Work has begun on a new off-road cycle track linking the city of York with retail and leisure facilities, and thousands of homes.
The off-road shared use path links the Outer Ring Road between its Haxby Road and Wigginton Road roundabouts and will be of use to those travelling to Clifton Moor Retail Park and for students at Joseph Rowntree School.
Under consulation by the council, 80 per cent of respondents supported the plans for the path with six in ten indicating that they would be using it on a regular basis.
Of those respondents who were school pupils, 60 per cent said that they would use it to ride to school.
This path which received funding of almost £1m, is considered by the council to be the flagship scheme within the i-Travel York initiative, connecting over 15,000 people living in this area of York, and is programmed for completion in late Spring 2014.
The i-Travel York initiative was made possible by £4.6 million of government funding which the council successfully bid for in 2011.
Cllr Dave Merrett, Cabinet Member for Transport, Planning and Sustainability, said: “In addition to the proposed cycle route, we are also addressing the lack of good pedestrian and cycle routes within the Clifton Moor retail / leisure area itself by investing almost £100,000 of government funding on new pedestrian and cycle crossing facilities, cycle lanes, and measures to slow traffic speeds, by introducing easier and safer access for pedestrians and cyclists.
“York is one of the top cycling cities in the UK, and is one of the reasons why it has been chosen to host the Tour de France Grand Depart. However, there are still many parts of York where we need to invest in our cycle routes, particularly in difficult and hard to access locations like Clifton Moor, and helping get cyclists off road should be safer all round too.”
A spokesman for North Yorkshire Police said: "The force supports any initiative that encourages people to use bicycles safely and this is an important scheme which should help to reduce casualties on the city’s roads.
“We believe the route will be of great benefit for the people living in Haxby and Wigginton and especially the students at Joseph Rowntree School.”
Jonathan Gibson, Senior Development Manager at JRF, said: “This investment will make York a better place to live and work and become more sustainable in transport terms. The DfT criteria is something we fully recognise and support in reducing carbon emissions and promoting local economic growth.”
After an unpromising start, having to be bribed by her parents to learn to ride without stabilisers, Sarah became rather keener on cycling in her university years, and was eventually persuaded to upgrade to proper road cycling by the prospect of a shiny red Italian bike, which she promptly destroyed by trapping a pair of knickers in the rear derailleur. Sarah writes about about cycling every weekend on road.cc.