-up’ cycle facilities with a minimum level of physical separation from other traffic; widening existing cycle lanes.
  • Using cones and barriers: to widen footways along lengths of road, particularly outside shops and transport hubs; to provide more space at bus stops to allow people to queue and socially distance.
  • Introducing pedestrian and cycle zones: restricting access for motor vehicles at certain times (or at all times) to specific streets, or networks of streets, particularly town centres and high streets.
  • Modal filters (also known as filtered permeability); creating quieter routes by stopping motorised through traffic on some roads, using planters or large barriers.
  • Providing additional cycle parking facilities at key locations, such as outside stations and in high streets, to accommodate an increase in cycling. For example, by re-purposing parking bays to accommodate cycle racks.
  • Changing junction designs to accommodate more cyclists
  • Whole-route’ approaches to create corridors for buses, cycles and access only on key routes into town and city centres.

For more information, read our Transport Recovery Plan 2020 (PDF. 1MB).

We will endeavour to answer your questions on our plans to make walking and cycling safer and easier, with the long term aim to embed active travel as part of a long-term habit and reap the associated health, air quality and congestion benefits.

What is active travel?

Active Travel is making journeys on foot or by bicycle, either for the whole trip or in combination with another form of transport for longer distances, such as walking to the bus stop or cycling to the rail station.

Why is active travel important?

Active travel contributes to a number of benefits to individuals and to the wider community. It has been shown that active travel improves:

  • Health and quality of life
  • The environment
  • Congestion
  • Inclusive streets
  • Local businesses
  • Health and quality of life

Building walking or cycling into our daily routines are the most effective ways to increase physical activity, the walk to work or to the shops provides the opportunity. Physical inactivity directly contributes to 1 in 6 deaths in the UK and costs £7.4 billion a year to business and our wider society.

The health benefits of being active include: improved mental health, the prevention of chronic diseases such as coronary heart disease, stroke, type 2 diabetes, osteoporosis, depression, dementia and cancer.

The environment

Protecting and enhancing our natural environment is becoming increasingly important in the face of the global climate emergency. By choosing to walk or cycle rather than drive, people can contribute to improving the environment and tackling the climate emergency.

Air pollution is also a major public health risk and the largest environmental health risk in this country, causing around 40,000 deaths in the UK every year, motorised transport is the largest contributor to poor air quality reducing the number of car trips will make a difference.

Congestion

Those who decide to walk and cycle take up far less space than cars, allowing the movement of a far greater number of people on the network, resulting in less congestion and more reliable journey times for everyone.

Inclusiveness 

The development of active travel infrastructure provides safe, accessible spaces not only for those who choose to walk or cycle, but also users of wheelchairs, mobility scooters, parents with pushchairs etc.

Local businesses

Transport for London (TfL) have found active travel is good for business. Research commissioned by TfL in 2016 found that people walking (£370) spend almost a third more in town centres over the course of a month than car drivers (£283).

Who is encouraged to take up active travel

Active travel can form part of most journeys, whether it is walking to the bus stop or cycling to the train station. It is considered suitable, for those who can, to walk journeys less than 2km in distance and to cycle journeys less than 5km long.

Further reading

Public Health England guidance:

https://assets.publishing.service.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/523460/Working_Together_to_Promote_Active_Travel_A_briefing_for_local_authorities.pdf

Healthy Suffolk ‘How we travel’:

https://www.healthysuffolk.org.uk/jsna/state-of-suffolk-report/sos19-how-we-travel

Explore Kent:

https://explorekent.org/blog/2016/06/08/mean-active-travel/

Active travel: trends, policy and funding:

https://commonslibrary.parliament.uk/research-briefings/cbp-8615/#:~:text=Benefits%20of%20Active%20travel&text=Walking%20and%20cycling%20can%20contribute,high'%20value%20for%20money).

What are the cycle lane wands

Cycle lane wands are commonly used throughout the UK to provide light segregation and to increase driver awareness of the presence of mandatory cycle lanes. They are intended to ensure that drivers do not inadvertently enter the cycle lane, particularly at points where cyclists are most at risk like on the approach to junctions. The wands also help cyclists, particularly new or less confident cyclists, feel more safe and comfortable using the road.

