Tuesday, December 05, 2006

Cycling moves up a gear

You may have seen the workmen digging up the pavement at the bottom of Feethams.

This is phase one of an ambitious scheme to link the town centre with South Park. In the next 4 weeks the Leadyard to Feethams element will be completed. By March, the completed route, which will include a new dedicated crossing for cyclists and pedestrians across the ring road (replacing the existing lights) will be in place. Cyclists will be able to travel along Victoria Road Back Lane, and then over Victoria Road to Bedford Street, and then on to the park..

This is part of our Cycling Demonstration Town project. Latest figures show that cycling in Darlington's schools is 5 times the national average.

As I may or may not say in the Echo over the next couple of days, "The latest work on the ring road is just part of a visionary scheme that will see excellent facilities provided for people who want to walk and cycle in safety in Darlington."


Steve said...

Interesting, thats my corner of the town. Is the new crossing going to be outside the sorting office roughly where the current one is? When I saw the works last weekend it looks more like its heading towards sainsburys.

Is there also going to be a crossing on Neasham Road near the Smithfield road junction? There's an (old) existing cycleway signposted opposite Smithfield Road leading up into Eastbourne that could be used to avoid & paralell Yarm Road.

Darlington Councillor said...

Hi Steve.

The crossing will indeed by approximately where the current lights are. The route will drop down onto Victoria Street Back Lane and then back up over Victoria Road to Bedford Street. This is much safer than our original route, which would have taken bikes over Victoria Road near to the junction with the ring-road.

At the moment, we are concentrating on new routes. I entirely take your point about the need for a crossing near to the Smithfield Road/Neasham Road junction (where we have that curious bit of shared pedestrian/cycle path outside the doctors). I have raised this with officers, and will certainly do this again.

This is a recommended route still, and certainly the ride through the park between Dodmire School and Milton Street, and then onto Harris Street and the cycle way to Salters Lane is much safer than using Yarm Road.

Mike said...

Victoria Street Back Lane will be nice and scary after dark.

Darlington Councillor said...

I understand your concern Mike. The original route was to take cyclists along a shared path from the ring road into Victoria Road - unfortunately this was too narrow, and could have posed problems for disabled people, for example.

Lighting on the back lane will be upgraded as part of the plans. The issue of parking which might impede cyclists is also being looked into.