A formal consultation proposing that cycling be permitted along the full length of Reading’s Broad Street is now being held. The Reading Chronicle reports that residents have three weeks to have their say on whether the current ban should be lifted.
Currently, cycling is only allowed at the eastern end of Broad Street from Cross Street, but an informal online consultation at the end of last year saw 796 respondents in favour of lifting the ban out of 1,283 responses.
Councillor Tony Page, Reading's lead member for transport, said that implementation of the change required an amendment to the existing traffic regulation order, which is what has led to the consultation process.
“There is now a three-week window for people to respond to the statutory consultation, with a closing date of Thursday March 10. I would urge anyone who has an opinion on the issue of cycling in Broad Street to take this final opportunity to feed into the decision making process.”
Even though a former Mayor of Reading saying he is against the plan and a fellow councillor arguing that such a move would put people off visiting Reading town centre on foot, only one person has complained to the council about cyclists on Broad Street in the past year.
In January, Councillor Ricky Duveen told the Reading Borough Council traffic management committee: “I would suggest that this is simply a bad scheme and will put people off visiting Reading town centre on foot,” while Councillor Liz Terry added: “We call it pedestrianisation for a reason – it’s for people who are walking, not cyclists.”
However, Page expressed support for the change, saying: "I don't believe the current situation where cycling is allowed in one half of Broad Street and banned in the other is sensible."
Former mayor Tony Jones commented: "If the council were to take a sandwich board and said to people 'do you think this should be cycle-free or cycling willy-nilly, I would bet a penny to the pound people would say ‘thanks but no thanks’. But we live in a democracy so let's see what happens."