Abbey Road active travel scheme backed by councillors

Councillors have endorsed preliminary designs for a new cycling, walking and wheeling route along Abbey Road in Barrow.

A meeting of Westmorland and Furness Council’s Furness Locality Board, which is made up of councillors representing the Barrow area, agreed this week (12 July) the new cycleway option along Abbey Road should be in the footway space, rather than in the carriageway.

This mirrors the preferences of a majority of respondents to a recent consultation on the scheme designs.

The recommended design backed by the Locality Board also includes other features supported by consultation results.

Responses from hundreds of residents and key stakeholders showed people wanted segregated crossing facilities for pedestrians and cyclists across side road junctions, cycle lanes to run to the rear of bus shelters and for there to be minimal changes to the existing traffic lanes along the road to reduce the potential impact on journey times for motorists.

The agreed preliminary design will now form the basis of the detailed design, with construction of the new route scheduled for 2024.

Chairman of the Furness Locality Board, Councillor Tony Callister, said: “It is great to see that the views expressed in the recent consultation have been incorporated in to the preliminary designs for Abbey Road.

“We now look forward to seeing the new route provide a safe, healthy and environmentally friendly option for travels across Barrow.’’

The consultation, which ran between 19 May and 9 June, invited views on design options for two new ‘active travel’ cycling, walking and wheeling routes for Barrow – one on Abbey Road from Park Drive down to Ramsden Square and a second route across Walney Island from the promenade to Earnse Bay.

The preferred design of the Walney route will be agreed at a later meeting of the Locality Board.

Drop-in events as part of the consultation were held at the Forum, Barrow Library and the Roundhouse Cafe on Walney and a consultation survey was available online and as a print document from libraries and council buildings.

Key stakeholders, including disability and inclusion organisations, community and cycle user groups and blue light services, also shared their views at focus group sessions.

The alignment of both the Abbey Road and Walney routes has already been agreed, following previous consultations on the Local Cycling and Walking Infrastructure Plan (LCWIP) in 2021 and 2022, and this latest consultation focused on asking for people’s feedback on the emerging designs.

The routes will connect residential areas with major employment and education sites such as BAE Systems, Furness General Hospital, Furness College and the town centre, as well as allowing better access to green spaces and the coast, with leisure-based route options around the edge of town and on Walney.

Westmorland and Furness Council’s Cabinet member for Transport and Environmental Services, Councillor Neil Hughes, said: “I’m delighted that the Abbey Road design has been endorsed by the Furness Locality Board.

“It is important to us that decisions like this are taken by the councillors that represent the areas affected and I’m very happy the Barrow councillors have supported the proposals.

“These are exciting times for Barrow, with millions of pounds of investment in employment, education and regeneration creating the most significant opportunities for the town in decades.

“The creation of a new network of safe and sustainable cycle routes will support Barrow’s expansion and improve connections between neighbourhoods and key employment and education sites, making journeys by bike or on foot easier, safer and more enjoyable.’’

The new routes are being funded through the Brilliant Barrow Town Deal and the government’s Active Travel Fund.

It is the ambition of Westmorland and Furness Council to get more people cycling, walking and wheeling and that active travel should be the natural choice for everyday short journeys – being better for health and wellbeing, the environment and the local economy and supporting the council’s key Council Plan priorities on climate change, supporting sustainable economic growth and helping our communities to lead active, healthy lives.

The Barrow Active Travel Scheme consultation reports, summarising the results of the feedback received, will be available on the council website here from next week.

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