It will also be used to look into the proposed re-design of Freetown Way
Government funding is expected to be used to continue to quiz the public over potential changes to the operation of all-day bus lanes in Hull.
City council leader Mike Ross has described a £95,824 grant to promote greener transport schemes in Hull as “disappointing”. The latest cash has come from the government’s Active Travel Capability Fund. Last month ministers announced £32.9m worth of support for local councils in England to design, develop and consult on schemes aimed at encouraging people to walk and cycle more.
The fund is being administered on behalf of the government by new-look cycling and walking body Active Travel England, which is being headed by former Olympic gold medal cyclist Chris Boardman. He said: “If we want to enable hundreds of thousands more people to walk, wheel and cycle for everyday trips then we need to deliver high-quality schemes that make it feel easy, fun and safe.
“Ensuring the right technical skills are in place at a local level is vital but so is engagement. Survey after survey has shown strong community support for making space for active travel but it is vital that people get strong input into helping to decide what is the right solution for their area.”
In Hull, the funding is expected to be used to continue public consultation over potential changes to the operation of all-day bus lane enforcement hours and a proposed re-design of Freetown Way in the city centre where segregated cycle lanes were installed for the first time as an experimental measure three years ago. However, it’s a drop in the ocean compared to the estimated £4m cost of carrying out the works on the route between Beverley Road and North Bridge.
The funding is also likely to cover ongoing council surveys on traffic flows across the city, the cost of producing a new citywide cycling map and the development of a new council infrastructure plan for walking and cycling.
Unlike previous Active Travel funding rounds, the latest allocations do not cover physical works but will instead support ‘back-office’ council transport teams. Under the first three funding rounds, Hull received just over £3.5m to roll out new-look bus and cycle lanes on the city’s main commuter routes, turn one-way streets in the city centre into two-way routes for cyclists and to carry out feasibility work into a proposed Dutch-style cycling zone covering KIngswood and Bransholme.
In a new decision record report confirming the latest grant award, Cllr Ross said: “I am supportive of receipt of this funding which will assist our programme of active travel measures, although I am disappointed at the amount the council has received considering the amount of funding available nationally.”
In the report, the council’s assistant director for major projects Garry Taylor added: “Active Travel England directed the council to allocate funding for capability building rather than behaviour change activities. The funding is predominantly being used to support the capability of the local authority to develop, monitor and consult on schemes rather than delivery.”
Cllr Ross has already spoken of his personal support for a return to peak time-only bus lane enforcement hours. despite strong opposition from bus operators. A report outlining future options on the issue is expected to be presented to the council’s cabinet soon.
Any changes to the existing all-day lanes would require further public consultation but speaking on BBC Radio Humberside recently, Cllr Ross said: “We promised when we became the administration to both be a listening council. We did a survey in the summer that went to every house in the city.
“The overwhelming message to us as an administration is that the public wants to see a return to peak-hours bus lanes. That is where we are as an administration and that is why we’ve asked for the council offices to come up with a report to present in the cabinet that sets out how that can be done.”