Liberal Democrats present Petition for Safe Walking and Cycling on the South Wokingham Distributor Road
On 18th March Wokingham Borough Liberal Democrats presented a petition to Wokingham Borough Council calling for redesign of the South Wokingham Distributor Road (SWDR) and its connections for safe walking and cycling.
The current design for the SWDR and its new connections into the road network expect pedestrians and cyclists to share the same footway or cyclists to share the road with traffic. With 2,500 houses planned in this area plus through traffic, congestion on the shared footway and safety concerns will be a real barrier to people travelling on foot or by bike. More than 200 local people signed the petition, which was organized online due to the pandemic.
Presenting the petition, Liberal Democrat candidate for Wokingham Without Rob Comber implored the Council to “Make it safe and encouraging for non-motor vehicle users, and help prepare us for the next twenty years. A small amount of time and money now will save us a fortune in the future and provide for a better standard of life right from the start.”
This same week, on 15th March Wokingham Borough Council belatedly agreed that it would follow government guidance from July 2020 that pedestrians and cyclists should not be expected to share a path where flows of each are high and for continuous and safe cycles routes at junctions and roundabouts.
Cllr Paul Fishwick, Lib Dem spokesperson for highways and transport said that “whilst we welcome the council finally agreeing to follow this important guidance, we are disappointed that it has not committed to doing so for any scheme that has already started design, such as the SWDR and the connecting Western Gateway Roundabout.”
Cllr Fishwick added that “these 2 schemes were due to be reviewed by the Planning Committee on 24th March where objections to the design from the community would be aired. However, we understand that this has now been postponed to the other side of the local elections. Whilst we hope that the delay is a sign that the necessary improvements will be made, we fear that it could also be a way of shifting this unpopular decision to beyond the election.”
If elected in May, Wokingham Borough Liberal Democrats will develop a network of high-quality walking and safe cycling routes to link residential areas, local businesses, shops, schools and transport hubs. We will prioritise this over investment in schemes that will only encourage additional motorised traffic onto the roads, as a part of our commitment to addressing the climate emergency and poor air quality.