Vix Lowthion, Isle of Wight Green Party spokesperson, shares this latest news. Ed
Yesterday was World Bicycle Day, to promote cycling as a simple, affordable, clean and environmental way for us to get around. We have seen increasing numbers of Islanders get on their bikes and enjoy Isle of Wight designated cycletracks during the lockdown period.
But it has been a month since the government instructed councils across the country to allocate road space for both cyclists and pedestrians.
Council’s proposals are not adequate
Today the IW Council have published their plans for ‘Pop Up Lanes’ and rows of plastic barriers in our town centres, which they believe are adequate to provide space for pedestrians and to encourage confidence to get the public supporting our local shops and businesses.
The Council’s proposals are not adequate. Rows of plastic barriers and sandbags will blight our town centres and do nothing to encourage visitors.
People with disabilities – visually impaired and mobility needs – will struggle to navigate the streets safely.
No plans for safer cycle journeys
There are still no published plans for increasing safe access for journeys by cycle in this critical recovery period.
The Government’s statutory guidance for Councils suggests:
“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….some streets could become bike and bus-only while others remain available for motorists. More side streets could be closed to through traffic, to create low-traffic neighbourhoods and reduce rat-running while maintaining access for vehicles.”
£310,000 Emergency Active Travel Fund
The Isle of Wight Council has been granted £310,000 as our part of the government’s £250million Emergency Active Travel Fund. Analysis by the charities Sustrans and Cycling UK suggests that at least 100 temporary measures have been introduced by authorities in areas such as Edinburgh, Glasgow, Cardiff, Newcastle, Sheffield, Liverpool, Leeds, Ipswich, Southampton, Brighton and across London.
But still nothing for cyclists on the Isle of Wight.
Lowthion: Distinct lack of imagination
Vix Lowthion, IW Green Party spokesperson, said,
“It is disappointing to see the Isle of Wight Council have demonstrated a distinct lack of imagination when it comes to redesigning our towns to support active travel. Suspending some street parking and littering our pavements with rows and plastic barriers will make it worse for the public to move around safely, not better.
“They are clearly prioritising car use and traffic flow, above clean, safe streets for us all to enjoy.
“Instead of tokenistic measures like these proposals we should be promoting increased hours of pedestrianisation, cycle lanes to navigate through towns, and retaining the health and economic benefits of reduced vehicle traffic for the months to come.
“Perhaps our Council need our support to give them ideas that they can put into practice. An excellent tool is the Widen My Path Website. I urge Islanders to make suggestions via this site for the council to consider, or ‘agree’ with those already shared, so that we can see some real change on our streets in terms of safety and accessibility as soon as possible.”
Ideas can be submitted via the Widen My Path Website and will be shared with officers and elected councillors in the coming days.