"A golden opportunity for change" says Deputy Minister Lee Waters

Lee Waters, Deputy Minister for Economy and Transport, is determined to grasp an opportunity for change and make sure people continue to ditch the car in favour of cycling or walking when the coronavirus pandemic is over.

  • Visible increases in number of people cycling and walking
  • £38 million to make Wales a safer place to cycle, scoot and walk
  • Biggest ever investment in local active travel improvements

Today, the Welsh Government has announced £38 million to make Wales a safer place to cycle, scoot and walk.

Together with the £15.4m announced last month, this is the largest ever investment in local active travel improvements in Wales, which will fund projects to make it safer for children and adults to get to school or work on foot, bike or scooter.

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Wales Leads the Way on Reducing Speed to Save Lives

Lives can be saved across Wales by reducing default speed limits from 30mph to 20mph, says Deputy Minister for Economy and Transport Lee Waters. The Deputy Minister has introduced an independent report recommending that Wales becomes the first nation in the world to adopt the bold new measure by 2023.

The result of a year-long study by a taskforce made up of police, local authorities, public health experts and other key partners such as road safety groups, the report makes 21 practical recommendations for implementation across Wales.

Lee Waters said, “Eighty children were killed or seriously injured in Wales in the last year for which we have figures.

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Gwynedd Scheme Aims to Give Cyclists Safer Space

A new scheme to remind drivers of the minimum space needed to ensure safety when passing a cyclist has been launched by Gwynedd Council. The first of their kind in the UK, the road signs installed along popular routes in Snowdonia are urging motorists to give cyclists 1.5 metres.

As part of a trial, the Council has received Welsh Government support to install the signage at locations along roads popular with cyclists in the northern part of the county.

Councillor Gareth Griffith, Gwynedd Council Cabinet Member for the Environment, said, “More people have made the most of the quieter roads during lockdown, but with traffic slowly increasing, Gwynedd Council is eager to ensure that cyclists continue get the respect and space they deserve on our roads.

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New School Traffic Schemes to Maintain Social Distancing

A series of new traffic schemes have been put in place across Cardiff at 27 sites, to ensure children and families can maintain social distancing safely and be supported to use active travel.

Other measures will include the widening of pavements and pathways and the introduction of temporary 20mph limits on roads at some school sites.

Cabinet Member for Education, Employment and Skills, Cllr Sarah Merry said, "A great deal of work has been undertaken with schools so that they can operate in physically distanced environments. These new traffic measures will allow children and families to arrive and depart from school safely, in addition to the physical distancing measures that will be in place during the school day.

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Funding for Local Sustainable Transport Measures in Response to Covid-19

Lee Waters MS, Deputy Minister for Economy and Transport has announced funding of £15.4m to local authorities to introduce measures to improve the safety and conditions for sustainable and active travel modes in their area in response to the Covid-19 crisis and to achieve sustained changes in travel behaviour in the future:

"The Welsh Government received a total of 209 proposals for measures from all local authorities in response to the invitation for expressions of interest. This clearly demonstrates the need, and willingness of local authorities, to introduce measures to protect public health and safety and to enable people to choose the healthiest and most sustainable transport modes for shorter journeys now and in the future. During the lockdown period there were large increases in walking and cycling among individuals and families, both for exercise and to make necessary journeys. We now need to act to maintain these healthy and climate friendly travel behaviours and prevent a return to heavily car-dependent travel choices.

"Among the diverse measures planned at the local level, I have asked local authorities to clearly prioritise delivery of those schemes which can be completed within the next three to four months and have the greatest impact in their local area.

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Cardiff’s Plan to Exit Lockdown As One of UK’s ‘Safest’ Cities Revealed

Creating one-way walking systems to safeguard the public, setting up welcome points to explain how moving round the city centre will work and opening up Cardiff Castle's grounds to create a ‘new' public square for local businesses to use are just some of the schemes Cardiff Council is considering as it prepares to exit lockdown.

The measures include:

Welcome Points - installed at the main pedestrian access points to the city. Welcome Points will offer information to the visitor/shopper/worker on how the city centre works, how to visit in a safe way, how to reach particular destinations, a walking plan, hand-washing facilities, cycle-parking facilities and a member of staff to assist. Signage and street ambassadors will also be available throughout the city centre to assist visitors and re-enforce the information provided at the welcome point.

One-way pedestrian movement - Pedestrians (shopper/workers/visitors) within the city centre will need to follow signed/marked routes to ensure social distancing is observed. A plan is being developed to cover all city centre streets, dependent upon footfall and the availability of safe (socially distanced) walking space.

Car Parking - many of the existing city centre car parks will need to operate at a reduced capacity in order to enable people to leave and return to their cars in a safe manner. A combined (public/private) approach to the availability of city centre car parking is being developed. To support this a comprehensive network of Park and Ride/Park and Stride/Park and Cycle facilities need to be developed to manage car access away from the centre, but to allow easy walking/cycling/bus access for the ‘last mile' of the journey.

Accessing the City Centre - An integrated city transport plan will help people access the city centre via car, public transport and active travel (walking or cycling).The transport plan could see the city centre put into ‘event mode'. This would see road closures similar to those put in place for major rugby internationals in the Principality Stadium.

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Funding for Highways and Transportation in Rhondda Cynon Taf

The Welsh Government has awarded £3.358m of highways and transportation funding to Rhondda Cynon Taf County Borough Council for 2020/21.

In May 2020, the Council agreed a £25.02m Highways Capital Programme for 2020/21, bringing the total investment in highways and transportation since 2015/16 to £146m. The latest Capital Programme shows that improving the highway network continues to be a Council investment priority.

The Council has recently received confirmation of its successful applications to Welsh Government for grant funding within the current financial year. This includes £2.73m across the Local Transport Fund (LTF) and the Local Transport Network Fund (LTNF), £419,500 from the Safe Routes in Communities Fund and £201,710 in Road Safety Grants, which includes:

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Active Travel Proposals in Wrexham

Wrexham Council has submitted a list of works totalling £3 million that could be carried out to improve Active Travel across the county borough if funds are made available by the Welsh Government.

Active Travel focuses on walking and cycling as a means of travelling on such as to work or school. It’s been high on our agenda for several years with works including the development of Active Travel Maps and a number of sessions of public consultation and engagement seeing a range of projects currently being developed for implementation.

The Welsh Government has recently written to Local Authorities requesting Expressions of Interest for sustainable transport measures.

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New Cycling and Walking Route Map Helps Keep Residents Local

Swansea Council has developed a walking and cycling route map to help guide residents along local routes in their communities.

With many residents choosing to walk or cycle as part of their daily exercise regime during the coronavirus restrictions, the Swansea Bayways Walk and Cycle Network map will help residents take advantage of routes on their doorstep.

The new map is part of the Council's ongoing efforts to encourage residents in the city to choose walking or cycling as a regular method of travelling for local journeys, as well as for health benefits.

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Councils Challenged To Change Wales’ Transport Environment During Coronavirus Lockdown

Lee Waters, the Welsh Government’s Deputy Transport Minister, has written to all local authorities inviting them to submit proposals for temporary measures that would improve the conditions for sustainable and active travel.

Coronavirus restrictions have led to significant reductions in traffic on roads, fewer people using public transport, and more people walking and cycling. The Welsh Government’s call to action is driven by the expectation that social distancing will need to be observed for months to come, as well as uncertainty around future transport patterns.

The lockdown has also seen a huge uptake in digital remote working, bringing the need to travel long distances for work into question.

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