Temporary cycling infrastructure promised for Wales
Lee Waters, Welsh Government’s Deputy Minister for the Economy and Transport, has issued a call to action and the promise of funding to Welsh local authorities. If the call is answered we could see temporary infrastructure for walking and cycling being introduced at speed across Wales.
In a statement published today, Lee Waters said "For the sake of the air we all breathe, the world’s climate and public health, we need to try and lock in this shift and avoid returning to pre-Covid travel patterns."
The minister also highlighted the need to create an environment where people can continue to walk and cycle safely as we come out of lockdown. Warning if we do not allocate more space, and people are no longer able to spread out onto the roads as they can do now with the low levels of traffic, socially distancing will prove impossible on the existing narrow pavements and shared paths.
He also addressed the issue of a likely reluctance to use public transport when we begin to return to our places of work and when schools reopen. As walking and cycling could be a realistic option for many of shorter journeys if cyclists are given safe, segregated cycle lanes and motor traffic is restricted.
Cycling UK and other organisations wrote to the Deputy Minister asking for a ‘prompt and public encouragement of local authorities to support these initiatives’.
It’s fantastic to see Welsh Government responding so quickly and agreeing to fund the ‘low cost, high impact’ temporary active travel infrastructure that is so badly needed.
Gwenda Owen, Cycling UK engagement officer in Wales
Gwenda Owen, Cycling UK’s Engagement Officer in Wales said "It’s fantastic to see the Welsh Government responding so quickly and agreeing to fund the low cost, high impact temporary active travel infrastructure that is so badly needed. With Lee’s commitment to active and sustainable travel it comes as no surprise.
"We now need local authorities across Wales, in rural and urban locations, to grasp the opportunity and act quickly to transform our streets into places through which people can move safely, whilst giving others space. We want to keep our towns and cities moving in way that’s better for all of us.”
Given this promise of funding, Local Authorities have the opportunity to try out initiatives that are quick and easy. If they do so, they will allow those who have returned or newly taken up walking and cycling to continue to do so.
Cycling UK members and supporters have already been calling on local authorities to act quickly to allow them the space to walk and cycle to work and enjoy their daily exercise.
They have been asking for pavements to be widened by taking away car parking space, for pop-up cycle lanes using cones along the busy routes and for measures to restrict motor traffic on residential streets.
Local authorities have until 21 May to submit their ideas to Welsh Government and Cycling UK members and supporters have a crucial role in helping Councillors to identify places where temporary infrastructure will allow space safe social distancing whilst walking and cycling.