Published on

19 February 2024

Give your views on safer, greener gateway into town

Residents can give their thoughts on the final phase of a planned new walking and cycling route between Winnersh parish and Wokingham town centre

A photograph of a raised cycle track crossing in front of a side junction, with cyclists given priority over emerging traffic

The final stages of a plan to improve cycling and walking links between Winnersh parish and Wokingham town centre are now open to residents' comments.

The council is again seeking people's views on building a segregated cycle track along each side of the A329 Reading Road, along with other improvements to benefit cyclists and pedestrians.

It is consulting on the third and fourth phases between Mill Close, just east of Woosehill roundabout, and the western end of Broad Street at its junction with Rectory Road.

This follows last year's consultation on the first two stages from Sadlers Close, near the M4 overbridge and petrol station, to just before Mill Close.

All design work for this scheme was paid for through the Government's Active Travel Fund, and construction would also be externally funded if it goes ahead.

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Safer trips between two major destinations

As with previous phases, these sections include safer bus stops and road crossings, including side road crossings that prioritise cyclists, plus a 30mph speed limit in areas that are currently 40mph.

The junctions at Station Approach and Station Road would be improved for cyclists and pedestrians - with one "arm" of the Station Road junction, near the council's Shute End headquarters, closed to create more green space with a cycle track running through it.

The final approach into the town centre, to the east of the council offices and Biscoe Way, would become a shared surface with equal priority for all vehicles and a 20mph speed limit. Pedestrians would remain separate from traffic, with pavements and kerbs on both sides.

Residents can view the full plans on the council's Engage website, along with more background about the scheme as a whole, and give their thoughts before Monday, 18 March.

A chance for everyone to shape the design

Cllr Paul Fishwick, executive member for active travel, transport and highways, said: "We've consulted on this in stages to give everyone plenty of chances to comment, and we've been pleased with the responses we've had so far.

"However, we're still at the stage of listening to what people have to say, so we’d encourage everyone to tell us what they think - whether they like the idea or have some thoughts on how we could make it even better.

"As this stage of the consultation process nears an end, we'd also like to thank Active Travel England for providing the funding that has enabled us to come up with these designs.

"Our finances are under severe pressure, so we rely on external funding to adapt our transport network to meet tomorrow's challenges - and we'll explore every opportunity to secure this when needed.”

Joining up in a greener, healthier way

This scheme is part of the council's ongoing bid to encourage people to walk or cycle more instead of driving, or take the bus or train, by making this more appealing and accessible.

It was proposed in the Local Cycling and Walking Infrastructure Plan, a long-term strategy published last year after extensive consultation, and aims to address concerns about safety on this route.

While some car journeys will always be needed, a significant number of shorter trips are still being made by driving and the council wants to reduce these as much as it reasonably can.

This will support its wider goals of reducing air pollution, reducing congestion, improving everyone's health and working as hard as possible to become carbon neutral by 2030.

From drawing board to reality

Once this consultation finishes, the council will go through all the feedback and comments from previous rounds to decide whether the plan could be improved in any way.

Work could start later this year, but this depends on funding being available - either from the Government or the money that developers have to pay when they build new homes in the area.

Meanwhile, the council is also consulting on its new Local Transport Plan - a "big picture" strategy that will guide how all types of transport are improved or maintained for many years to come.

This includes, among many other things, the principles behind improvements to cycling and walking routes. Residents can respond to the Local Transport Plan on the Engage site until Friday, 8 March.

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