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12. Cycling Network incorporating Green Wheel

12.1 The Council aims to achieve a comprehensive cycle network including radial routes into Bedford and Kempston centres, routes across the urban area north-south and east-west in order to encourage a greater number of cycle trips. Links between the main urban area and the surrounding villages will help this become more achievable.

12.2 There are many cycle routes and facilities already provided within the borough. However they are not necessarily joined up and in some cases the facilities are in need of being upgraded.

12.3 The Bedford Green Wheel vision is about developing and enhancing the existing network of traffic free paths and quiet routes around the Bedford urban area for use by pedestrians, cyclists and, where possible, horseriders. A Master Plan is being prepared which will set out how sections of routes may best be improved or created and integrated into a coherent Bedford-wide network. The draft overall Master Plan is shown below.

Figure 9:
Bedford Green Wheel Main Loop Overview

Bedford Green Wheel Main Loop Overview

12.4 The continuing development of the cycle network is supported by a number of policies and objectives.

12.5 Part of the borough-wide spatial vision up to 2021, set out in the Core Strategy and Rural Issues Plan, is that the transport network infrastructure will have improved. Plan objective 8 seeks to support the delivery of coordinated transport improvements with the emphasis on non-car modes, improving east-west communication and achieving greater transport interchange.

12.6 Policy CP29 (Accessibility) states that development will be located and designed to include facilities which provide convenient access to local services by foot, cycle and public transport.

12.7 Policy CP30 (Developer Contributions) sets out the Council’s stance on the need for developers to contribute towards the provision of infrastructure where the implementation of a development would create a need for additional or improved infrastructure, facilities or amenities.

12.8 New Policy AD39 sets out the Council’s policy requiring the protection, enhancement and promotion of cycle routes and facilities. The “Proposals Map 2009” showed a strategic cycle network, junctions and the Sustrans Route 51 as they were at that time of publication. The production of the Allocations and Designations Local Plan has given the opportunity to update and extend this information.

Bedford Borough Cycle Network

12.9 A cycle network is shown on the Policies Map and the Green Wheel routes are incorporated as part of the overall network. Within the large urban extensions around Bedford, cycle routes should be considered to be indicative.

Existing Routes

12.10 Routes shown as existing cycle routes include those on-road, off-road and also quiet roads where there are no formal cycle facilities at all but their use is recommended by the Cycling Campaign for North Bedfordshire. Quiet Roads have been included so that an overall picture of the network for cyclists can be gained in order to more easily identify the gaps, and therefore required improvements to the network.

Proposed Routes

12.11 Proposed routes are those which are already committed or may become committed through section 106 agreements with developers.

Required Improvements

12.12 These include routes which need resurfacing, better signage or need to be converted from a footpath to a restricted byway or dual use path, so that the cycle network can become connected up. Where possible, cycle routes should integrate with facilities for pedestrians and riders. More detail relating to the required improvements can be found in the Cycle Network Background paper.

National Cycle Network - Sustrans

12.13 The Sustrans existing and proposed routes are shown on the Policies Map. Required improvements are also shown.

12.14 The aim is to define the main network of cycle routes to help to identify omissions and gaps in that network in order to show where improvements are required. It is not implied that all cycle routes have dedicated cycle lanes/markings etc. and it is not intended that the Policies Map be used as a definitive cycle route map. Cycling Campaign for North Bedfordshire produce a
cycle map which can be found on the Council’s website:  www.bedford.gov.uk/transport _and_streets.

12.15 Every opportunity to provide the required improvements should be seized, either as a contribution relating to a development or as part of a highway authority road improvement scheme.

12.16 To maximise the use of cycle routes they need to be direct and link up with each other and link key destinations. Therefore wherever new river and rail crossings are proposed, cycling should also be facilitated. There are existing barriers within the borough which are known safety concerns to cyclists or make cycling more difficult, including the Bromham Road railway bridge, Bromham Bridge and Clapham Ford. The development of further barriers should be avoided, therefore any proposed river or rail crossing should incorporate cycle routes.

12.17 Where possible the cycle network and Green Wheel will be extended into the villages. This is supported by the priorities set out for the green infrastructure opportunity zones (see Chapter 7), in particular Zone 2 Upper Great Ouse River Valley.

12.18 Waymarking, including distance information signs and milestones, are extremely valuable improvements to the cycle network.

12.19 Guidance on the amounts and types of cycle parking required in association with development can be found on the Council’s website using the following link: http://www.bedford.gov.uk/transport_and_streets

Policy AD39 Cycling

The Council will require the protection, enhancement and promotion of cycle routes and facilities including those shown on the Policies Map, and seek the provision of new routes and facilities for cyclists which are safe, convenient and attractive, particularly in association with major development and transportation proposals. River and rail crossings will include provision for cyclists where appropriate.

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