‘It’s time to be bolder and braver in or­der to catch up with other cities’

The Peterborough Evening Telegraph - - SPECIAL REPORT - MATTHEW BAR­BER Sus­trans

Be bold and brave is the call to Peter­bor­ough City Council by Matthew Bar­ber, head of part­ner­ships (Mid­lands and East) at sus­tain­able trans­port char­ity Sus­trans.

A vo­cal critic of the Bridge Street cy­cling ban, Matthew be­lieves Peter­bor­ough has been over­taken when it comes to hav­ing the best cy­cling in­fra­struc­ture. He said: “Many towns and cities would love to have the net­work that we’ve got. But, if we’re try­ing to cre­ate an en­vi­ron­ment cap­i­tal then we are re­ly­ing too much on our ex­ist­ing, age­ing net­work, and we are get­ting over­taken by other cities who are braver and bolder when it comes to putting down re­ally high qual­ity cy­cling in­fra­struc­ture.”

More than any­thing, Matthew wants to see seg­re­gated cy­cle lanes put in, rather than the

painted lanes on roads such as Oun­dle Road and Park Road. These lanes would have kerb­ing on ei­ther side so cars could not come across into them and would make peo­ple less fear­ful about get­ting on their bikes. “Not­ting­ham have a very good seg­re­gated scheme, as does Le­ices­ter. Chelms­ford are look­ing to put a seg­re­gated scheme in,” he said.

“Whether it’s a psy­cho­log­i­cal bar­rier, I think there’s a dis­cus­sion to have around funding, but cer­tainly there are bar­ri­ers as to why Peter­bor­ough is not quite will­ing to make that step to say ‘ac­tu­ally, we’re go­ing to go for the best prac­tice, high qual­ity piece of in­fra­struc­ture’.”

Matthew ac­cepts that the city council may not have much money to spend on cy­cling, but he feels more could be done to make it eas­ier for peo­ple to travel into the city cen­tre. “Cres­cent Bridge is a big prob­lem. Town Bridge just doesn’t work for any­one at the mo­ment,” he said.

As for Bridge Street, he wants a trial where the ban is lifted, or al­ter­na­tively an “in­cred­i­bly high qual­ity route” cre­ated be­hind WH Smith and through the Bar­clays al­ley­way into Cathe­dral Square. Matthew be­lieves Peter­bor­ough has a “rea­son­able” bus ser­vice but suf­fers slightly be­cause there is only one op­er­a­tor in Stage­coach. He also thinks there is the po­ten­tial to look at dis­cour­ag­ing the use of cars, whether that be through the re­al­lo­ca­tion of road space, re­duc­ing park­ing spa­ces or in­creas­ing park­ing costs.” But, re­turn­ing to cy­cling, which Matthew says is stag­nat­ing in pop­u­lar­ity in Peter­bor­ough, there is the feel­ing at Sus­trans that there is plenty more to do. He added: “Peter­bor­ough could be a shin­ing light when it comes to cy­cling. We have all the right el­e­ments here. We need just need re­ally strong lead­er­ship to make that hap­pen.”

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from UK

© PressReader. All rights reserved.