Torbay Council has submitted a bid to the Department for Transport (DfT) to claim funding from the Government’s Emergency Active Travel Fund. This is funding which has been made available to help with the creation of temporary interventions, to create an environment that is safe for both walking and cycling in the Torbay area.
The Emergency Active Travel funding is designated for temporary or experimental schemes which can be aimed at improving facilities for walking and cycling, and for maintaining social distancing and will assist in helping avoid overcrowding on public transport systems as they begin to open up further parts of the economy.
The funding is part of a total of £225 million, which will be allocated to local authorities and will be released in two Tranches. Their bid is part of the first tranche of £45 million, which is due for release during this summer so work can begin at pace on installing temporary or trial measures for walking and cycling.
Cllr Mike Morey, Cabinet Member for Infrastructure, Environment and Culture, Torbay Council, said “I am pleased that Torbay has an opportunity to bid for this funding and that we can look to build upon the high numbers of people that took up walking and cycling as part of their daily exercise during the lockdown. We have a window of opportunity to act now to embed walking and cycling as part of new long-term recreational and commuting habits and reap the associated health, air quality and congestion benefits.
“In June 2019, Torbay Council declared a climate emergency, with the highest emissions coming from road transport. The main purpose of the funding is to promote active travel methods such as cycling and walking as a replacement for journeys previously made by public transport. The initial funding will be for temporary or experimental measures only and will need to take into consideration social distancing guidelines. We are awaiting a further announcement from the government on the bidding process for the remainder of the funding, which is likely to be later in the year”.
Initially, six ‘pop-up’ schemes have been identified within the bid to the Dft, to temporarily relocate some road space to pedestrians and cyclists.
These proposed schemes are as follows:
1. Marine Drive, Paignton – Temporary widening of narrow high footfall footway between Paignton Sea Front and Preston Sea Front to aid social distancing.
2. Torbay Road, Torquay – Temporary widening of narrow high footfall footway which runs beneath the footbridge to aid social distancing.
3. Station Square, Paignton – Closure of one traffic lane to provide extended footway to aid social distancing. This will also serve to act as an experimental layout to test a proposed planned future public realm improvement for this area.
4. Torbay Road, Torquay, footways adjacent to Torre Abbey Sea Front and Meadows – Conversion of existing wide footways to shared footway/cycleways to link into existing cycle provision.
5. Dartmouth Road, Paignton (Adjacent to Waterside precinct) – Temporary arrangement to provide shared footway/cycleway to link to existing cycle provision. This will be temporary until a permanent scheme is implemented.
6. Temporary road closures outside two primary schools – Curledge Street, Paignton and Furzeham, Brixham, operational at school times to allow social distancing and as an experimental scheme.
In addition, the proposals include for continued monitoring of Town Centre locations, and an allowance for further minor targeted actions if social distancing issues are identified as the economy starts to reopen.
All of these measures are aimed at encouraging more people to walk and cycle for both commuting and pleasure in Torbay.
The proposed temporary measures will be operational for a period of up to 18 months duration. During this time traffic will be monitored, and, in consultation with local residents, measures may be amended or removed if deemed ineffective or proposed to be made permanent were considered successful.
Torbay Council are currently awaiting confirmation that their bid has been accepted.
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