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A woman on a bike cycling in front of Northolt library.

Creating new cycle routes 

Based on a consultation with local people last year, the council has created its first ever resident-backed cycle network plan to reduce the barriers cyclists face and encourage people to try cycling. Now it’s time for residents to make sure the council has got it right.

Last year, Ealing Council asked residents in a public consultation what they think of cycling in the borough, including issues with key routes and how the council should prioritise creating a cycle network. The council received over 1,100 responses and based on this created a map of where new cycle routes should go.

The map shows the existing and proposed cycle routes that it is hoped to deliver over the next ten years, subject to funding. The strategic routes will enable cycling between town centres and along key routes such as the Uxbridge Road. It also includes a proposed network of safe residential and off-road cycle routes to connect the existing routes and link to the strategic routes. As funding becomes available, the aim is to connect Ealing to neighbouring boroughs and build better connections within the borough.

The routes were developed following suggestions in the consultation.

Additional questions have allowed the council to gather further information and here are some of the things residents said:

Barriers to cycling 

When asked ‘what prevents you from cycling, or cycling more?’, the most frequent response was a lack of safe cycle lanes, which is why the council has created the draft cycle network plan as part of a £10million investment in active travel.

To address issues with potholes and obstructions in cycle lanes, the council has also committed to going beyond its statutory duty and filling shallower potholes, in addition to buying smaller footway mechanical cleaners, which are able to clean segregated cycle lanes.

The consultation responses also included concerns about safe places to park or store bikes. The council has been tackling this by adding cycle hangars across the borough.

Among the other responses included age, health, and lack of cycling skill. However, these don’t necessarily need to be barriers to cycling. For example, older people and disabled people can find an e-bike easier to ride.

Free training 

80% of respondents felt confident enough to cycle alone on the borough’s roads, but raised safety concerns about specific places. If you want to gain more experience and confidence cycling on the borough’s roads, you can take part in free cycle sessions offered by the council for all ages. Provided by experienced, specialist trainers, the training can give you more confidence, no matter your age, skill level or cycle terrain.  

Bike storage 

Other responses to the consultation included concerns about lack of safe cycle storage. As part of the council’s commitment to have 150 bike hangars by 2026, there are now almost 100 bike hangars across the borough, with 54 installed in 2023 alone. Borough’s bike hangars are also the cheapest in London at just 70p a month.

Bike routes

The consultation also asked people to pin the ‘start’ and end’ points of a journey they would like to complete by bike. Residents provided hundreds of data points, which were mapped to develop the routes on the cycle network plan. Many residents said they wanted to cycle out of the borough, especially to areas like Shepherd’s Bush and Chiswick. 

‘Improving existing routes, creating new ones’

Councillor Deirdre Costigan, deputy leader and cabinet member for climate action commented: “Cycling is great – it’s not only healthy, but also improves air quality and reduces harmful emissions from cars.

“As part of our £10million active travel investment, we are improving existing cycle routes and creating new ones. Since December last year residents can enjoy the new cycle lane along the Greenford Road and we will shortly be opening the Kensington Road cycle lane in Northolt.

“I’m delighted we’ve been able to use the experience of local residents to create our first ever cycle network plan. I encourage residents to take a look at the map and let us know if we’ve identified the right routes to help us all get on our bikes.”

More on the network plan

The consultation findings and proposed cycle network map can be found on the council’s website. The council wants to ensure that the borough’s cycle network plan fully reflects the needs of residents. you can share your comments and feedback by 6 April 2024 on the council’s website, before a final plan is published.

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