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Chesterfield Councillor calls on Derbyshire County Council to Rise to the Transport Challenge

July 1, 2020 4:31 PM

road closures

Time for a transport revolution

So Derbyshire County Council has closed Crow Lane to encourage people to cycle to the hospital. And they have decided to close South Place and Corporation street to vehicles though it is not clear why.

Did you know Derbyshire County Council received funding from the government to support the promotion of cycling and walking facilities. They received £443,000 from the governments Emergency Active Travel Fund to support the installation of temporary projects for the COVID-19 pandemic and a further £1,773,000 for the current financial year for the creation of longer-term projects. I think it would be good to know what and where DCC intend to spend this.

Some advice has been issued to ​local authorities on reallocating road space to encourage cycling/walking and to enable social distancing. But I find it difficult to see closing Corporation Street or South Place fall into these categories. I must be missing something.

The government has said that they expect local authorities to make significant changes to their road layouts to give more space to cyclists and pedestrians. Such changes will help embed altered behaviours and demonstrate the positive effects of active travel." And the Secretary of State for Transport went so far as to say "That is why towns and cities in the UK and around the world are making or proposing radical changes to their roads to accommodate active travel."

But I don't see evidence of this in Chesterfield despite the fact that it is the largest market town in the county. Is this not time for some blue sky thinking from Derbyshire County Council. Encouraging walking and cycling to school, for example through the introduction of 'school streets' where traffic is limited during drop off and pick up times. Introducing 20mph speed limits as an appropriate speed limit for residential roads, and through streets in built-up areas. Or trialling a bike hire scheme or supporting the introduction of e-bikes. I am sure people in Chesterfield would welcome opportunities for greener transport and better walking environments.

Lets hope Derbyshire County Council can rise to the challenge.

Keith Falconer

Lib Dem Councillor for Holmebrook