Boost For Cycling & Walking?
Well…. I really hope so! This afternoon, I attended a meeting of local Councillors and Officers from Hampshire County Council, New Forest District Council and representatives from the cycling charity, Sustrans.
You might think this odd but in nearly 30 years of being a Councillor, this was the first time I had ever been invited to a meeting specifically to consider the needs of cyclists and pedestrians.
It was called at very short notice and concentrated entirely on what could be done in Totton & the Waterside.
The reason for this is that local authorities are putting in a joint bid for government cash that’s available for improving walking and cycle links.
The bid has to go in by November.
We looked carefully at things like barriers to cycling and walking, ranging from the terrible lay out of Totton town centre, to the unsatisfactory nature of our old footbridges and the disjointed nature of existing cycle routes – some of which aren’t cycle routes at all (just painted lines on main roads).
Officers could see from maps and google images the sort of things that likely put people off from walking and cycling.
One commented that it is often a mistake to implement schemes that can be constructed easily, whilst ignoring the difficult areas that would actually make the most difference.
We local Councillors were able to add our local knowledge about how the existing infrastructure is used (or not used) and why.
There was a lot of ink marking on maps to illustrate issues we raised.
I made a strong point that it would be better to spend money on improving links from Marchwood into Totton and Hounsdown (building on the success of the Marchwood to Eling link, than it would to spend it down in the Fawley area.
The closer the cycle routes are to Southampton, the more they will get used for commuting.
I hope to be able to share details of the projects that are bid for.
I certainly hope that this includes Rushington roundabout and improvements to crossing points for pedestrians and cyclists in Totton & Marchwood.