Project received single biggest DfT grant among the 78 projects announced this week

A Green Party councillor in Suffolk has said that money set aside for a £2 million cycle and pedestrian bridge over the A14 at Bury St Edmunds would be better spent on cycle paths. The bridge will connect Thingoe Hill and Northgate Avenue and allow cyclists to avoid the busy Fordham Road. It aims to provide a safe route to the town centre, train station and schools.

The project was one of 78 announced earlier this week as having been awarded cycling-specific funding by the Department for Transport (DfT), which is meeting 75 per cent of the cost, making it the single largest grant.

National cyclists’ organisation CTC, which along with other organisations such as British Cycling and Sustrans was involved in helping the DfT select the projects that were awarded money, highlighted the bridge as one of  “several hugely impressive and radical schemes.”

However, Julia Wakelam, who represents Risbygate at St Edmundsbury Borough Council, told the East Anglia Daily Times that money could be better spent elsewhere.

“Anything that helps cycling is a good thing,” she told the East Anglia Daily Times. “But of more urgency is sorting out the roads, because half of the cycle paths are no longer visible because the painting has worn away.

“Worse still, most of them are too narrow and they are full of potholes. As a result an awful lot of people cycle on the pavements.”

She went on: “I actually believe that what we should be doing is widening our pavement so cyclists and pedestrians go on a split pavement – a bit like in Cullum Road. It’s wide enough so pedestrians can walk, and cyclists can cycle without any danger from lorries or cars.

“It is a more European system. The more you make cycling safe and comfortable, the better the health of the population and you also cut down on pollution.”

A Suffolk County Council spokesman commented: “This project will create a safe, quick and easy route for pedestrians and cyclists to cross the A14 when travelling between the town centre and the Howard and Mildenhall Road estates.

“That is not to say, however, that other schemes will not be looked at in future, because Suffolk County Council is committed to making sustainable travel a more appealing and viable option for people to use on a daily basis.

“Now we have secured the funding, we’ll be able to progress the project, which we hope to have delivered by the end of the year.”

Born in Scotland, Simon moved to London aged seven and now lives in the Oxfordshire Cotswolds with his miniature schnauzer, Elodie. He fell in love with cycling one Saturday morning in 1994 while living in Italy when Milan-San Remo went past his front door. A daily cycle commuter in London back before riding to work started to boom, he's been news editor at road.cc since 2009. Handily for work, he speaks French and Italian. He doesn't get to ride his Colnago as often as he'd like, and freely admits he's much more adept at cooking than fettling with bikes.


northstar [1108 posts] 3 years ago

No shared paths thanks, do it properly or not at all.

sam_everythingvelo [11 posts] 3 years ago

Why not both?

jarderich [94 posts] 3 years ago

There's a bridge that takes the A14 over Fordham road just to the east of where this cycle bridge is proposed. And there's an existing footpath running parallel to the north side of the bridge which leads into Northgate Avenue. I'm guessing St. Eds BC has already investigated the possibility of altering that footpath for shared or, even better, segregated use, but then again .......

kie7077 [880 posts] 3 years ago

A cycle path is not a cycle lane, I like cycle paths

I think cycle lanes are often too small and hence increase danger to cyclists. Many are in the door zone and appear to be more of a way to keep cyclists from slowing cars down than anything else.

oozaveared [942 posts] 2 years ago
northstar wrote:

No shared paths thanks, do it properly or not at all.

You do realise that the odds are that it will be nothing at all don't you. I can imagine loads of council meetings where cycling provision and cost is being discussed where a lot of councillors that will be pro cycling will find it a lot easier to get the project through if it also benefits pedestrians. Same amount of money but more people benefit.

In my mind the long term strategy is not to hold out for some gold plated 5* provision exclusively for cyclists but incrementally improve provision that is affordable and supportable and that encourages people to use their bikes. The more they use the provision then the bigger the cycling constituency becomes and the less controversial even more provision becomes due to actual demand and usage.

Councillors have to vote for this stuff and having built a £2m pound bridge no doubt with some inconvenience during construction to local residents it's going to go down like a pork pie at a barmitzvah is the locals can't even walk across the bridge their rates just paid for. Blimey even us cyclists walk sometimes.