The Welsh Government has today announced £38 million in funding to help make Wales a safer place to cycle, scoot and walk.
The Coronavirus pandemic has led to a significant change in people’s travel habits, with many more people walking and cycling than before. Wales’ Deputy Minister for Economy and Transport Lee Waters has said he is determined to take the “golden opportunity for change” and make sure people continue to ditch the car once the pandemic is over;
“Coronavirus has brought much hardship and tragedy. It has also presented us with a golden opportunity for change – one which I am determined to grasp with both hands.
“More people than ever before are walking and cycling to work, visit friends and pop to the shop. With fewer cars on the road, first-time cyclists have had the confidence to rent, borrow or buy a bike, rather than reaching for the car keys.
“However, as coronavirus restrictions ease and our roads become busier, it’s vital our roads remain walking and cycle-friendly if a long term change to our travel habits is to succeed. That’s exactly what I hope the £38 million I’ve announced today will achieve.
“This £38m is a very significant investment in creating safe travel routes and better connections in our towns and cities, so people still have the confidence to cycle and walk around Wales even when our lives return to normal.”
The £38 million, together with £15.4m announced last month is to fund projects to make it safer for people of all ages to travel by foot, bike or scooter in Wales.
Examples of how the money will be spent include in Shotton, where £259,000 is to be spent building a walkway over a railway bridge. Over schemes will see the implementation of 20mph speed limits outside 6 schools and new cycle routes and junction improvements.
The Deputy Minister is urging local authorities to work with their communities to develop schemes to encourage more travel by walking and cycling, which can bring significant health benefits and, of course, can help to protect the environment.
In England, schemes have also been announced during lockdown to encourage more people to cycle and walk, while investments such as pop-up cycle lanes have been promised. UK Transport Secretary Grant Shapps told MPs last month that bike usage in England doubled during the week at the height of the Coronavirus lockdown, while it trebled at weekends.