New £1.25 million two-way cycle lane along Sunderland’s seafront approved

Plans for a new two-way cycle lane along a section of Sunderland’s seafront have been given the green light.

Wednesday, 16th June 2021, 5:48 pm
Sunderland City Council new cycle lane proposal along Whitburn Road.
Sunderland City Council new cycle lane proposal along Whitburn Road.

The £1.25 million project is due to start later this year and will stretch from the former Tram Shelter at Seaburn to the Bungalow Cafe at Roker along the A183 Whitburn Road.

According to a report that was prepared for city leaders this week, the cycle lane would improve road safety and support the Government’s vision to get more people active and using sustainable transport.

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The £1.25 million project is due to start later this year.

The report added that the Covid-19 pandemic has changed the way people travel, with cycling along the coastal route increasing by 128% compared to previous years.

This week, Sunderland City Council’s ruling cabinet approved plans to construct the route and funding arrangements for the delivery of the works.

Councillor Claire Rowntree, deputy leader of the council, introduced a report on the scheme at Tuesday’s (June 15) cabinet meeting.

“The main aim for the project is to reallocate existing road space to allow for full segregation between pedestrians, cyclists and vehicles,” she said.

“[This aims to] improve and create sustainable transport links in and around the city, while at the same time, having no significant impact on motorists travelling along this route by keeping a two-way vehicle traffic route.

“The proposals are in keeping with the council’s commitment to create a healthy and prosperous city, helping promote the use of alternative modes of transport and healthy living, supporting the work undertaken in recent years towards the implementation of a city-wide, off-carriageway, shared used pedestrian cycle network.”

A report prepared for cabinet said that not pursuing the scheme would fail to address the need to continue improving road safety and making the highway more accessible.

The report added that the external Active Travel Fund allocation would be lost if its recommendations to approve the scheme were rejected.

To maintain two-way traffic flow along the route, it is required to remove the central hatch road markings including any ‘right turn pockets’.

Any cars which need to turn right into any of the seven junctions from the A183 would need to wait on the main thoroughfare (southbound lane only) or use alternative access routes.

Although council chiefs say traffic flows would be impeded by vehicles making this manoeuvre, it would provide a traffic calming feature helping to reduce vehicle speeds.

In addition, the scheme will involve the introduction of new crossings, cycle parking facilities in key locations along the route and improved access at existing bus stop facilities.

Works to create the segregated on-road cycle lane are planned to take place in September 2021 and should take no longer than 26 weeks to complete.

Construction has been planned outside the school holidays to minimise disruption to all users of the seafront, such as residents, businesses, visitors and holiday-makers.

*Since the meeting Sunderland City Council has clarified that the cycle lane will be subject to further public engagement with residents, businesses and the wider community in coming weeks.

During this time, they will have the opportunity to provide views and feedback which will allow the council to make an informed choice if the proposed dedicated two-way cycleway has the required support.

If the project does have the 'necessary support,' works to create the new cycle lane are planned to start in autumn 2021.

Construction is planned to take place outside the school holidays to minimise disruption to all users of the seafront, such as residents, businesses, visitors and holiday-makers.

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