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Reading could see cycling in pedestrianised shopping street

Public consultation found support for cycling in the Broad Street shopping area

A cycling ban in a shopping street in Reading could soon be lifted after a consultation showed strong support for bikes in the pedestrian area.

Although Broad Street’s western area has a cycling ban in place, bike hire racks have already been added to the street.

In a consultation, the council found that 796 respondents were in favour of lifting the ban, out of 1,283 responses.

448 were in favour of not allowing cycling in Broad Street at all and 39 selected no change to the current arrangements.

Reading Borough Council transport head Tony Page told the BBC: "I don't believe the current situation where cycling is allowed in one half of Broad Street and banned in the other is sensible."

Councillors will formally make the decision at a meeting next week.

Reading has been attempting to make its surrounds more cycle friendly in recent months.

Last month we reported how a new pedestrian and cycle route has opened in Reading under the railway line at Napier Road. Known as the Biscuit Tunnel, it will provide people living on Napier Road and Luscinia View with direct access to and from the town centre; and for people heading north to the River Thames and Caversham.

The underpass gets its name because it was formerly used by two small trains which transported biscuits from Huntley & Palmers to a siding at Reading Station, but it had been unused since biscuit production ceased in 1976.

The £500,000 funding has come from a combination of developers' contributions to local services and a successful bid to the Government's Local Sustainable Transport Fund (LSTF).

Councillor Tony Page, Lead Member for Strategic Environment, Planning and Transport, said: “The route under the railway line will be of major benefit to Reading residents, providing direct and well-lit pedestrian and cycle access to and from the town centre, east Reading and Caversham.

“This is the first time that there has ever been public access through this historic tunnel which, in itself, consists of various sections built at different stages. It’s another part of Reading’s fascinating heritage which the council has restored.”

Earlier this year, a new £5.9m bridge for pedestrians and cyclists was opened across the River Thames, linking Caversham to Norman Place and Reading Station. It was again paid for using the LSTF – funding that has also given rise to the ReadyBike hire scheme in the town.


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Rod Marton | 8 years ago

So I've been riding illegally all this time! Seriously, I'd no idea there was a ban here, and judging by the numbers of cyclists using the pedestrianised area, neither had anyone else. So we shall now be able to reach the bike racks in the middle of Broad Street without breaking the law.

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