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Devon welcomes Summer of Cycling and Walking

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Devon County Council has welcomed the Department for Transport’s (DfT) Summer of Cycling and Walking campaign.

Devon shares the government’s ambition of ensuring cycling and walking are the first choice for short journeys.

The County Council has invested over £25 million in walking and cycling projects across the County since 2015, and continues to grow its extensive leisure trail network and help make Devon the place to be naturally active.

The County Council introduced a number of temporary “pop-up” measures last year to support walking and cycling during the coronavirus pandemic lockdown as travel patterns changed and public transport passenger numbers fell by around 40%-60%.

Many of the active travel measures introduced as temporary changes have been well received and are now being made permanent. In Exeter, a safer environment for pedestrians, cyclists and residents has been created by removing through traffic on Homefield Road, a new pedestrian and cycle crossing has been installed at Countess Wear roundabout and a new crossing has been completed at Russell Way to extend the E9 cycle route onto Sowton and Digby.

Temporary changes introduced in Sidmouth were agreed to be made permanent at East Devon HATOC last month.

Two new pedestrian and cycle crossings are being delivered in Newton Abbot as part of the East West cycling corridor. Consultation earlier in the year showed strong support for progressing the Teign Estuary Estuary Trail.

Within Exeter, the Exeter HATOC has agreed to make permanent a no-entry except buses and cycles on Wonford Road, between Victoria Park Road and Deepdene Park, which has helped to significantly reduce traffic in the wider area and removal of through traffic on Ludwell Lane.

Public consultation on the Magdalen Road scheme, which made it one-way to provide extra space for pedestrians and a contraflow cycle lane, revealed strong backing for reducing through traffic, supported by 75% of 1500 respondents. The County Council is aiming to progress a permanent change on Magdalen Road.

Consultation is also being carried out in Heavitree and Whipton on the design of local streets and how to make it easier for people to walk and cycle in these communities and consultation on the future of the temporary schemes in Queen Street and Iron Bridge will be consulted on later in the year.

Photo of Councillor Stuart Hughes
Councillor Stuart Hughes

Councillor Stuart Hughes, Devon County Council Cabinet Member for Highway Management, said: “The emergency active travel measures brought in during the first lockdown to make it easier for people to walk and cycle, have been generally well supported. It’s great that many of these changes have become permanent features. We’re committed to achieving our ambitious target to get 50% of residents in the city walking and cycling to work and education by 2030, and if we can continue to create quieter roads with lower levels of traffic it will support active travel, improve air quality and reduce carbon emissions.”

The Summer of Cycling and Walking campaign is designed to inspire the nation to take up and enjoy the benefits of active travel as lockdown restrictions ease.