The £1m announced to improve Seven Dials for people on foot and on bikes on Monday, as part of the successful West of England Partnership’s (Bath, Bristol, South Glos and North Somerset councils) bid for Government Cycle City funding is not the only capital funding to be have been allocated to cycling in Bath and North East Somerset during the last two years.
Starting in 2011 £500k was allocated to implement 20 mph speed limits as the default in residential areas, which turned out to be one of the commitments asked for in the Times in its “Cities fit for cycling” campaign, so although not directly targeted at cyclists it does help safety of all road users, including people on bikes.
This was followed by £500k for cycling infrastructure in this financial year and it is very likely that this will be followed by a further £500k for 2014/15
A successful bid by the West of England Partnership to the Coalition Government”s Local Sustainable Transport Fund (LSTF) in 2011, led to a £3.1m investment in B&NES. This funding has been used to create the off road cycle path on the globe straight to Bath Spa University, a toucan crossing at the Globe pub and a ramp from the A4 to the Bath/Bristol railway path. This money will also go towards partially funding a bridge over the river at Batheaston to enable people on bikes and on foot to link across the river with the National Cycle Network Route 4 (NCN4).
In addition the funding is being used to extend the “Boris” Bike hire scheme in the city, a new pedestrian link to the Two Tunnels Scheme at Claude Avenue, grants to employers, such as the RUH, to provide cycling facilities for staff and a new TravelWest web site to promote “Better By Bike” activities.
In addition, through getting Sky Ride to the city a connection was made with British Cycling that resulted in funding of £600k from British Cycling for the off road cycle circuit at Odd Down.
Add to this the £400k that the Council has contributed to the Two Tunnels Project and the extra £200k successful bid to complete the northern link of the Two Tunnels to the Bath/Bristol Railway path and we have reached the target of £10 per head of population capital expenditure on cycling, for each of the 4 years of this Council administration. This is the target recommended in the All Party Parliamentary Report on cycling and the recommendation in the cycling motion to this September’s Lib Dem Conference. Now all we have to do is deliver the projects for which funding has been obtained.
The improvements will bring the us closer to making Bath a cycling city. What is needed now to really embed improvements for local people choosing to ride bikes and those visiting the city on bikes, is a Cycling strategy for the next 10/20 years as part of the overall Transport Strategy that the Council is about to embark on.