Support road.cc

Like this site? Help us to make it better.

Wider pavements for pedestrians in Bedford are putting cylists at risk, says campaigner

Councillor responds by saying it's impossible to have safe space for cyclists and pedestrians on High Street...

A cycling campaigner in Bedford has told the town’s council that the widening of pavements for pedestrians to enable social distancing during the coronavirus crisis is putting bike riders at risk on the road.

In a statement read out to Bedford Borough Council’s climate change committee, Peter Blakeman from Bedford Cycling Campaign said that the infrastructure “has made it more hazardous rather than safer for travelling,” reports Bedford Today.

“Motorists are raring to get ahead rather than staying behind a cyclist,” he explained. “And traffic is now coming back after the lockdown is eased.”

However, the Liberal Democrat Councillor Charles Royden, who is the council’s portfolio holder for environment, highways and transport, said it was impossible to create safe space for cyclists while also accommodating extra space for pedestrians.

He said: “It’s really important to point out that you can only have a single lane down the High Street with wider pavements if you, unfortunately, don’t have a cycle lane.

“If we were to put a cycle lane in as well, you’d have an even narrower pavement than we have.”

He also insisted that it was “necessary to keep loading bays,” saying: “We don’t want to kill businesses off.

“Some of those businesses depend on the High Street for delivery of goods.”

Councillor Royden also insisted that the council had received less money from the government than some were saying it had.

He said: “It barely scraped over £30,000 when it materialised. It was less than people had been led to believe.

“It’s unhelpful when these sorts of figures are announced because they raise people’s expectations about what might be delivered.”

In fact, figures disclosed today reveal that in total, the government had allocated £607,000 in emergency funding for walking and cycling to the borough, which is home to more than £107,000 people.

The first tranche of funding has been confirmed, with the actual amounts each local authority across England will receive determined by the Department for Transport’s assessment of how ambitious their plans were.

While most councils will receive all – and in many cases more – of the first tranche funding they had been allocated due to the DfT’s perception of the robustness of their plans, some received only 75 per cent, 50 per cent or, in three cases, just 25 per cent of the sum set aside.

Bedford, along with Blackpool and Rutland, was one of those three and receives £30,250 in first tranche funding instead of the £121,000 it was initially allocated.

Simon joined road.cc as news editor in 2009 and is now the site’s community editor, acting as a link between the team producing the content and our readers. A law and languages graduate, published translator and former retail analyst, he has reported on issues as diverse as cycling-related court cases, anti-doping investigations, the latest developments in the bike industry and the sport’s biggest races. Now back in London full-time after 15 years living in Oxford and Cambridge, he loves cycling along the Thames but misses having his former riding buddy, Elodie the miniature schnauzer, in the basket in front of him.

Add new comment

11 comments

Avatar
eburtthebike | 3 years ago
2 likes

I wonder if Councillor Charles Royden has been able to work out why they only got 25% of the funds they wanted?

Avatar
Cargobike | 3 years ago
4 likes

As ever with councillors who want to drive everywhere and are too afraid to actually deal with the real problem the simplest solution is missed once again. Bedford, like so many towns and cities wrestling with this problem fail to do the easiest thing and make situations far worse for everyone.

If you really want to make everyone safer from Covid-19 and pollution, while ensuring that retail space has room for everyone to move around ban the motorists from the area while the shops are open. That still gives ample opportunity for deliveries to be made at the start and end of the working day.

Motorists don't need to be able to park at the store front, perhaps with the exception of blue badge holders, but anyone sensible could facilitate limited parking for genuine blue badge holders.

The biggest problem in urban centres is that the powers that be are motorists too, so see everything from that point of view and of course the vast majority of pedestrians got to the town centres by vehicles in the first place.

Then again, once the second wave has ripped through the economy later in the year there won't be any reason to go into town and city centres anymore. Retail and leisure opportunities are going to be decimated over the next 12 months. Riding a bike might be the only way many people will be able to afford to move around by then.

 

Avatar
David9694 | 3 years ago
2 likes

"We must have cars in the town centre or the shops will die." You've had cars there for years and the shops are indeed dying.  Maybe try something different? 
My home town. The High Street has in my lifetime always been one-way, southbound, carrying the A6, only by-passed in the last couple of years. A good example of a place where the traffic engineers have done their one-way best over the past 50 years - surely that's run its course now. 
The stretch pictured, looking southwards has become a rather scuzzy and unpleasantly trafficey bit - used to be nicer - eg nice market square further up. 
There's been nothing worth bothering with behind the camera for years. Not somewhere you'd choose to hang about in, or go for leisure.
The largely pedestrianised east-west road seen on the right became the centre of shopping, until recently when Beales and Marks closed. Now, like everywhere else, retail capacity now grossly exceeds demand, and it's time to re-think and to re-inhabit many central areas where people largely stopped residing after WW2. 
Over the Town Bridge and into a stretch of car-ised desert, as three southbound routes split off and it becomes residential again. 

Avatar
mdavidford replied to David9694 | 3 years ago
0 likes
David9694 wrote:

"We must have cars in the town centre or the shops will die." You've had cars there for years and the shops are indeed dying.  Maybe try something different?

Don't disagree with the sentiment, but you seem to have rather misrepresented the comments. The bit about killing the High Street was in relation to deliveries, not access for cars:

Quote:

Cllr Royden said social distancing means wider pavements and it is “necessary to keep loading bays.”

“We don’t want to kill businesses off. Some of those businesses depend on the High Street for delivery of goods.”

Avatar
David9694 replied to mdavidford | 3 years ago
0 likes

I was not particularly referencing the specifics of Cllr Royden said, more the state of play in towns up and down the land.  Romsey and Eastleigh, Hants are other examples. 
"Won't somebody please think of the children?"

Avatar
mdavidford replied to David9694 | 3 years ago
0 likes

Fair enough - carry on then. 

Avatar
hawkinspeter | 3 years ago
7 likes
Simon MacMichael wrote:

In fact, figures disclosed today reveal that in total, the government had allocated £607,000 in emergency funding for walking and cycling to the borough, which is home to more than £107,000 people.

They sound like sterling citizens.

Avatar
David9694 replied to hawkinspeter | 3 years ago
0 likes

The "penny" has just dropped - good one.

Avatar
eburtthebike replied to David9694 | 3 years ago
0 likes
David9694 wrote:

The "penny" has just dropped - good one.

Why did the gorilla mum go to the bank with a penny when her baby was born with no knees?

To change it for two ha'pennies.

I'll get my coat.

 

Avatar
Bungle_52 | 3 years ago
7 likes

Ban cars from the centre. Simples.

Avatar
jimc101 replied to Bungle_52 | 3 years ago
0 likes

They did that a long time ago, the High Street isn't the town centre, thats to the right of the image, and has been ped only (no motor vehicles, buses etc or cycles) since the 90's, probably mid 80's from memory.

The road in question for this is the High Steet (at least from the image), which is the A6, which has pretty wide pavement to start with in most places, have a feeling given what is left retail wise in Bedford, widening the pavements isn't going to help them much.

 

Latest Comments