Ambitious cycling and walking plans for Darlington
Darlington is working to accelerate cycling and walking infrastructure on key routes in the town and will be looking to secure a funding boost as part of a package of measures announced by Government this week.
Darlington has been developing plans that have strong potential to increase levels of cycling and walking in the borough, with the first priority route we are looking to accelerate being a cycle route between Darlington Memorial Hospital and the town centre.
This will form the first phase of a high quality, direct route from West Park to the town centre as part of wider plans in the Woodland Road and Cockerton area to ease congestion and will be designed based on the latest design standards brought out by the Government this week.
Also in the pipeline are plans to create a cycle route from the town centre to Morton Park to link to key employment areas, as well as other cycling improvement schemes across the borough. We will be working with key stakeholders on the detail of all these routes.
All of these schemes require significant investment above the levels the council is allocated, so we will be working to secure the funding to make them happen.
The Government has provisionally allocated £1.7m to the Tees Valley to be committed this year as part of the Active Travel Emergency Fund and TVCA has a total of £3.9m allocated to delivering it’s Local Walking & Cycling Investment Programme over the next 3 years. Darlington is bidding to secure sufficient funding to deliver the first phase of the Woodland Road scheme as its immediate priority. With £2bn overall funding announced this week by government, we believe Darlington stands a good chance of securing future funding to deliver our ambitious plans.
Separately, Darlington Borough Council is working with Durham and Stockton councils on ambitious plans to create a Stockton and Darlington Railway walking and cycling route in time for the 2025 bicentenary celebrations. It is planned to follow the original alignment of the 26 mile route, with a section already being delivered on site at the moment, and will link to the exciting plans for the redevelopment of the Head of Steam Railway Museum.
We also plan to continue the roll out of 20mph speed limits outside schools to improve safety and encourage more families and students to walk and cycle to school. The council is also researching other initiatives used elsewhere in the country to bring in a variety of measures to help improve the environment around the schools.
Councillor Andy Keir, cabinet member for local services, said: “We are committed to improving infrastructure for cycling and walking across the town and around schools to encourage more people to take the healthier and more environmentally friendly options of getting to and from work or school .
“We already work with partners to support the recycling of bikes, provide Bikeability cycle training in schools and a bike buddy scheme to help people start to make their short journeys by bike. We will work with TVCA and other partners to deliver more adult cycle training, cycle parking and access to e-bikes as the Department for Transport issues further guidance on funding and programmes.
“The Government has committed to improving the health of the nation while also tackling climate change and getting out on your bike or walking is the best way to achieve that in one go – we hope to get more people in Darlington walking and cycling.”