The number of homes in Aylesbury is planned to double over the next few years. This has presented the town with a unique opportunity to build cycle routes before the houses are built - rather than as a bolt on extra to existing infrastructure. This will ensure maximum use of the routes and ensure all cyclists have easy access to the town centre.
One of the main cycle route developments will be on a new £5 million bridge over the railway to the town centre, open to both cyclists and walkers and forming a major route linking residential areas. This striking design, with glass sides and the look of a suspension bridge, will really improve access for cyclists.
New signs showing how long the rides take to get into town will also be put in place. In addition to this, Aylesbury has already doubled the number of parking places for bikes at the station to 110 spaces.
In the past, Aylesbury has achieved real successes in encouraging people to use the bus as a means of transport. The town is hoping that with the support of Cycling England it can repeat this success with cycling.
We recently received approval from the Department for Transport for a departure from the standard cycling information sign (P2602.1) and we’ll now be using a band of colour to help brand all of our cycle routes. The new Gemstone Cycleways will use colour, new signing, information boards, individual route maps and direct marketing to promote the ease of cycling in Aylesbury.
At the end of 2006 we began to focus more of our time on infrastructure. Phase 1 of the Hub is now complete and this has dramatically increased provision for cycling around the inner ring road. Developments also include connecting the existing infrastructure with the Town Centre, as well as linking individual routes to each other to begin the process of creating a joined up cycleway network.
Our promotional/marketing programme is now taking shape for 2007/2008. Advertising at key locations such as train station and bus stops will concentrate on targeting commuters. This will be supported by a new Cycle Aylesbury brochure going out to 28,000 households, route maps and a comprehensive event schedule. Finally, we are producing a DL size booklet that will be distributed by local estate agents as part of their post sale service and through residential packs provided in new build properties.
Things are looking good in Aylesbury at the moment, as we are excited about new statistics from our cycle lane counters, which reflect a 25% increase in cycling in the first three months of 2006 compared with 2005 figures. This is brilliant news and although it is still early days in the project, it indicates that out work is already beginning to pay off.
For those of you who haven't seen it yet, the Aylesbury cycling website has gone live and can be viewed at www.cycleaylesbury.co.uk. The site was launched to coincide with the beginning of Bike Week and provides: information on cycling to work, school and leisure in Aylesbury; local cycle routes & maps; Cycle training; the Bike It Project; and information on how to purchase and maintain your bicycle.
In the summer we ran our 'Cycles for Africa' campaign, during which over 300 people brought their old bikes to Vale Park to be reconditioned. The bikes will now be checked out and reconditioned by inmates at HMP, The Mount, near Hemel Hempstead who work in the cycle workshop, before they are sent to Africa for reuse. It was so busy on the day that we even had to call in some extra large Lorries at the end to transport the bikes to our depot!
And the great news is that in August, in return for the generosity shown by Aylesbury residents we gave away 100 bikes in association with Mix 96 our local radio station. A hundred lucky Aylesbury residents who make the pledge to cycle at least once a week will be drawn at random from all the entries on the Cycle Aylesbury website and announced on air that they have won a bike.
Since the launch of the website, we have been successful in our funding application for £15m from the Government's newly created 'Community Infrastructure Fund'. This means that work on the Southcourt Bridge, which will cross the railway to the town centre and be open to both cyclists and walkers, can now go ahead.
We have also now agreed all the plans for cycle crossings over the ring road, so we know where our Toucans, Zebras and Tigers will be. The location of our first cycle storage facilities have also been finalised and will shortly be built in the Kingsbury town centre.
In the last few weeks of the month, we have been focusing on the production of a 12 page brochure which will be distributed to 26,000 homes in Aylesbury. The leaflet, which promotes cycling to potential cyclists, includes information on how to maintain your bike and where to receive cycle training as well as information on routes and facilities available in the town. The deadline for the brochure is the 3rd of March, so we are certainly busy at the moment! The launch is scheduled to take place on the 24th of March so more on that next month.
Please contact us at:
County Hall, Walton St, Aylesbury, HP20 1UA