Kent County Council has welcomed news that government has awarded £1.6 million to help make active travel easier.
The Department for Transport cash is specifically to invest in walking and cycling initiatives across the county.
Among those schemes now to be put in place within the next eight weeks by Kent Highways are:
- improvements to the crab and winkle cycle route
- light segregation of cycling routes in Tunbridge Wells
- A trial of a town-wide 20mph zone in Faversham
- a school street scheme at Drapers Mill School
- a new shared cycle route in Hythe
- St Dunstan’s Street, Canterbury modal filters and road closures
Kent County Council Cabinet Member for Highways and Transport Michael Payne said: “My thanks go to the Kent Highways officers who have been working hard behind the scenes so we are in a position to implement a first tranche of schemes.
“Kent Highways has been successful in being granted 100% of the money that we were able to bid for at this stage.
“This means that some ready to roll schemes from amongst the many ideas that have been worked upon and lots of other good ideas can now be put in place.
“I wish to see the advantages that we have all been able to share from the recent enforced confinement locked in, with trials such as these across Kent.
“If these initial trials are successful, and we subsequently receive the second tranche of monies that the Government has said it is prepared to allocate to Kent, even more schemes can be prioritised with the involvement of Members of Kent County Council.
“We have to be realistic in that the first round of schemes will not satisfy everyone who has made suggestions, but by concept testing, in a way that has not been previously affordable, we have the chance to encourage more cycling and walking and make our roads safer for all users.
“After all, who does not want cleaner air and less traffic congestion as well as safer streets?”
A new town-wide 20mph zone in Faversham is to be created as part of plans to increase active travel.
Work in Faversham is estimated to start within the next four weeks and be substantially completed by August
Faversham’s new 20mph zone will be supported by road markings and 20mph signs and gateways approaching to the town.
Kent County Council Cabinet Member for Highways and Transport Michael Payne said: “I’m grateful that we’ve been able to get this plan off the ground and, because of the timescales involved, it will be a little different to how we usually do things.
“Throughout this trial we will be monitoring how it performs and consulting with people on whether they approve of the scheme – usually this would happen beforehand.
“There are studies that show 20mph schemes encourage healthier transport choices such as walking and cycling, and they increase levels of walking and cycling by about a fifth.
“I hope this trial will encourage that behaviour from the Faversham community and that they benefit from lower traffic levels, reduced congestion, and less road noise.
“We’re anticipating more people will be travelling to work and to school by bike or on foot so we’re hopeful this change will make a real difference.”
The funding for the scheme was secured with £1.6 million by the Department for Transport to put schemes in place across the county.
Government is investing £70 million to help restart local economies and make roads safer for pedestrians and cyclists.
If the initial grant is spent within eight weeks, KCC will have access to full funding of just over £8 million for further active travel schemes across the county.
With a tight timeframe, KCC is working with Faversham Town Council and its 20s Plenty Committee to get this new scheme installed.
This group has been working on the scheme for the last five years so good plans were already in place.
Mr Payne added: “I would encourage all drivers to keep to 20mph in Faversham, it is down solely to you to drive responsibly.
“There will be people who think it doesn’t apply to them or that it’s not enforceable or that it is too slow – we want people to think about the speed they’re doing. Is it appropriate for Faversham’s roads?
“This isn’t only about speeding or even driving at the speed limit, people need to consider the environment they’re driving in, particularly as more pedestrians and cyclists will be on our roads.
“Pedestrians will need to ensure they don’t get complacent and feel that they do not need to be responsible for their own actions because of the lower speed limit.
“Cyclists too will also need to keep to the 20mph limit and cycle within an appropriate speed for the road environment.”