Skip to main content
Search

Active Travel and Sustainable Transport lanes

Your questions answered

We are implementing a series of walking, cycling and bus priority improvements in a bid to help boost levels of active travel and public transport across the borough. Some are being trialled on a temporary basis, others may become permanent changes to the local network depending on how well they operate and the level of support from residents.

The projects have been informed by the Government's own vision for increasing levels of walking and cycling as set out in the "Gear Change" strategy document published at the end of July 2020. This sets out ambitions to seek a step change in cycling and walking in the coming years, which is considered essential to help address some of the most challenging issues that we face as a society including; improving air quality, combatting climate change, improving health and wellbeing, addressing inequalities and tackling traffic congestion. There is a particular emphasis placed on the need to increase health benefits from more physical activity and the longer-term benefits of this to the NHS, and there is also a clear message from the Government that the response to the COVID-19 pandemic represents a once in a generation change to accelerate active travel.

The Government is also developing a Transport Decarbonisation Plan in 2020, where public transport and active travel will be the natural first choice for our daily activities.

These projects directly support actions that are identified within a number of Council strategies and/or policies, which have been formerly adopted by the Council following wide ranging consultation and support. The Council strategies and policies include:

  • Local Transport Plan 2017-2030
  • Local Cycling and Walking Infrastructure Plan 2020
  • Cycling Strategy
  • Local Plan
  • Health and Wellbeing Strategy 2015-2020
  • Cheshire West Place Plan
  • Council Plan 2020-2024
  • Climate Emergency Declaration 2019
  • Low Emission Strategy 2018-2021
  • Walk. Ride. Thrive. Initiative 2020

In 2017, the Government published its first statutory Cycling and Walking Investment Strategy (CWIS). The CWIS set out the Government’s ambition to make cycling and walking the natural choice for all shorter journeys or as part of a longer journey by 2040, setting an aim to double cycling activity.

The projects have been informed by the Government's own vision for increasing levels of walking and cycling as set out in the "Gear Change" strategy document published at the end of July 2020. This sets out ambitions to seek a step change in cycling and walking in the coming years, which is considered essential to help address some of the most challenging issues that we face as a society including; improving air quality, combatting climate change, improving health and wellbeing, addressing inequalities and tackling traffic congestion. There is a particular emphasis placed on the need to increase health benefits from more physical activity and the longer-term benefits of this to the NHS, and there is also a clear message from the Government that the response to the COVID 19 pandemic represents a once in a generation change to accelerate active travel.

The Government is also developing a Transport Decarbonisation Plan in 2020, where public transport and active travel will be the natural first choice for our daily activities.

On 9 May 2020, the Department for Transport announced that pop-up bike lanes with protected space for cycling, wider pavements, safer junctions, and cycle and bus-only corridors will be created in England within weeks as part of a £250 million emergency active travel fund. Fast-tracked statutory guidance was published and effective immediately, telling Councils to reallocate road space for significantly-increased numbers of cyclists and pedestrians with some streets becoming bike and bus-only.

The money available to local authorities has been issued in two tranches:

  • tranche one supports the installation of temporary projects for the COVID-19 pandemic
  • tranche two the creation of longer-term projects

We secured our provisional allocation of £161,000 for the first tranche projects and have indicatively allocated the following sums to the respective schemes. Finalised installation costs are yet to be determined and will be updated in due course.

 Scheme location  Estimated cost (£)
 Capital  
 Grosvenor Bridge 15,000 
 A51 Boughton 13,000 
 A5116 Liverpool Road 27,000 
 A54 Whole Dual carriageway 37,000 
 Road One 22,000 
 Road Two 1,000 
 Dingle Lane/Weaver Street 2,500 
 Contigency 7,500 
 Total 125,000 
 Revenue  
 Monitoring and Training 11,400 
 Evaluation 3,600 
 Design 20,000 
 Total 35,000 

The provisional tranche two allocation for Cheshire West and Chester Council is £644,000. A decision from the Department for Transport is awaited, with delivery of tranche two projects required before April 2021.

The nominated tranche one schemes that have secured funding are:

Chester

A483 Grosvenor Bridge

Enhanced cycling and walking provision; segregating footways over the bridge, cycle segregation on both approaches with highlighted cycle usage on the bridge. This has enhanced access to both the city centre and Chester Business Park on a key commuter corridor.

A51 Boughton Corridor

Convert one lane in each direction into cycle / bus lane from Sandy Lane Gyratory to the Barrs Gyratory. This will support safer cycling and public transport use on a key radial route to city centre.

A5116 Liverpool Road Corridor (Dale Camp to Countess Way)

One lane of dual carriageway segregated for buses and cyclists. This will support safer cycling and public transport use on a key radial route to city centre and providing access to NHS Countess of Chester hospital campus.