The wands are produced to meet the standards of passive safety needed for items placed in the highway and are used widely across the country and are robust enough to ensure they are not dislodged.

What are Low Traffic Neighbourhoods / Modal Filters

Low Traffic Neighbourhoods cut out rat-running and unnecessary through-traffic to create quieter, safer streets for people to walk and cycle through. Low Traffic Neighbourhoods can be achieved by modal filters which enable pedestrians and cyclists to pass through but prevent motorised vehicles from doing so or bus gates that enable pedestrians, cyclists, buses and taxis to pass through but prevent other through traffic.

Further information about Low Traffic Neighbourhoods can be found here (doc. 1.5MB).

Why are these changes introduced as trials

The government funding for the Emergency Active Travel Fund was provided on condition that significant changes were made to road layouts to provide space for pedestrians and cyclists. The county council and its partners in the districts, borough and town councils needed to act urgently in response to the public health emergency and to reopen the economy safely as we came out of lockdown.

Many of the measures have been delivered on a trial basis so people can provide feedback on the measures having experienced the change. Those that are successful can be made permanent and those that do not work as anticipated can be amended or removed at short notice.

How do these measures help with social distancing

The need to social distance has reduced the capacity of public transport. This could lead to an increase in traffic on the road compared with pre-lockdown levels and those who previously use a bus or train chose to drive instead. We have taken this opportunity to improve the provision of active travel infrastructure to enable people to walk or cycle safely and conveniently.

Furthermore, social distancing rules have meant that many buildings have had to operate at reduced capacity. This has led to people queuing on the pavements outside of these buildings and some businesses in the hospitality industry taking the opportunity to provide outdoor seating. We have had to implement measures that accommodate the extra space people need to social distance outside of buildings.

Implemented walking and cycling schemes

Location

From when

Lowestoft Road, Beccles

Beccles creating a safer easier cycling route along Lowestoft Road providing a link from the east of Beccles to the Ellough Road area and towards the town centre.

3 November 2020

High Road East and West, Felixstowe

Felixstowe, creating a safer and easier cycling route along High Road East and West.

This is a key route across the town linking access to the town centre and to residential areas.

3 November 2020

Lancaster Avenue, Beetons Way and Tollgate Lane, Bury St Edmunds

Creating a safer and easier cycle provision for cyclists – particularly those travelling to the nearby primary and secondary schools. 

Following discussions with local residents in the area, the closure of Lancaster Avenue and the installation of the temporary cycling lanes along Beetons Ways and Tollgate Lane have been paused. Local residents will be contacted in the near future.

There is an issue with rat-running through the residential estate to avoid the Tollgate junction / lights which needs to be addressed, as well as the need to create more cycling infrastructure to encourage people to walk and cycle for their shorter journeys.

To be confirmed

Northgate Street and Mustow Street, Bury St Edmunds 

Improving the provision for cyclists by changing the junction layout at Northgate Street and Mustow Street.

Some of the road space will be relocated to cyclists by a lightly segregated mandatory cycle lane which will stretch back past the junction with Looms Lane.

Unfortunately, the work due to take place on Northgate Street and Mustow Street in Bury St Edmunds to install temporary cycle lanes is now being postponed.

When delivering schemes, it is essential that Suffolk Highways’ contractors adhere to health and safety procedures to ensure the safety of their workforce and the travelling public when working on the highway. With this in mind, Suffolk Highways needs to postpone the works to put additional safety measures in place.

The work will be completed as soon as it is safe to do so. (updated 29 September 2020).

To be confirmed

Risbygate Street, Bury St Edmunds 

Improving the cycle provision on Risbygate Street by introducing a lightly segregated mandatory cycle lane on the north side of the road from its junction with Parkway to its junction with St Andrews Street (North).

These improvements will form part of a corridor-based approach which will ultimately see improvements on the key east-west corridor from Newmarket Road, through Risbygate Street and Brentgovel Street and onto Looms Lane where it will join improvements planned on Northgate Street.

