Wokingham Borough Council will reconsider plans for a Woodley to Reading cycle link following feedback from residents. Last month, the council asked residents for their views on a proposed cycle link intended to improve the cycling and walking connection between Woodley town centre and the Reading borough boundary at Palmer Park. Early analysis of the feedback shows that overall the design was not popular, leading the council to go back to the drawing board and rethink the draft plan based on resident feedback.
The proposed cycleway is part of the Government’s Active Travel Fund, which aims to improve cycling and walking across the country. Because the proposal is grant funded, the design must meet very specific technical compliance requirements.
In 2021, the council asked residents about three potential options to improve cycling in the borough. Using resident feedback, the council then created detailed designs for the proposed Woodley to Reading cycle link.
The survey earlier this year (24 January to 21 February) asked for views on the detailed designs. Over half of the people who took the survey liked something about the proposal, including that it would make it safer and more attractive for cyclists, reduce motor vehicle speeds and make it safer for pedestrians in the area. However, respondents also thought it might create traffic congestion, make it harder to reach their destinations and that it would give too much priority to cyclists and pedestrians.
Feedback on the proposed designs was strongly against converting Woodlands Avenue between Howth Drive and Lytham Road to a one-way street to allow for a two-way cycle lane, whereas feedback on reducing the speed limit to 20mph on Woodlands Avenue, Palmerston Road and Anderson Avenue was split.
The council will now look closely at the consultation results and look to revise the proposal. Residents will be consulted on a new design in the coming months.
Cllr Pauline Jorgensen, executive member for highways said: “In 2021, residents told us they want to see segregated cycleways because these would make them feel safer to travel around the area on their bikes, with buggies, wheelchairs and on foot. Our highways design team came up with a proposal that would allow a segregated cycleway to fit on the existing roadway.
“There are always trade-offs when you are trying to retrofit existing roads, and in this case, residents clearly don’t support some of the trade-offs in this design.
“Residents gave us their views and we will listen. The design team will now look in detail at the feedback and revise the proposal. When they are ready with another option, we will go back to residents and get their views again.
“We need to find ways to make it easier to cycle, walk and wheel around our communities – not only is it better for our health, but it reduces congestion and is better for the environment. People aren’t going to get out of their cars until we give them a safe space to walk and cycle. That is what we are trying to do.”
More from Wokingham Borough Council
Stay connected to the communities around you. Enjoy the latest on the Covid-19 pandemic, general news, updates and highlights straight in your inbox. Subscribe to our Wokingham Borough Connect newsletters now.