A consultation on improvements to cycling, walking and wheeling routes in Barrow has shown clear preferences for the designs people would like to see.
Feedback from hundreds of consultation responses has been studied and collated and results show people would prefer the new cycleway along Abbey Road to be in the footway space.
There was less support for the second design option, which would place the cycle lane in the carriageway.
Responses also show that on the Abbey Road route people want dedicated crossing facilities for pedestrians and cyclists across side road junctions, cycle lanes to run to the rear of bus shelters and for there to be minimal changes to the existing traffic lanes along the road to reduce potential impact on journey times for motorists.
Feedback on the designs for a cycling, walking and wheeling route crossing North Walney from Jubilee Bridge to the new Earnse Bay Community Hub have also been collated during this consultation and will be considered as part of the developing design work on that scheme.
The proposals are part of ambitious plans to provide safe, healthy and environmentally friendly ‘active travel’ options across the town.
The consultation – which ran between 19 May and 9 June - invited views on various design options for the two routes, which when completed will be part of a wider network that connects Abbey Road from Park Drive down to Ramsden Square, through the town centre and right across Walney Island from the promenade to Earnse Bay.
Consultation drop-in events were held at the Forum, Barrow Library and the Roundhouse Cafe on Walney and a consultation survey was available online and as a print document from libraries and council buildings.
Key stakeholders, including disability and inclusion organisations, community and cycle user groups, also shared their views at focus group sessions as part of the consultation.
The alignment of both routes has already been agreed, following previous consultations on the Local Cycling and Walking Infrastructure Plan (LCWIP) in 2021 and 2022, and this latest consultation focused on asking for people’s feedback on the designs.
The routes will connect residential areas with major employment and education sites such as BAE Systems, Furness General Hospital, Furness College and the town centre, as well as allowing better access to green spaces and the coast, with leisure-based route options around the edge of town and on Walney.
Westmorland and Furness Council’s Cabinet member for Transport and Environmental Services, Councillor Neil Hughes, thanked people for their interest and feedback through the consultation.
He said: “It was great to see so many people positively engaging and sharing their views on the design options.
“The final proposals, incorporating the feedback from the consultation, will now go to our Furness Locality Board for consideration and construction of the new routes is scheduled for 2024.
“These are exciting times for Barrow, with millions of pounds of investment in employment, education and regeneration creating the most significant opportunities for the town in decades.
“The creation of a new network of safe and sustainable cycle routes will support Barrow’s expansion and improve connections between neighbourhoods and key employment and education sites, making journeys by bike or on foot easier, safer and more enjoyable.’’
The new routes are being funded through the Town Deal and the government’s Active Travel fund.
It is the ambition of Westmorland and Furness Council to get more people cycling, walking and wheeling and that cycling, walking and wheeling should be the natural choice for everyday short journeys – being better for health and wellbeing, the environment and the local economy and supporting the council’s key Council Plan priorities on climate change, supporting sustainable economic growth and helping our communities to lead active, healthy lives.
The final consultation reports will be available on the council website in mid-July on the cycling and walking pages.