25 September 2023
Have your say: New walking and cycling link proposed
Residents' views are now being sought on an improved active travel route between Wokingham town centre and the outskirts of Winnersh
The first stage of a planned new cycling and walking route from Wokingham town centre to the outskirts of Winnersh has gone out to consultation. (Image shows a similar scheme outside the borough)
Residents have until Sunday, 22 October to comment on the proposal, which the council would like to build along both sides of the A329 Reading Road as it works to improve local walking and cycling links.
The route is part of the borough’s Local Cycling and Walking Infrastructure Plan, a long-term vision that was widely consulted on, and reflects residents’ concerns about traffic speeds, difficulty crossing safely and a lack of protected cycling space.
Design work has been externally funded by a £606,215 grant from the Government’s Active Travel Fund, provided for this specific purpose. Construction would be funded entirely by outside sources like Government grants or money from developers building new homes.
A healthier, greener alternative to driving
The plan comprises a 1.6-mile (2.5km) route from Sadler’s Lane at Winnersh, near the M4 overbridge, to the western end of Broad Street in Wokingham town centre.
Views are being sought on the first phase from Sadler's Lane to Emmbrook Road, while future stages will be consulted on later this year.
It would have a “stepped” one-way cycle track raised above the road but lower than the footway. This would mostly be two metres wide, and no narrower than 1.8m.
There would be safer junctions with raised crossings to help pedestrians and give cyclists priority, as well as new toucan crossings to replace islands on Reading Road. These would be accompanied by sections of shared use path.
Bus stops would be separated from cycle traffic with suitable crossings. Reading Road would remain two-way for motor traffic but the speed limit would be reduced from 40mph to 30mph.
Now's the time to talk to us
Cllr Paul Fishwick, executive member for active travel, transport and highways, said: “More than a quarter of local commutes are under 5km (three miles), yet more than 70 per cent of these shorter trips are made by car.
“These are our biggest opportunity to swap driving for sustainable alternatives and we want to help residents make the most of them – both for their personal health and to reduce the air pollution and carbon emissions that affect us all.
“However, we want to make sure that any improvements will help as many people as possible. Please take a few minutes to share your thoughts, which will help us to refine these much-needed plans.”
Making a vision into reality
Once the consultation finishes, the council will take comments into account while its teams finalise the designs.
It will then consult on the next phases of the route as soon as it can. Construction could start next year but this would depend on people's views and external funding being available. None is confirmed yet, but the council is working to identify opportunities.
It would also connect outlying residential areas both west of the town centre and on the major new community at North Wokingham, and improve links with the shared footways and cycleways along the nearby North Wokingham Distributor Road, Winnersh Relief Road and the A329 through Winnersh.