Peter Langridge (Sustrans community liaison officer) and Peter Challis (Sustrans network development manager)

From L to R: Stuart Langridge (Sustrans community liaison officer) and Peter Challis (Sustrans network development manager)

The sustainable transport charity Sustrans wants to improve the Kennet cycle and foot path between Reading town centre and Fobney Lock. Improvements could include the removal of motorcycle barriers as well as resurfacing and tidying up the path.

“One of the outstanding issues about which we get a lot of complaints are the barriers such as the ones on route 4 as you come through Reading. These are not just at Waterloo Meadows, but also at the IDR underpass and at Fobney,” said the Sustrans network development manager Peter Challis at the Katesgrove Community Association meeting on 10 July.

Sustrans don’t own most of the UK’s walking and cycling network, but they are custodians of it, and have recently completed a survey of all 16,000 miles.

“Much of the network was opened over twenty years ago, and it’s now showing its age. It also has accessibility problems. There are about 16,000 barriers across the 16,000 miles of the UK network. This makes a big difference to peoples’ experience of the path, especially if you have a baby buggy or a bike with panniers.”

Sustrans say they have 20-year plan to improve the network. They intend to start on a few dozen more manageable activation projects, one of which is to improve the route through Reading. The Department for Transport have given Sustrans £21 million for these activation projects.

“We recognise the barriers were put there to stop motorbikes from using the path, but we think its important to make the route properly accessible,” said Peter Challis, adding that Sustrans had already discussed ideas with local councillors, Thames Valley Police and the Canal and River Trust, who own land at Fobney.

Sustrans now need public feedback on their proposals, and have invited local residents to complete their online survey, which closes on 31 October. They plan to complete work on the Kennet path in Reading by March 2020.


Links
  1. Sustrans paths for everyone and Reading Barriers projects
  2. Sustrans survey for users of the Kennet Path
  3. Why every day should be a Cycle to Work Day
  4. £23 million government funding boost to cycling and walking nationwide (Department for Transport)
  5. Katesgrove Community Association
  6. Kennet path motorbike barriers discussed at KCA on 10 July
  7. Canal and River Trust
  8. Reading Borough Council