Cyclists call for action as RBWM active travel consultation nears end

Time is running out to have a say on active travel measures in the Royal Borough as a consultation ends this weekend.

As part of a drive to start a ‘big conversation’ around sustainable travel, the council asked residents to share their ideas on how to encourage people away from cars.

The consultation launched in August and will run until Sunday in order to help shape a document known as the Local Cycling and Walking Infrastructure Plan (LCWIP).

People were asked about themes including cycle routes, pedestrian spaces and school streets.

Cyclist John Adamson described cycling in the area as ‘generally unpleasant’, adding it was some way behind similar authorities.

He told the Advertiser this was a chance for the council to ‘embrace the opportunity’ as it spends £335,000 of central Government cash provided specifically for active travel.

John said: “There is a lot of work to do to bring the borough in line with many other local authorities – we are probably about 10 years behind most other areas.

“One of the excuses given when action groups request new measures for cycling is: ‘we have got no money’. There is not really an excuse now. This is a massive opportunity to do an awful lot.”

John said that areas needing to be addressed are better integration of cycle networks, more segregated cycle lanes, and improved road surfaces.

He also called for a dedicated active travel officer to be employed at the council.

John added: “I am very happy that this big conversation is happening. A lot of issues come from integrated car dependency. But with the right drive and political will, we could be a great cycling borough.

“It is a once in a lifetime opportunity for some worthwhile investment at no cost to the borough.”

Alan Williams is a mechanic at Maidenhead Cycle Hub, a charity helping to get people on two wheels.

He, too, called for better maintaining of roads and linking up of networks, citing the A308 as a dangerous route for cyclists.

“If you want to encourage people to use their bikes then the roads need to be suitable,” he said.

A previous consultation launched by the council earlier this year saw residents strongly oppose some proposed schemes, including a 'bus gate' in Shoppenhangers Road and low traffic neighbourhoods in Windsor

This led opposition councillors to plea for a 'proper consultation' this time around, which has also involved drop-in sessions at various libraries across the borough for people to give their views.

The last of these was held yesterday (Wednesday) at Maidenhead Library in St Ives Road. 

The council’s lead member for transport, Councillor Gerry Clark (Con, Bisham and Cookham), said the borough has an ‘exceptional record’ of fixing potholes, adding that its plan will ‘do its upmost’ to improve active travel.

“I do not accept that we are not doing the best job to identify where we can improve facilities for cycling and walking,” he said. “I am just delighted that this work has been done.

“This is not a game – we are making every effort to consult with residents and we are doing everything that we can.”

Cllr Clark added that all proposed schemes would need to undergo consultation, with some being laid out over the next ‘couple of months’.

Elsewhere in the town, the council has undertaken work on Maidenhead railway station forecourt as it aims to improve the area for pedestrians amid a predicted increase in travellers.

Read the latest on when the works are due to completed, and what Advertiser readers think of them, here

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