The Executive Director of Neighbourhoods and Communities submitted a that set out a ten-year cycle infrastructure plan to take advantage of funding opportunities as they arose as well as programmed works through the Local Transport Plan allocations.
There were gaps within Middlesbroughs cycle network, which acted as a barrier to people participating. In order to realise the goals and positive outcomes of increasing cycling levels within Middlesbrough, the existing network needed investment. It was the intention to address these missing links, surface defects and missing signage in order to create a seamless network that was fit for purpose. This was a long-term strategy, which had been inhibited further by reduced funding opportunities. This report highlighted the major infrastructure initiatives required to create a more cohesive network, which would assist in encouraging cycling for future generations.
Additionally, as the costs of motorised transport increased, people began to look at cheaper alternatives. Cycling was a real alternative for shorter journeys as it was cheap or practically free once equipment had been purchased. By improving the network, people were more likely to consider cycling as a real alternative.
Middlesbrough had a worse than average public health problem in terms of obesity, type 2 diabetes and coronary heart disease and Cancer. One way that could assist in reducing the impact of these problems was physical activity. By encouraging and making cycling more accessible, the associated physical activity could go someway to decreasing the negative impact upon the National Health Service by acting as a preventative measure. An improved network would assist in making this accessible.
The proposed investment in the cycle infrastructure was to be sought from various funding streams as opportunities arose, such as highway maintenance, new network improvement schemes, section 106 contributions and other potential sources such as external funding from the Department for Transport (DfT). With a little more awareness of cycling needs and an agreed programme, planned maintenance or other improvements could incorporate elements of cycling infrastructure to reduce adverse impact upon vulnerable road users such as cyclists. By raising the awareness of improvements, some of the cycling improvements could be installed simultaneously, resulting in a reduced cost compared to retrofitting schemes, benefiting the whole of the Council.
A list of missing links had been prioritised in terms of the potential positive impact. However, should a funding opportunity have arose that could assist the implementation of another scheme, then this would ultimately assist in achieving a more joined up network.
During the meeting it was discussed that Funding was still available for young people studingy at Middlesbrough College to purcshase an incentivised scheme package.
The report outlined in further detail that there were three options available:
Option 1 - Do nothing.
Option 2 - Partially adopt the 10 year plan.
Option 3 - Fully adopt the 10 year plan (Preferred).
That the 10-year cycle infrastructure plan as outlined within the report be approved.
The decision was supported by the following reasons:
To improve the health of Middlesbrough residents via encouraging Active Travel.
To improve access to both existing and proposed facilities and services within the Town via sustainable transport.
To try to boost economic activity in the town, to assist with existing businesses and try to attract new business to the town.
To aspire to be a cycling city that actively encourages more people cycling more often in a safer manner.