Winsford

A54 Dual Carriageway

Woodford Lane to Wharton Roundabout, combination of measures that include; one lane of dual carriageway (Oakmere Road section) segregated for cyclists, creation of shared user path, and improvement of existing segregated footway/cycleway. This will support safer cycling and enable social distancing on main route to town centre, Police HQ, Academy School and FE College.

Road one, Winsford 1-5 Industrial Estate

Wide segregated cycle lanes

Road two, Winsford 1-5 Industrial Estate

Pedestrian and cycle improvements providing connectivity to rail bridge.

Both these schemes will provide safer cycling and support social distancing for access to a major industrial estate employing a workforce of over 5000.

Dingle Lane/Weaver Street

Advance signage and widening of build out to promote cycling and access to Town Park, Winsford town centre and local shopping centres.

The Council made use of evidence collected to inform the preparation of the Local Cycling and Walking Infrastructure Plan and the results of its associated consultation exercise, as a starting point to identify initial ideas for schemes.

This was assisted by feedback from Councillors and officers as well as the ‘Walk. Ride. Thrive’ online mapping exercise which enabled members of the public to nominate their own ideas and locations for potential “quick win” schemes.

The Department for Transport also made available a “'Rapid Cycleway Prioritisation Tool” which was issued to help identify promising locations for new cycleways, complementing local knowledge. The tool provides top ranked new cycleways, providing a list of roads that have high cycling potential and spare lanes, thus strong candidates for reallocation of road space immediately or in the near future to create new cycleways on strategic corridors under the Emergency Active Travel Fund. It is of note that the A51 Boughton, A5116 Liverpool Road, A483 Grosvenor Bridge and A54 corridors are all identified by this tool.

To secure additional value and further contributions to the Climate Emergency Declaration and Low Emission Strategy, where possible to do so, the Council has introduced combined cycle/bus lanes to support public transport operations as a vital component of the future transport strategy.

On 9 May 2020, the Department for Transport announced that pop-up bike lanes with protected space for cycling, wider pavements, safer junctions, and cycle and bus-only corridors will be created in England within weeks with fast-tracked statutory guidance effective immediately, telling Councils to reallocate road space.

Scheme delivery within a matter of weeks is a condition of allocating the funding and failure to deliver the projects on time would have a serious impact on Cheshire West and Chester Council being able to secure further Government funding for walking and cycling schemes in the future.

Some are being trialled on an experimental basis, others may become permanent changes to the local network depending on how well they operate. All the projects will be subject to an effective monitoring and evaluation programme, which will inform future decision making alongside all representations received during the prescribed experimental periods.

Experimental traffic regulation orders are used to trial schemes that may then be made permanent. Authorities may put in place monitoring arrangements and carry out ongoing consultation once the measures are introduced. They contain a six-month period within which objections can be raised and authorities listen to views throughout the trial period before deciding whether to promote permanent operation.

Through ongoing consultation and views expressed throughout the trial period. The Council also has a transport model for the City of Chester that can be used to appraise the initiative alongside intended monitoring surveys including journey times, air quality, modal share with comparisons to pre-scheme data.

The Council is also establishing a sustainable transport taskforce to consider what the opportunities and barriers may be to deliver ambitious inclusive walking, cycling and public transport projects and what can be done to secure positive outcomes.

A proportion of the funding will be used to develop the monitoring and evaluation programme. In addition, a proportion of the funding has been allocated to offer a road safety adult cycle training programme, for which positive feedback is being received from early participants.

This is set out in the Experimental Traffic Regulation Order and includes buses, pedal cycles, private hire vehicles, hackney carriages and solo motorcycles. Other provisions are included for emergency service vehicles, refuse vehicles, postal deliveries alongside some general exemptions.

No. The Experimental Traffic Regulation Order restrictions do not apply to a vehicle waiting in the cycle and bus lane for as long as may be necessary for goods to be loaded onto or unloaded from the vehicle.

At all times.

Yes. There is a core exemption for vehicles crossing the lanes i.e. to access or leave properties and any parking lay-by directly adjacent.

The Council has listened to feedback on the trial cycle and bus lanes in Chester during the pause to their introduction. We have reflected on the views expressed, both positive and negative.

Under the Government's scheme this is very much an experimental process, and we are keen to continue to listen and learn. Residents and road users still have the opportunity to share their views throughout the trial period and are encouraged to send through any comments to transportstrategy@cheshirewestandchester.gov.uk as part of the ongoing consultation exercise. Observations received will help shape future decision making.

We are also establishing a Sustainable Transport Taskforce to consider what the opportunities and barriers may be to deliver ambitious inclusive walking, cycling and public transport projects and what can be done to secure positive outcomes. This independent taskforce will also be asked to assist in the evaluation of the trial measures to inform decision making on their futures.

It is of note that the A51 corridor suffered from significant congestion issues and delay prior to the COVID-19 pandemic and the installation of the cycle/bus lanes. The high levels of traffic on this road lead to the declaration of an Air Quality Management Area which effects the city centre and the wider local environment.

