Many residents are taking advantage of the city’s flat plains, lower traffic levels and reduced public transport capacity to opt for greener forms of travel (walking and cycling) as part of their daily exercise routine or to get to and from work.
According to data from Sport England, 29 per cent of people in Yorkshire and Humber are currently more active as a result of Covid-19, and a BBC report stated that bike sales are up by 15 per cent.
As a result of this cultural shift towards cycling, the Department for Transport invited local authorities to bid for its emergency active travel grant. Hull City Council managed to secure the first phase of its £1.36m funding allocation, and works are now being accelerated in line with the terms and conditions of the bid which states the work must begin within four weeks of receiving the funding and completed within eight weeks of starting.
Due to these constraints, the measures will be temporary and a consultation process will be carried out post-implementation, before any of the cycling & walking/bus infrastructure is made permanent. This allows the authority time to engage with the public. It is crucial to remember that this is a live process, and will be structured so that any concerns and suggestions can be quickly responded to. For any comments, residents are advised to email firstname.lastname@example.org
The planned schemes will be progressed in line with the local authority’s 10-year local cycling and walking infrastructure plan in a bid to sustain the increased number of cyclists on the roads, with works being delivered across the city’s primary routes, including –
- Anlaby Road
- Beverley Road
- Holderness Road
- Freetown Way
- Cleveland Street
- Clough Road & Cottingham Road
- Southcoates Lane & Preston Road
- Hessle Road
The immediate plans focus on schemes which serve the city centre, however as the opportunity arises, further funding bids will be submitted so that the cycling upgrade can be rolled out further across the city.
Plans for the identified routes include re-signing and relabelling key routes with green lines, enforcing cycle lanes, protection for cycle lanes with bolt-down kerbs and cycle contraflow provision on almost / nearly all one-way streets in the city centre.
Closures for through traffic on Wright Street and Baker Street at the Prospect Street junction to stop motorists using this as a rat-run from Freetown Way and a temporary lane closure in Spring Bank and both directions in Ferensway between Hull Paragon Interchange and Anlaby Road with the removal of the guard railing, to create a safer cycle route and additional pedestrian space.
Plans to increase space for pedestrians will also be considered. Parking bays could be suspended on South Street to loading only and Silver Street will be pedestrianised to encourage businesses to make use of the outdoor space, with access for pedestrians and cyclists only.
Plans will also look at options to increase the use of bus lanes for extended periods in order for cyclists to safely use this road space.
Cycle storage will also be provided at Hull Paragon Interchange by Trans Pennine Express, and an additional storage space for 40 cycles in Trinity Market. This will serve cyclists at both ends of the city centre.
Hull currently sits at number eight in the top 10 league table for cycling to work outside of London, with six per cent of our residents cycling to work, compared to just three per cent nationally. That’s more than double the amount of adults cycling three times a week for travel compared to England and we want to sustain and encourage this trend going forward.
The local authority also has the ambition to get 10,000 inactive people active by 2028 as part of the Towards an Active Hull Strategy. Active Travel has been highlighted as a key pillar to make this happen.
The 2011 census data shows that 15.5% (9340) of all car and van borne travel is 2km or less and 40.9% (24,597) of all car and van borne travel is between 2km and 5km. And when considering the travel to work journey 56.4% (33,937) of all car and van borne traffic travel to work less than 5km and 43.6% (26163) of all car and van borne traffic travel to work all distances from 5km and above. Assuming up to 5km is considered a short distance, a total of 33,937 people could potentially travel actively.
When people move more, there are huge health benefits to health including reduced risk of heart disease and type 2 diabetes and improvements to mental health and anxiety levels. Every minute really does count so regularly cycling or walking briskly can lead to long-term improvements.
Residents are encouraged to use local schemes like Rusty Riders to get back into cycling safely and to look into options like the Cycle to Work scheme to spread the cost of a bike.
Not only does walking and cycling bring with it a whole host of health benefits, but also feeds in to the council’s ambition to become carbon neutral by 2030.
This is a once in a generation chance to completely transform cycling in the city, and as the city starts to recover post-pandemic, cycling is one trend that we want to hold onto firmly.
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