The leader of Chelmsford City Council has thrown his support behind a bid to create safe cycling routes to and from the city centre.
Essex County Council has now submitted an ambitious bid for further government emergency active travel funding to the Department for Transport (DfT) that will pay for cycle routes across major urbans areas across Essex, including two in Chelmsford.
The proposal is to create two segregated cycle routes: an east to city centre corridor from Chelmer Village and a west to south-east corridor from the railway station to meet an established cycle route to Baddow. Both of these routes will involve the adoption of 20mph speed limits and low traffic neighbourhoods.
It is among five schemes in Wickford, Braintree, Brentwood, Chelmsford and Colchester, which will now be considered by the DfT, with results announced later in the Autumn.
The proposals build on recent experience gained from the emergency Safer, Greener, Healthier measures set up in several towns across Essex, the previously published Essex Cycling Strategy and existing planning already underway.
Councillor Stephen Robinson, leader of Chelmsford City Council, said: “It is something I and Chelmsford Council have always supported that we need strategic cycle routes which are safe and secure and well signed and which will encourage people to cycle.”
The schemes submitted are required by DfT to reallocate road space to active travel measures, such as cycling and walking, to ensure better access to town centres, places of employment and other key areas.
Over the longer-term, the intention is to improve public health and reduce congestion and pollution, by providing more opportunity to use more sustainable forms of travel where possible.
In Wickford the scheme will create a cycling and walking route from Nevendon Road to the railway station.
In Brentwood the proposal is to create a segregated cycle route connecting commuters to Shenfield railway station and Brentwood town centre.
In Colchester the proposal is to create two segregated cycle routes in Colchester, going north to south from Mile End Road to Butt Road, and a west to east corridor starting at the junction of Spring Lane and ending on East Hill.
Cllr Kevin Bentley, deputy leader of Essex County Council and cabinet member for infrastructure, said: “Working in partnership with local councils, we evaluated nearly 20 proposals against DfT criteria and the strongest five have been shortlisted and included in one overall bid. We have identified a transformative set of active travel schemes that we want to take forward in partnership.
“We believe these proposals meet the government requirement to put forward schemes that could be transformative for residents. We want the schemes to encourage people to rethink how they make their local journeys in Safer, Greener, and Healthier ways, whether on foot or by bike, instead of opting for the car.
“Travel choice remains critical, but we want to ensure there are real options for the people of Essex, made easier by great infrastructure and cycle and walking-friendly routes, to help not only themselves and their families, but our communities and our environment.”