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Key Bury St Edmunds roads to be adapted to improve walking and cycling as lockdown eased

A council has unveiled planned changes to key roads in Bury St Edmunds to improve walking and cycling as the coronavirus lockdown is eased.

Suffolk County Council has received £337,000 from the Government to make walking and cycling 'easier and safer' to avoid over crowding the transport network and maintain social distancing.

Plans include closing off sections of roads to motorised vehicles, widening existing footpaths and cycle lanes, providing temporary footpaths and cycle lanes and changing traffic signal timings to reduce waiting times at puffin and toucan crossings.

Risbygate Street, Bury St Edmunds. Picture by Richard Marsham
Risbygate Street, Bury St Edmunds. Picture by Richard Marsham

The authority is looking for feedback on a number of schemes in Bury St Edmunds and Stowmarket before they are introduced.

They are:

  • Provision of a cycle lane between Compiegne Way and Bury St Edmunds town centre, which links existing cycle facilities, via temporary pop-up cycle lanes.
  • Enhanced cycle facilities along Beeton's Way, Bury St Edmunds - the facilities will also be extended along the entire length of the road including temporary narrowing of side roads and closing some side roads to motorised vehicles to 'reduce conflict' with walking and cycling.
  • A temporary cycle lane installed in Risbygate Street between Parkway roundabout and St Andrew's Street, Bury St Edmunds through the suspension of on street parking and reallocation of road space.
  • The council will close a number of motor vehicle through routes in the Cannon Street area of Bury St Edmunds to support 'active travel and social distancing as many footways in this area are less than 2m wide'.
  • Additional cycle parking in Stowmarket town centre with details to be confirmed.

Cllr Andrew Reid, Suffolk County Council’s cabinet member for highways, transport and rural affairs, said: “People’s travel behaviour has transformed during lockdown as more people turn to walking and cycling for essential journeys and exercise.

"Suffolk is passionate about walking and cycling, so we have a real opportunity here to make our roads and pavements, especially in the built up areas in our county’s towns, safer not just for this unprecedented period, but for the future as well.

"Our aim is to embed active travel - walking and cycling - as part of a long-term habit and reap the associated health, air quality and congestion benefits.

“However, it is crucial that any of the measures we put in place work for the majority of people living on or near the streets concerned.

"We’ve been engaging closely with walking and cycling groups, local communities, and will continue to do so, to make sure accessibility is maintained for businesses, those with mobility issues and the emergency services, and these conversations will help us as we implement our changes.

“Also, it is not just the physical infrastructure on our highway that is going to create safe active travel improvements, it is the soft measures too, which includes updating our cycling maps and marketing campaigns to encourage people to walk and cycle more.

“I am really pleased Suffolk County Council is able to fulfil the Government’s requirements to work at pace to implement these workable schemes in such a short time frame, and I thank officers for all their hard work in making this happen."

To provide feedback on any of the proposed schemes as well as to make recommendations for other locations, email Suffolk County Council at transport.schemes@suffolk.gov.uk

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