To enable safer and greener travel, a protected cycle lane is being proposed on a stretch of Goldington Road, following a £291,000 Active Travel Fund grant from the Department of Transport.
Bedford Borough Council is proposing the cycle lane between the existing traffic lights by Lidl/Waitrose to the junction of Norse Road as this location is most suited to the government criteria.
While welcoming the initiative in general, Cllr Lucy Bywater of the Green Party, said:
“This particular proposal is not unwelcome but it’s far from a priority.
“There are places across the Borough which are far higher priority for increasing decent, safe cycling provision, with cyclists properly protected from the traffic on main roads.”
What is a protected cycle lane?
A protected cycle lane allocates a section of the road for people on bikes, with physical separation to stop motor vehicles entering the space.
There will also be a pavement dedicated for pedestrians.
As part of the process required by the Government, the Council is carrying out a consultation. While there are no houses nearby, the Council is consulting with businesses in the area including Elms Farm Industrial Estate, footpath users, shoppers in the local supermarket shoppers, local cycle groups, and others.
Cllr Charles Royden, Portfolio Holder for Highways said: “This proposed protected cycle way and pedestrian path down Goldington Road will make it easier and safer for more people to travel in a greener and healthier way.
“This road was chosen as it fitted the Government criteria, and this proposal is expected to improve journeys for cyclists while not adversely affecting other road users.
“While timing of the funding bid did not allow us the chance to consult beforehand, we want people to have their say and let us know what they think of this proposal.”
The consultation runs from Monday 4 January to Monday 18 January and can be found on the Council’s website at bedford.gov.uk/ActiveTravel.
Expressing frustration at the location of the proposed cycle way, Cllr Ben Foley said: “Two examples of where provision is much more needed would be other end of Goldington Road much nearer the town centre, and across the railway bridge on Bromham Road.
“Better provision in those places would be much more likely to increase numbers of people cycling.
“After all, the Department for Transport (DfT) guidance to councils was specifically to reallocate road space to encourage more cycling and walking and enable social distancing in busier areas in response to Covid-19.”
The Council is looking to extend this cycle lane further in the near future, but due to the way the funding is distributed this phase must be built first and construction is expected to begin before end of March 2021.