Download leaflet sent to residents in Bury St Edmunds outlining the plans for the town’s cycle lanes.

24 September 2020

Hamilton Road, Felixstowe

Creating a safer space free of motorised traffic to shop and sit outside to eat, drink and relax.

26 August 2020

Market Row to New Market, Beccles

Creating a safer and easier route for cycling and walking by removing motorised through traffic from the shopping area.

The 2 disabled parking places outside of the Co-op have been retained and there is ample parking nearby.

31 July 2020

Bixley Road/Heath Road, Ipswich

Creating a safer and easier cycling route by installing temporary cycle lanes which reallocates road space away from motorised vehicles.

This provides a missing link on the outer ring road of Ipswich, linking in with Colchester Road and Valley Road.

10 July 2020

Colchester Road/Valley Road, Ipswich

Creating a safer and easier cycling route around the northern side of Ipswich by reallocating road space away from motorised vehicles.

This is a key route to access Ipswich town centre, as well as other locations like the hospital.

The route has been identified through Suffolk County Council’s work on a Local Cycling and Walking Infrastructure Plan (LCWIP) for Ipswich.

10 July 2020

Westbury Road and Leopold Road, Ipswich

Creating a quieter route for cycling and walking by removing motorised through traffic.

These measures are being implemented to improve the environment for residents and to support walking and cycling.

Feedback from local survey (July 2020)

30 June 2020

Junction of Princes Street with Portman Road and junction of Princes Street with Chalon Street, Ipswich

Creating a quieter route for cycling and walking to the rail station by removing motorised through traffic. The limited waiting parking bays are also suspended.

25 June 2020

Bridge Street slip Road, Ipswich

Bridge Street slip road, Ipswich Creating a quieter route for cycling and walking by removing motorised through traffic from the slip road.

Providing part of a safer walking and cycling route from the south side of Ipswich into the town centre and the waterfront. This location is linked to the Ipswich Waterfront measures.

25 June 2020

Portman Road (South), Ipswich

Installation of a road closure to motorised vehicles at the junction with Princes Street.

Suspension of on street limited waiting parking to provide pop-up lightly segregated cycle lanes. This will provide a safer walking and cycling route and remove through traffic.

25 June 2020

Wellesley Road Bridge, Ipswich

Creating a quieter route for cycling and walking by removing motorised through traffic at the bridge, on this part of the hospital to town centre route.

The narrow bridge was already one way for motorised vehicles. This location is linked to Milner Street (below) measure.

4 June 2020

Milner Street, Ipswich

Creating a quieter route for cycling and walking by removing motorised through traffic at the Oxford Road junction.

Part of the key cycling route from the hospital to the town centre. This location is linked to the Wellesley Road Bridge measure above.

27 May 2020

Fuchsia Lane, Ipswich

Creating a quieter route for cycling and walking by removing motorised through traffic at the rail bridge.

The narrow bridge does not have a footpath. This intervention creates a more attractive route for walking and cycling between the residential areas the high school and the hospital.

22 May 2020

Ipswich Waterfront between Custom House and Coprolite Street

Creating a quieter route for cycling and walking by removing motorised through traffic and removing the parking bays.

A key east / west route for walkers and cyclists from south east Ipswich to the rail station, avoiding the busy gyratory. This location is linked to the Bridge Street slip road measure.

29 April 2020

These are temporary changes, put in place for a 6 month trial period.

However, Central Government has asked that evaluation is included during these emergency interventions so that authorities can make temporary measures permanent where possible, enabling a long-term shift to active travel as the economy moves “from restart to recovery”.

We know in Suffolk many residents have embraced walking and cycling during the pandemic. That means we have a real opportunity here to make our roads and pavements, especially in the built-up areas in our county’s towns, safer not just for this unprecedented period, but for the future as well.

We are keen to hear from you before decisions are made on any permanent changes.

How to have your say

Download the summary consultation document (PDF, 477KB).

If you would prefer to fill in a hard copy version of a survey please contact us via email: transport.schemes@suffolk.gov.uk or call us on: 0345 606 6171.

