Suffolk cycle facilities to be expanded and made permanent
Plans have been filed for 200 temporary bicycle stands introduced across the county during Covid-19 to be turned into permanent stations – with rental programs, fob access and the ability to make minor repairs every add-on.
Suffolk County Council used government money at the height of the Covid-19 pandemic to introduce 200 bike stations in city hot spots as part of measures to encourage people to use bicycles , and was able to test the locations by moving them to where needed.
As part of its phase two plan, the authority confirmed its intention to provide high-quality permanent parking areas for bicycles to encourage people to continue using their bicycles in the future.
The plan states that these will be closed structures with panels and lighting powered by sustainable means, and “would like to include as standard in these facilities basic cycle maintenance tools such as pumps, keys, etc. ., so that people can carry out routine repairs on a small scale ”.
The plan’s timeline suggests that public engagement on these plans will take place this summer, with installation starting as early as October or November.
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Richard Smith, member of the Conservative Cabinet for Highways and Strategic Transport at Suffolk County Council, said: “If we can provide more high-quality bicycle storage, we can remove one of the main barriers preventing more of people to cycle regularly.
“We have provided more than 200 temporary bicycle racks as part of our response to the Covid-19 pandemic and we intend to install permanent bicycle storage where it is most needed and where there are the most advantages to doing so. The intention is to provide bicycle shelters in residential areas where there is a lack of alternative offers and in city centers to provide high quality bicycle storage at either end of people’s journeys.
“We are exploring the possibility of a rental program where people can pay an annual fee to have fob access to bicycle shelters, thereby improving safety and providing peace of mind to people who choose to cycle.
“Part of the County Council Active Travel Fund allocation has been set aside to make improvements, however, it is important that we focus our attention on programs that offer good value for money.”
The authority would not say how much the temporary stands cost or how much investment will be made in the new permanent storage facilities.