A VISIONARY Cycle Network for Warwick district has been unveiled.
Recognising the health and environmental benefits of cycling, three local groups – Cycleways, in conjunction with Clean Air for Leamington Spa and Clean Air Warwick -are spearheading the campaign for the creation of a comprehensive network of safe cycling paths in the district.
Research shows 56 per cent of car journeys in the district are under five miles in the district and 49 per cent of people work work less than three miles from their home – distances campaigners say most people could easily cycle with the right infrastructure.
But they say many who want to cycle cannot because of a lack of safe and continuous cycling routes.
Coun Susan Rasmussen, Leamington mayor and member of Clean Air for Leamington Spa said: “If we could encourage more people to cycle rather than take the car for short journeys it would significantly reduce pollution in our town centres, as well as making them healthier, happier places. There is clearly a demand for it amongst the people I speak to on a daily basis.”
Campaigners have produced a map of the proposed network created by Cycleways member and Transport Planner Mark Lever, which illustrates the scale of ambition.
He said, “By organising the existing, planned and aspirational routes into a single Tube-style network I wanted to create an identity that could help the community push for better infrastructure, greater investment and joined-up planning. Many of the proposed routes seem to have been talked about for years.
“The more I’ve spoken to people about this idea, the more potential I’ve realised it has. There is a real desire for exceptional cycle facilities that will encourage a shift to sustainable travel but also help those who need to travel by other means.
“By getting people onto their bikes on properly segregated routes it leaves more space on the roads for those who need to travel by car and reduces conflicts with pedestrians.”
Tony Lewenz, chair of Cycleways said: ”Provision for cycling in our district could be so much better – existing routes do not join up and little of it meets the vision laid down by Government in Gear Change, their vision for cycling.
“We feel it is time to release our Visionary Cycle Network now as Warwickshire County Council are developing a Local Cycling and Walking Infrastructure Plan and updating their Local Transport Plan.
“We are launching our manifesto with that foremost in our minds but we want to work with the community, businesses and other organisations to push for radical interventions that will encourage and enable more people to get on their bikes.
“Our Visionary Cycle Network aligns with government policies in “Decarbonising Transport” and “Gear Change” and fully supports Warwick District and County Councils’ Climate Emergency Declarations.”
The full Visionary Cycle Network for Warwick District can be viewed on the Cycleways website cycleways.org.uk or through the Facebook page Facebook.com/VCNWarwickDistrict.