New landmark cycle path connecting Gloucester and Cheltenham
The six-mile route will include a footpath for pedestrians and a ‘buffer’ to separate cyclists from road traffic making it safer and more enjoyable. This was a key change made to the design following feedback from residents and industry specialists.
When finished the path will stretch between Arle Court roundabout in west Cheltenham to London Road in Gloucester, via Staverton, Churchdown and Longlevens.
The new cycle path will provide a continuous off road route for cyclists of all ages and abilities, connecting with a new cycle path under construction along the A40 in Benhall and with the London Road cycle lanes completed last year in Kingsholm.
By providing residents of Cheltenham, Churchdown, and Gloucester with a safe cycle link to two railway stations, the University of Gloucestershire (Oxstalls Campus), Gloucestershire Royal Hospital, schools and business parks, cycling will become a convenient, safe and healthy choice for short trips to school, to work and for leisure. It is also a simple thing that we can do regularly to reduce our carbon emissions and tackle climate change.
With some parts of the route in Gloucester currently under design, the total cost of the scheme has yet to be finalised. National Highways is funding all design costs, a significant contribution is being made by Sustrans and Gloucestershire County Council is investing £3million from its budget this year.
The route will be built in sections starting from the M5 overbridge at Staverton to Pheasant Lane, with work due to start on 4 October. Residents have been sent letters informing them of the detail of the work.
This will be followed by the section between Pheasant Lane and Arle Court roundabout, which is planned for spring 2022. The whole route is expected to be completed in 2023.
Consultation took place on the designs for the scheme between Arle Court and Elmbridge earlier this year and following the feedback, significant changes have been made to make sure there is more space between cyclists, pedestrians and traffic.
As part of the review, the county council consulted with several leading industry experts, including Sustrans, who have approved the redesign.
The changes made include:
- providing more space for cyclists and pedestrians
- giving cyclists protected space away from traffic on the main road to improve safety
- redesigning side road junctions to create a continuous route where cyclists don’t have to stop frequently
To accommodate these changes and increase safety for everyone, it is being proposed to reduce the speed limit along the route from 50mph to 30mph and consultation will be taking place on this proposal. These changes are also required to ensure that the route meets new national cycle standards, which is a condition of government funding for new cycle schemes.
The 30mph speed limit will be in place during the works to improve the safety of crews working near the road.
Sarah Leeming, Interim Director for South of England at Sustrans, said: “We’re delighted to see work start on the route connecting Gloucester and Cheltenham. This high quality link will enable people of all ages and abilities to walk, wheel, scoot and cycle to work, school or for everyday journeys.
“The Council really have taken on board the views of the public and stakeholders resulting in a better solution for everyone. This new path will provide a real alternative to driving, enabling people to be active, benefiting their health and our environment.”
Cllr David Gray, cabinet member for environment and planning, said: “I’m delighted that work on this fantastic new cycle path is starting soon. We are committed to improving cycling facilities and this will provide a safe route between Gloucester and Cheltenham to enable active travel, while reducing carbon emissions, and take steps towards a Greener Gloucestershire for all.
“I would like to thank everyone who provided feedback to us on the plans – we have redesigned it taking these into consideration. The scheme provides the best possible facilities and a safe and accessible route for everyone.”
For more information on the scheme and the new design improvements that have been made see www.gloucestershire.gov.uk/B4063
Swapping to a lower carbon mode of travel will help us work towards a Greener Gloucestershire by improving air quality. You can sign up to receive the new ‘Greener Gloucestershire’ newsletter, to keep up to date on local activity, as well as to receive hints and tips on how you can reduce carbon emissions and take action to protect the future of our environment. Find out more about the different projects by heading to the website and follow #GreenerGloucestershire on social media.