Any changes to road layouts can cause confusion and problems in the short term and it is therefore more appropriate to evaluate such initiatives in a structured manner.

We have significantly increased awareness of the initiative in advance of the lanes becoming operational and introduced additional Park and Ride services together with related promotional offers to encourage their use and support a modal shift to public transport.

On 9 May 2020, the Department for Transport announced that pop-up bike lanes with protected space for cycling, wider pavements, safer junctions, and cycle and bus-only corridors will be created in England within weeks as part of a £250 million emergency active travel fund. Fast-tracked statutory guidance was published and effective immediately, telling Councils to reallocate road space for significantly-increased numbers of cyclists and pedestrians with some streets becoming bike and bus-only.

The money available to local authorities has been issued in two tranches:

    • tranche one supports the installation of temporary projects for the COVID-19 pandemic
    • tranche two the creation of longer-term projects

The Council secured its provisional allocation of £161,000 for the first tranche projects.

The Council has secured complementary funding to improve sections of the canal towpath between Ellesmere Port and Boughton, with construction commencing in Autumn 2020.

While the canal towpath is a valued active travel asset, as demonstrated by the Council's financial investment, it does not fulfil the purpose of all trips. This is because it does not provide a direct route for certain destinations, some stretches are remote leading to worries of personal safety, does not benefit from street lighting for significant parts, is subject to a low cycling speed limit, and its surface is not suitable for all types of cycles, etc. The width of the canal towpath is also constrained at many places and so high volumes of cyclists do create safety conflicts with other users and their enjoyment of the towpaths.

The Council works closely with the business communities in Chester at all times and during the COVID-19 pandemic our activities have been intensified to ensure ongoing support during these unprecedented times and to ensure the safe reopening of the city as businesses emerged from lockdown. The A51 corridor actually suffered from significant congestion issues and delay prior to the Covid-19 pandemic and the installation of cycle/bus lanes. This was a direct consequence of vehicular movements, which manifested in the declaration of an Air Quality Management Area, and was itself detrimental to desirability of the city centre but also to the local environment more widely.

Accordingly, the proposed measures represent a sustainable transport solution in support of economic development, achieved through the encouragement of mode shift rather than a continued reliance upon private car travel which would not address the substantial environmental challenges facing current and future generations.

There is a clear message from Government that the response to the COVID-19 pandemic actually represents a 'once in a generation change' to accelerate active travel. In addition, bus services are now actually returning to 100% of pre-Covid levels in accordance with the latest government advice to operators and local authorities. Importantly, the government has also changed its messaging on the use of public transport and is no longer advising members of the public to avoid such. Accordingly, the timings of the proposed changes accord with the latest government guidance in terms of both active travel and public transport promotion.

These facilities are valued active travel assets, as demonstrated by the Council's investment in such, but they do not fulfil the purpose of all trips. This is because they do not provide a direct route for certain destinations, some stretches are remote leading to worries of personal safety, do not benefit from street lighting for significant parts, are subject to a low cycling speed limit, etc. The width of these facilities is also constrained at many places and so high volumes of cyclists do create safety conflicts with other users and their enjoyment of these routes.

Through ongoing consultation and views expressed throughout the trial period.

The Council also has a transport model for the City of Chester that can be used to appraise the initiative alongside intended monitoring surveys including journey times, air quality, modal share with comparisons to pre-scheme data.

The Council is also establishing a Sustainable Transport Taskforce to consider what the opportunities and barriers may be to deliver ambitious inclusive walking, cycling and public transport projects and what can be done to secure positive outcomes.

Cameras have been installed to monitor and evaluate traffic conditions and journey times. They will not be used to fine people.

Enforcement will be carried out, as on any other road in the borough, in line with our everyday operations.

The Park and Ride services are integral to the Chester Transport Strategy. The Park and Ride is already one of the most effective forms of transport into the city centre. With more dedicated lanes and lower fares, using the Park and Ride rather than a car journey will help to reduce carbon emissions and improve air quality. The fare reductions will operate for three months including the festive period, which is a particularly important time for the city, and in so doing support our businesses.

The Taskforce has been established to consider what the opportunities and barriers may be to deliver ambitious inclusive walking, cycling, public transport and integrated transport projects and what can be done to secure positive outcomes.

This is within the context of our declaration of a Climate Emergency, and a target that was adopted by us for the borough to be carbon neutral by 2045.

The establishment of the Taskforce follows significant levels of opposition received to several sustainable transport schemes during the summer of 2020.

Meetings

Share this page

Terms and conditions Privacy policy Cookies Contact                      

We use cookies

Cheshire West and Chester Council use cookies to ensure that we give you the best experience on our website. If you continue without changing your settings, we'll assume that you are happy to receive all cookies on our website. However, if you would like to, you can change your cookie settings at any time.