Map shows Northamptonshire's residents have 1,000 ideas for how county could be safer for cyclists

A county council online map has been flooded with suggestions

Saturday, 13th June 2020, 6:00 am
Northamptonshire's residents have put forward thousands of ideas to make the county safer for cyclists and pedestrians.

Northamptonshire's residents has pitched more than a thousand ideas for how the county could be made safer for cyclists and walkers.

On June 5, the county council launched the 'Safer Streets Northamptonshire' map as part of a £1.7m Government plan to improve footpaths and cycle routes for 'essential trips' during the Covid-19 pandemic.

The map asks for residents to flag issues in their area that could be addressed to make social distancing easier for cyclists and pedestrians, such as wider paths or dropped kerbs.

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Northamptonshire's Safer Streets map as of June 12.

Now, only a week after the map was launched, residents have listed nearly 1,100 issues they want to see addressed to make the county safer to travel.

The scheme is part of the Government's Active Travel Emergency Fund, which initially gave £351,000 to the county council for temporary projects like closing roads and using cones widen pathways.

Additionally, visitors to the map can "agree" with suggestions to show their support - in one case, a comment to use parking spaces outside the Kafebloc cafe in Kettering as outside seating rather than sit in its small premises has received 133 votes.

Funding could rise to as much as £1.7m if the council is able to decide on what issues to address and begin work within the next four weeks.

Steve Miller, from Northampton Green Party, said: "This is an opportunity for people to have their say. The important thing now is that the council does something with it.

"It's very different to a normal council consultation that offers option A or option B.

"My only concern is it might have been left too late now that shops will be reopening next week."

It comes after a Northamptonshire bike store told the Chronicle & Echo last month demand for bicycles has never been higher than under the lockdown.Councillor Jason Smithers, Northamptonshire County Council cabinet member for highways said: "“The aim is to encourage people to cycle and walk rather than use public transport.

"We submitted our initial, outline plans to the Department for Transport as required and we shall now continue to work up to more detailed, location-specific plans.

“Meanwhile, districts and boroughs were granted funding under a Reopening High Streets Safely Fund. This enables districts and boroughs to make changes to public places such as town/ village centres and high streets to make them suitable and safe for social distancing."