GCP reveals plans to make cycling and walking easier during pandemic

Bicycle leaning against a wall in Cambridge

The Greater Cambridge Partnership has revealed how it will support efforts to make it safer for people to cycle and walk around Greater Cambridge during the Covid-19 pandemic.

The plans include extensions to the pedestrianised zone in the city centre to make it easier for people to get around while social distancing measures are in place, as well as changes in the wider city to support more people to walk and cycle by creating low traffic streets.

The proposals published in the GCP’s City Access report yesterday [Tuesday] have been developed with Cambridgeshire County Council, and will be implemented as quickly as possible on an initial experimental basis, giving people the chance to try them and provide feedback.

The GCP is talking to businesses about how it can support them through the recovery period, building on the investment plans announced in February. This includes looking at additional cycle parking, improving access to ebikes and cargo bikes, and working with businesses to develop a pilot for deliveries and freight in the city centre.

The report also includes the GCP’s draft response to the Greater Cambridge Citizens’ Assembly, which met last year to consider how to reduce traffic, improve air quality and deliver better public transport. The response sets out how the GCP will build on the assembly’s recommendations in the medium-to-long term to improve and increase sustainable travel across Greater Cambridge.

Cllr Aidan Van de Weyer, Chair of the Greater Cambridge Partnership, said: “Walking and cycling will play a vital role in our economic recovery from Covid-19 and these plans will make it easier and safer for people to get around the city on foot or on their bicycle.

“These measures, an excellent example of partnership work, will not only support people and businesses in the short-term, but provide a strong foundation for our work to create a step-change in the way people travel to create a more sustainable Greater Cambridge.

“Building on the recommendations of the Citizens Assembly, it's important that we continue to significantly improve public transport services to offer people a good option for their journeys in the longer-term so we can tackle congestion and improve air quality.”

Cllr Roger Hickford, Cambridgeshire County Council’s representative on the GCP’s Executive Board, said: “These measures are a great safe way to encourage more walking and cycling in the city centre. It also complements the County Council’s announcement last week about the cycling and walking changes which are underway across Cambridgeshire.

“As the nation gets ready for a return to a ‘new normal’ due to Covid-19, the Government has advised members of the public to walk and cycle where that is feasible. The aim is to make walking and cycling for short trips as easy as possible.”

The proposals follow the publication of a report last week by the GCP, in collaboration with the county and city councils, which showed the impact the Covid-19 pandemic has had on people's travel habits and air quality.

The figures show that lockdown measures announced by the Government led to a 56% reduction in the average daily number of motor vehicles in the city and an improvement in air quality.

The data will be recorded and published once a month throughout the pandemic so local authorities can continue to respond and react to make it easier for people to travel around while social distancing measures are in place.

The papers for the GCP’s Joint Assembly meeting can be found on the Cambridgeshire County Council website.

List of measures

Silver Street

Extend prohibition of general vehicular traffic to 24 /7 for period in which traffic remains low

Historic Centre and Burleigh/Fitzroy pedestrian zones

Extend core pedestrian zone hours from 6 hours to 7 or 8 hours per day (10:00 to 17:00 or 18:00)

St Andrews Street / Hobson Street area

Prohibit motor vehicles except hackney carriages and buses between 10:00 and 18:00

Maids Causeway / Victoria Avenue, Cambridge

Prohibit through traffic movements between Newmarket Road and Mitcham’s Corner Avenue except for buses

Grange Road

Prohibit through traffic movements between Barton Road and Madingley Road

Luard Road

Prohibit through traffic movements between Hills Road and Long Road

Storey’s Way

Prohibit through traffic movements between Huntingdon road and Madingley Road

Newtown Area

Prohibit through traffic movements between Hills Road and Trumpington Road/Lensfield Road

Nightingale Avenue (subject to reopening of Fendon Road roundabout)

Prohibit through traffic movements between Queen Edith’s Way and Hills Road

Carlyle Road, Cambridge

Prohibit through movements between Chesterton Road and Victoria Road

To read more information, click here.

The Greater Cambridge Partnership is the local delivery body for a City Deal with central Government, bringing powers and investment, worth up to £1 billion over 15 years, to vital improvements in infrastructure, supporting and accelerating the creation of 44,000 new jobs, 33,500 new homes and 420 additional apprenticeships.

Greater Cambridge Partnership