Devon County Council is preparing to submit its bid for the second round of Emergency Active Travel Funding by the end of next week (Friday 7 August).
Devon is bidding for around £1.3 million to create more permanent schemes that provide extra space for pedestrians and cyclists in order provide alternatives to public transport and to improve safety and encourage more active travel.
The authority successfully bid for all of the £338,000 allocation available to Devon in the first tranche – funding a series of temporary “pop-up” measures which have been installed in Exeter, Barnstaple, Bideford and Newton Abbot.
A number of communities across the county have also been able to introduce temporary schemes to promote walking and cycling. A one way system has been installed on Lower Fore Street in Beer, Wellington Street and Regent Street in Teignmouth have been closed to enable active travel, improvements for pedestrians and cyclists have been introduced in Dawlish, High Street and Fore Street in Totnes are closed to traffic on Saturday mornings, parking has been suspended in parts of Holsworthy, and New Street and Church Street in Sidmouth have been pedestrianised during part of the daytime.
The bid for the next phase of funding, which has to be submitted by Friday 7 August, would provide the opportunity to make temporary measures permanent, subject to consultation and approval from Highway and Traffic Order Committees. Funding would have to be spent or committed by March 2021.
In Exeter, cycle improvements and road closures are planned for Heavitree, Wonford, and the city centre. New crossings will be provided at Russell Way, Polsloe Road and Countess Wear and the trial of some of the temporary changes will be extended.
In Barnstaple, proposals include cycle path improvements between the Tarka Trail and Anchorwood, and on the A39 North Road.
The proposals for Newton Abbot are for toucan crossings at Exeter Road and Jetty Marsh Road.
In other town centres across the county, temporary measures could be extended or made permanent.
Councillor Stuart Hughes, Devon County Council’s Cabinet Member for Highway Management, said: “The Emergency Active Travel Funding is extremely important to help encourage active travel as the economy recovers from the coronavirus pandemic. There was only so much we could achieve with the initial allocation of funding for temporary improvements, especially when we had more than 100 proposed schemes from communities.
“There was a tight timescale on delivering the first round of temporary improvements, but we’ve seen ‘pop-up’ measures installed over the past few weeks. Hopefully we can gain a share of the larger pot of money which is available. This will help us introduce more permanent changes to encourage active travel and support efforts to tackle obesity and the climate emergency.”
The Department for Transport’s aims for the second tranche of funding are for proposals to create a safer environment safer for walking and cycling, avoid public transport overcrowding, as well as delivering health, environmental and congestion benefits.
For more information go to the County Council’s webpages.