Cumbria County Council have now received confirmation that it has been awarded £886,000 to implement permanent measures to cement cycling and walking habits in Barrow.
The funding, from the Department for Transport (DfT) Emergency Active Travel Fund, is in place to try and embed walking and cycling as part of long-term habits to secure the associated health, air quality and congestion benefits.
The scheme which funding has now been allocated to is on Bridge Road / Michaelson Road in Barrow. This proposed scheme includes segregated cycleways, enhanced pedestrian crossings and junction improvements for both cyclists and pedestrians.
During the height of the coronavirus people appreciated the cleaner air and quieter streets, transforming the environment in many of our towns and city and in Cumbria, lots of people discovered, or rediscovered, cycling and walking.
In July, Cumbria was allocated £260,000 as part of a first wave of funding to install temporary measures to try and help embed altered behaviours that would promote more walking and cycling for short journeys, to help keep people healthy and to reduce carbon emissions.
This second allocation of funding which the county council bid for, is intended for local authorities to install further, more permanent measures to cement these changes in behaviour. The government were clear that all schemes put forward must include segregation from motorised traffic, upgrading existing cycle lanes, and those marked only with white paint, would not be funded.
A short period of engagement was carried out over the summer where more than 600 suggestions for cycling and walking schemes were put forward. The council then had to assess each of the proposed schemes to identify eligible, feasible and deliverable schemes for inclusion in the bid.
The original bid for funding was for £1.436m (made up of the Barrow scheme at £740k and the Kendal scheme at £696k). However, the funding allocated leaves a shortfall, so in line with the Barrow scheme being the strongest out of the two, the council will only be able to proceed with this scheme.
Cllr Keith Little, Cumbria County Council's Cabinet Member for Highways and Transport said: “Whilst it is of course disappointing to not have received sufficient funding to progress schemes for both Barrow and Kendal, it is encouraging to see the level of support and ambition for improved cycling and walking infrastructure across the county and that the government has confidence in the council to implement these changes.
“Now we have the funding secured we will work closely with residents, businesses, community groups, and disability groups and other key representatives to further consult upon the proposed scheme before any work begins.”
A significant amount of work went into the identification of potential schemes across Cumbria and provided a good foundation on which the council is now developing a series of Local Cycling and Walking Infrastructure Plans (LCWIPs) across the county. These plans will hopefully position the county council to be able to take advantage of additional funding that is being made available for investment in cycling in the future.