Construction start date revealed for ?1m scheme to improve cycling …
WNC has confirmed plans to improve cycle and pedestrian routes around the Abington Park Area will start in 2024. Here's what the Billing Road/Rushmere Road junction will look like. (Photo: WNC)
A construction start date for a £1million scheme to improve cycling and walking provision in a busy part of Northampton has been revealed.
The findings of the public consultation into the Abington Active Travel Scheme, which was open from February 1 until May 13, have recently been published by West Northants Council (WNC).
According to WNC, here is what will be implemented as part of the Abington Area Active Travel Scheme:
Here's the plans for Park Avenue South. (Photo: WNC)
Abington Park Crescent: Introduce a new segregated two-way cycleway connecting with an upgraded crossing at the junction with Park Avenue South.
Bridgewater Drive: Implement a new two-way cycleway leading towards the school, accompanied by the addition of new road crossings.
Park Avenue South: Establish new cycleways seamlessly merging into existing cycling facilities.
Billing Road / Rushmere Road junction: Enhance pedestrian crossing facilities significantly, enabling 'all-direction crossing.' Implement improved traffic signal technology for more efficient management of all movements.
Here's an artist's impression of what Bridgewater Drive will look like once complete. (Photo: WNC)
According to the consultation report, phased construction works will start from 2024 to minimise disruption. The scheme will be in operation from 2025 with ‘ongoing monitoring’, according to the report.
The public consultation saw 394 responses from individuals, 15 responses from organisations, groups, and elected officials.
A petition opposing the two cycle paths on Park Avenue South was submitted. It received 70 signatures.
The main concerns with the scheme was with loss of parking spaces/parking restrictions on Park Avenue South.
Here's an artist's impression of what Abington Park Crescent will look like once complete (Photo: WNC)
One resident said: “The loss of parking on Park Avenue will cause problems for the Abington Tennis and Bowls Club.”
Another added: “I believe that difficulty in us parking in Park Avenue South would lead to us losing members from our active sports club which seems ironic when the scheme is called Active Travel.”
Other concerns included the positioning of the pedestrian path (too close to road) and the proposed cycle path on Abington Park Crescent.
However, WNC says many respondents were ‘generally supportive’ of the scheme, in particular the Billing Road/Rushmere Road junction, which has been described previously as a ‘death trap’ by pedestrians.
Independent councillor Julie Davenport (Delapre and Rushmere ward) has been campaigning to make the junction safer for years.
Reacting to the proposals, councillor Davenport previousl said: "You take your life into your own hands when you walk across there [Billing Road/Rushmere Road] because you've got cars coming from all directions. It's just totally unsafe.
"From what I have seen, these plans should take away all of the safety issues that were there. By making it safer...it could encourage people to get on a bike or parents might feel safe letting their children walk to school instead of dropping them off in the car.”
The Active Travel Fund is one of several funding streams set up by the Government for walking and cycling schemes, helping to promote healthy travel, reduce emissions and grow the economy.
The council was awarded £1.33m to implement the scheme after the initial plans to improve cycling facilities along Billing Road between York Road and Rushmere Road were revised following strong opposition from residents.
WNC has been contacted for comment.