The government has awarded West Sussex County Council initial funding of up to £784,000 for emergency, safe space cycling and walking measures in the wake of the coronavirus outbreak.
The schemes to be implemented will largely be temporary, such as pop-up cycle lanes and some road closures, but may evolve into permanent changes. They will promote cycling and walking as a replacement for journeys in areas which, until the COVID crisis, were heavily used by public transport, especially for short journeys, but would be more attractive to cyclists as routes if measures were taken.
Roger Elkins, cabinet member for highways and infrastructure, said: “This initial funding is welcome news and will boost provision for safe space cycling and walking in the county. We hope to make further announcements on funding for both walking and cycling provision in the county once we have details of second tranche funding.”
On 9 May, Transport Secretary Grant Shapps announced the £250m boost nationally for cyclists and pedestrians to help them socially distance more easily during the COVID-19 pandemic.
Cllr Elkins said: “Since 9 May, our officers have been working hard, liaising with our district and borough council partners to draw up a list of priority schemes and we have commissioned consultants to start to develop these into workable designs that can be implemented. Many of these potential schemes have been drawn from Local Cycling and Walking Infrastructure Plans that have been developed across the county.
“Now we know the level of initial funding, we can accelerate those schemes which best fit the Department for Transport’s criteria for the emergency measures.”
The Department for Transport wants to see all proposals by Friday 5 June so it can decide if they are suitable for funding. Cllr Elkins said: “The £784,000 is not guaranteed and may be clawed back should schemes not be started within four weeks of allocation. The money will need to fund the implementation, maintenance and monitoring of the schemes, which will be closely monitored to ensure they are having a positive impact on local travel.”
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