Has money been well spent on cy­cle lanes?

Chance to have your say in coun­cil study

Hinckley Times - - NEWS - KAREN HAMBRIDGE karen.hambridge@trin­i­tymir­ror.com

A STUDY on bike use is planned to gauge whether mil­lions of pounds spent on pro­vid­ing cy­cle lanes has paid off.

Over the last three years Le­ices­ter­shire County Coun­cil has spent al­most £6 mil­lion re­lay­ing pave­ments, in­stalling speed cush­ions and in­tro­duc­ing vehicle weight re­stric­tions on roads around the bor­ough.

The aim of the Hinck­ley Area Project was to im­prove con­nec­tiv­ity and make it eas­ier for peo­ple to walk and cy­cle, help­ing take em­pha­sis off car jour­neys.

How­ever, crit­ics have la­belled the ef­forts a waste of time and money, with the changes hav­ing lit­tle im­pact on traffic con­ges­tion or in­creased pedal power.

A con­sul­ta­tion on the fi­nal el­e­ments of the project - cur­tailed due to lack of Govern­ment fund­ing - in­volved out­lin­ing pro­pos­als to­gether with costs and pri­ori­tis­ing them on the ba­sis of de­liv­er­abil­ity given the time and cash re­straints.

Cy­cle route links for Dean Road and Dean Road West, as well as cy­cle park­ing, were rated as high pri­or­ity given they were within the pre­scribed £800,000 bud­get.

More am­bi­tious schemes, such as im­prov­ing junc­tions at Haw­ley Road and Rugby Road, and Nor­mandy Way and Ashby Road, came bot­tom of the list due to cost and com­plex­ity.

One com­men­ta­tor took is­sue with the im­por­tance placed on the cy­cle en­hance­ments, say­ing: “I do not see as a pri­or­ity the cy­cle im­prove­ments. These are only of ben­e­fit if we can en­cour­age more to cy­cle and de­spite ef­forts in this re­gard that are con­tin­u­ing, there is sim­ply not the up­take or us­age of these in Hinck­ley and Burbage.

“Has there been any au­dit of us­age? I un­der­stand that for all the right rea­sons this is some­thing that is be­ing fo­cused on but res­i­dents see this as a waste of re­sources when we are lim­ited in this re­gard and have more fun­da­men­tal prob­lems.”

Re­spond­ing, a county of­fi­cer said: “Less ex­pe­ri­enced and new cy­clists will ben­e­fit greatly from the pro­posed im­prove­ments, pedes­tri­ans also ben­e­fit­ting from the im­proved foot­ways and cross­ings.

“In Lough­bor­ough where a sim­i­lar net­work has been cre­ated, there has been a recorded 39.8 per cent in­crease in the num­ber of peo­ple cy­cling since 2012, ap­prox­i­mately 1,300 cy­clists.

“It is an­tic­i­pated that mon­i­tor­ing user num­bers will be car­ried out in spring 2018 to as­sess how pedes­trian and cy­cling has changed since the

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