THROUGH traffic along two roads in Knutsford and Wilmslow will soon be restricted to cyclists and pedestrians as part of a borough-wide 'experiment'.

Ladies Mile, which is part of the Knutsford Revolution Cycle Route, and Hawthorn Lane, in Wilmslow, are two of the first nine active travel schemes that have been confirmed by Cheshire East Council thanks to a pot of cash from the Government.

Both measures will be introduced later this month, as CEC aims to improve routes to schools and workplaces, boost social distancing and encourage active travel.

The first nine schemes will cost £155,000 out of a total £619,000 fund, with further projects still being considered.

Cllr Laura Crane, CEC cabinet member for highways and waste, added: “This is exciting news and part of steps by this council to promote social distancing and encourage more people to get active and cycle and walk more.

Knutsford Guardian:

“We know people’s travel behaviour has changed during the lockdown – and we are determined to lock in the benefits of more people walking and cycling to make our town centres safer, healthier and more welcoming to shoppers and visitors.

“We have seen an increase in more people walking and cycling in our borough and as more people turn to these active ways of travel, we need to work together to provide safe spaces for people to carry out these journeys.

“These initial projects are, by their very nature and the short timescales involved, an experiment. We will continue to work with the town and parish councils to develop, review and refine these measures and others, as appropriate, before anything becomes permanent."

The move follows recent submissions by town and parish councils, as well as CEC members, of more than 500 ideas of what measures could work in their local area.

Future schemes could follow along Manchester Road and Hawthorn Lane, in Wilmslow, and on parts of the Knutsford Revolution Cycle Route.

Ideas will be discussed between ward councillors and parish councils, with possible changes that could be delivered in the coming weeks including:

  • Pop-up cycle lanes, with protected spaces for cycling
  • Measures to reduce rat-running in streets
  • Improved walking and cycling routes to school
  • Safer junctions, with the potential for bus and cycle-only corridors
  • Implementing lower speed limits, and
  • Wider pavements, which also enables social distancing.

Cllr Suzie Akers Smith, CEC's walking and cycling champion, said: “Ditching the car and taking up daily active travel is good for your health, good for the environment and good for promoting social distancing to combat Covid-19.

Knutsford Guardian:

"Creating a safe environment will encourage people out of their cars and be more active. It also helps make our town centres safer and more attractive places to visit, spend time and spend money.

"There has never been a better time to walk or cycle – especially shorter journeys included as part of our daily activity – and this really helps to forge greener habits, to reduce congestion, improve air quality and help fight climate change.

"Being bold in these measures may attract additional funding from government and we welcome feedback both positive and negative on the measures being proposed."

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