Increasing cycling is being encouraged at all levels, the Government’s Cycling and Walking Investment Strategy sets a national policy framework and at a local level the Essex Cycling Strategy takes a county specific approach which aims to ENABLE, PROMOTE and PROVIDE cycling in Essex.
A programme of activities has been developed to implement the strategy which has projects and schemes which are in various stages of delivery. Projects and schemes are either In Progress, Planned or Proposed. In order to keep you updated of the progress taking place we have provided a summary of the key schemes below:
Work in Progress:
Coherent Cycle Networks
- Cycling Action Plans and Flagship Routes
Essex is committed to establishing a coherent, comprehensive and advantageous cycle network in every major urban area, utilising a combination of on-carriageway and off-carriageway cycle facilities. To enable this, each Borough/ District in Essex will have an up-to-date Cycling Action Plan (renewed every five years). These are seen as key elements of a long term plan that will lead to a significant and sustained increase in cycling in Essex.
These are draft Cycling Action Plan maps and, although the potential schemes have been developed in discussion with stakeholders, further consultation is required before the routes can be finalised.
Governance of the Essex Cycling Strategy
- Essex Cycling Steering Group
The Essex Cycling Steering Group (ECSG) is made up of representatives from key cycling infrastructure providers, promoters and partners in Essex (including ECC Economic Growth & Development, Public Health, Active Essex, Essex Police, Sustrans, CTC, rail operators and voluntary organisations). The group co-ordinates cycling related schemes and activities, monitors their progress, reports on outcomes and shares examples of best practice.
In addition to the delivery of the strategy through both Engagement and Local Plans, there is a formalised programme to deliver the strategy, a programme group has been established which oversees the key strategy components (Enable, Promote and Provide) and the work streams of activities will deliver the Strategy.
- Essex Cycling Ambassadors
In order to help increase support for local initiatives, Change the image of cycling in Essex to a safe, normal and enjoyable everyday activity and help promote a ‘Cycle Essex’ brand Active Essex has been commissioned to deliver a project initially called Essex Cycling Ambassadors (ECA) to emulate the highly successful “This Girl Can” Ambassador programme. The ECA will develop key messages to enable a social movement marketing campaign. For more information and to find out how to become an Ambassador visit the Active Essex website.
A step change in the provision of cycling infrastructure and promotion will require an increase in funding over and above the current level of funding for cycling in Essex.
As a result a pipeline to scheme implementation is being developed which includes:
- Cycling Action Plans (CAPs). Strategic cycling network planning in every major urban area, utilising a combination of on-carriageway and off-carriageway cycle facilities
- Local Cycling and Walking Infrastructure Plans (LCWIPs), as set out in the Government’s Cycling and Walking Investment Strategy, are a new, strategic approach to identifying cycling and walking improvements required at the local level. ECC have been awarded technical support to assist in the production of LCWIPs from the DfT.
- Advanced Scheme Design (ASD). To ensure the cycling infrastructure we design looks attractive, serves its purpose and encourages more people to cycle.
- Capital Funding to deliver high quality cycling infrastructure.
Best Practice Design
ECC are committed to ensuring that the cycling infrastructure we design looks attractive, serves its purpose and encourages more people to cycle.
In order to facilitate this the following initiatives are already underway:
- Chelmsford City Growth Package demonstrates how ECC are looking at continental and UK best practice when it comes to cycle design.
- Cycle Design Champions. Creation of a network of Cycle Infrastructure experts within Essex Highways. This will create a support network of experienced cycle infrastructure experts to help/challenge designers of new schemes.
- Cycle Design Forum. To assess the effectiveness of existing and new cycling infrastructure, engage with local stakeholders and share best practice across the county.
- Essex Cycle Design Portal. To help us achieve ‘Best Practice’ cycle design across Essex, we’ve been working to bring together ideas for an Essex Cycle Design Portal. The aim is that the portal will be a specific Essex Cycling Design guide that incorporates national best practice and provides a ‘tool kit’ for cycle route assessment and design.
- Training sessions from external stakeholders and partners e.g. Cyclehoop, Sustrans etc.
- Study trips for designers, planners and members to see examples of good cycling design practice first hand in other UK towns and cities.
A ‘Cycle Essex’ brand
In order to maximise the benefit of good quality cycle facilities, there needs to be a significant increase in the promotion of these facilities and an encouragement of cycling in general.
Therefore we have:
- Refreshed webpages and information on cycling
- #CycleEssex Twitter feed providing and sharing information on cycling in Essex
- Union Cycliste Internationale (UCI) Bike Region Label. The UCI were very impressed by the plans presented by Essex, and will eagerly follow the outcomes of the Essex Cycling Strategy, they felt that it may be too early to award the label as the region has not recently hosted a UCI World Cup or World Championship, nor has any set in the coming years.
- Raised the profile of cycling in Essex by submitting a bid to the National Transport Awards 2017 Excellence in Cycling and Walking
High Profile Events
Essex has been very successful in attracting high profile cycling events to the County that have been well attended by the public. We want to use those events to encourage people to make the step from spectator to cyclist.
Delivering High Profile events in Essex is a task for both the county council and our key partners. To achieve the level of ambition we have set ourselves in the Cycling Strategy we will require joined up approaches and collaborations with our partners, to bring together the knowledge and expertise from a range of organisations for the purposes of raising the profile of cycling.
- Bike Week. ECC supports Bike Week which is an annual opportunity to promote cycling, and show how cycling can easily be part of everyday life by encouraging ‘everyday cycling for everyone’. Demonstrating the social, health and environmental benefits of cycling, the week aims to get people to give cycling a go all over the UK, whether this be for fun, as a means of getting around to work or school, the local shops or just to visit friends.
Increased support for local initiatives
Local initiatives are particularly effective at engaging with people on a personal level. ECC supports community providers/charities who are already developing/promoting cycling well. See the ‘Local Maps and Initiatives’ pages within this website for some of the local initiatives already supported by Essex County Council.
Other examples include:
- Isle of Wight 'Bicycle Island' research. A key aim of the project is to capture data from new, novice or lapsed cyclists who participate in cycling experiences while on holiday on the Isle of Wight, with a view to encouraging the same participants to continue to cycle more often when they return home.
- Dockless Bike Sharing. Could it be coming to Essex? Watch this space.
- SEAT. South Essex Active Travel will facilitate a step-change in the area’s approach to sustainable transport; using targeted travel engagement with jobseekers, young people, newly recruited employees, students, lower socio-economic communities and volunteers so they can use active travel to get to work, training and educational opportunities and fully contribute to the local economy. Targeting six local Growth Areas, the programme will increase active travel by tailoring packages of advice, support and promotion to each of these groups – enhancing their access to the 12,100 new jobs and 10,500 education and training opportunities available in South Essex over the next three years.