Bury St Edmunds: 

Visit smartsurvey.co.uk to provide feedback

Felixstowe:

Visit smartsurvey.co.uk to provide feedback

Ipswich and Beecles:

Visit smartsurvey.co.uk to provide feedback.

Once the changes have been in place for a few weeks we will also write to residents in the immediately effected areas to request their feedback and we will publicise the survey widely to maximise the opportunity for a wider community response. We will also include notices with a QR code on display at each of the schemes for easy access to the survey.

What happens next?

After 6 months we will need to decide if these changes will be made permanent. The feedback you’ve given us will help inform Suffolk County Council’s decision on each of the schemes.

PLAIN 50 VOUCHER ADVERTThe Department for Transport’s Fix Your Bike Voucher scheme allows you to receive a £50 voucher towards the cost of repairing a bike.

The first set of vouchers are available from 11.45pm on 28 July 2020 at fixyourbikevoucherscheme.est.org.uk.

Cycle repairers: how to register

The Department for Transport is also registering businesses in England to participate in the Fix Your Bike Voucher Scheme. If you're a mechanic or have a cycle repair business in England and would like to participate in the scheme as a cycle repairer, apply at fixyourbikevoucherscheme.est.org.uk


Free cycling sessions for families

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Free cycling sessions are available for families who would like to cycle more often. This could be to:

  • keep fit
  • commute to work or school
  • go and visit friends

Sessions are based on the National Standards for Cycling, and appropriate content from the Bikeability scheme with our fully qualified National Standard Cyclist Trainers.

Visit suffolkroadsafe.com to find out more.

Cycle maps

If you are not familiar with the routes in and around towns, you can find a set of town maps to help you plan your routes. It's always worth checking for those short cuts which you would not take in a car but can be ideal when walking and cycling. The maps also contain details of local cycle repair shops, cycle parking locations and other useful information. Download maps for free at suffolkonboard.com.

Journey planner

Cycling UK is an organisation with lots of helpful tips and advice to support the UK to cycle. Check out their journey planner. We love this feature!

Walking routes

  • Visit suffolkonboard.com to find walking routes in Suffolk including Bury St Edmunds, Ipswich and Lowestoft
  • Discover rural or leisure walking routes at discoversuffolk.org.uk
  • At Suffolk Steps you can find a collection of local historic walks and trails developed by museums and partners throughout Suffolk. The free walks are designed to help all ages stay active and uncover Suffolk’s hidden history
  • Living Streets is a national charity for everyday walking

Sustrans

Sustrans are a national cycling and walking charity. They have advice on how to check if your bike is ready for the road

Healthy Suffolk

Healthy Suffolk have advice on how to improve your physical and mental health through exercise

Bike security

Crossings

We're reducing the waiting times at some of the crossings to as short a time as possible, so that pedestrians and cyclists can continue their journey without delay.

We want to ensure that you do not have to congregate at crossings and compromise social distancing. Locations selected have been based on those crossings most frequently used. Download a map of locations in Ipswich (PDF, 373KB).

Cycle parking

To help people make cycling part of their commute or daily routine, we've installing more cycle parking in town centres throughout the county:

  • Ipswich Town Centre
  • Stowmarket Town Centre
  • Sudbury Town Centre
  • Bury St Edmunds Town Centre

We’ve also provided funding to Greater Anglia to put in place more cycle parking at their stations across Suffolk. This includes Newmarket, Bury St Edmunds and Ipswich Train Stations.

Following the work of the Cycling Policy Development Panel, a list of potential cycle schemes was built and given an initial sift to determine an approximate cost, potential to attract new cycle trips and value for money. The list is subject to change as new strategic cycle schemes are identified and subject to the evaluation identified in the methodology described. Many of the schemes are at the concept stage and require further assessment, evaluation and study before they can be considered ready for construction, but the list does provide a useful starting point as and when sources of funding become available. The list has already been used to inform decisions relating to the current COVID-19 emergency measures.

Keep up to date via social media

Follow@suffolkcc and @SuffolkSpokes on Twitter or search hashtags:

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