A Kickstarter campaign to research and revive 300+ miles of 1930s-era British cycleways has received a massive boost with its first corporate backer.
The campaign has received more than £20,000 in pledges so far, and now Showers Pass of Portland, Oregon has come on board.
The crowdfunding attempt was begun by BikeBiz executive editor Carlton Reid, who said: "It's fantastic that an American company has seen the worth – and the PR potential – in backing this campaign.
“Cycleways get more people riding bicycles, and this project could revive hundreds of miles of these largely forgotten kerb-protected bits of infrastructure."
The campaign closes on Thursday, and has achieved three times its initial funding aim.
As we reported last month, the money which will allow the routes to be documented and evaluated and local authorities to be approached with a view to reviving the infrastructure.
British Cycling policy adviser, Chris Boardman has backed the effort.
On the project’s page on Kickstarter, Reid says:
Between 1937 and 1940 the Ministry of Transport only gave grants to local authorities for arterial road schemes if they included 9-ft-wide cycleways both sides of the road. Some of these cycleways still exist (but are believed, wrongly, to be “service roads”); others have been grassed over (but their concrete surfaces probably remain). Many are not marked on maps as cycleways (or considered to be such by local authorities.)
That Britain once had a great number of protected cycleways is now almost totally unknown. I started researching these Dutch-inspired cycleways for my forthcoming book Bike Boom (Island Press, June 2017) and when I started to dig deeper (sometimes literally) I came to realise there were far more of these 1930s cycleways than I, or anybody else, knew existed. By poring through ministerial minutes I discovered that, amazingly, the Ministry of Transport was working to plans submitted by its Dutch equivalent: Go Dutch, 1930s-style.
Commenting on the initiative, Boardman said: "This is a marvellous proposal. It could recover some of our lost past and give normal people the opportunity to change the way they travel, in safety.
"As a bonus, in these austere times, it would have a meaningful impact for a very modest price."