‘Once-in-a-generation’ pop-up measures to boost cycling and walking in Exeter will stay in place until (at least) mid-October

Pop-up measures to boost cycling and walking in Exeter will remain in place until at least mid-October.

The city’s Highways and Traffic Orders Committee unanimously agreed that the ‘once-in-a-generation’ trial initiatives should be kept in place so their impact can be fully assessed.

It has also been proposed that a consultation takes place on whether to make the changes permanent.

They include Wonford Road, Dryden Road, Ludwell Lane, Homefield Road, Chard Road and Vaughan Road being closed to traffic and made exclusively accessible for cyclists, walkers and emergency vehicles.

Magdalen Road has become one-way between St Leonards Road and Denmark Road for vehicles heading towards Western Way, with an eastbound contraflow cycle lane.

A contraflow cycle lane is set to be installed in South Street, while modest changes are proposed for Fore Street.

Plans for a cycle lane in North Street have been dropped as they proved too complex and costly, while pushback from traders has seen a one-way system in Fore Street scrapped.

‘No entry’ restrictions in Ladysmith Road and Hamlin Road are on hold, while a temporary crossing and upgraded cycle route in Polsloe Road will now be taken forward as a permanent measure.

Will Pratt, principal transport planning officer, told the Exeter committee’s July meeting that, from 157 comments received, 57 per cent were in favour of the interventions.

He added that the response to the Ludwell Lane and Wonford Road measure had been especially popular, with changes to Vaughan Road had been the most unpopular.

Mr Pratt said: “Cycle flows increased by 50 per cent during lockdown and, with these measures, we sought to avoid the main roads into the city…so we made the changes of routes in residential areas, some of which are rat-runs.

“There have been some strong comments with a petition calling to remove them all, but others wanting to close more roads.

“We are keen to allow some time for the measures to settle in and for people to adapt their travel patterns and, after a period of time, we will have a clear understanding of how they impact on travel patterns.

“This is a once-in-a-generation opportunity to try stuff and it want to try it for at least three months before any changes to making them permanent are consulted on.”

Councillor David Harvey said: “The 40 per cent against will reduce as people don’t like change.

“I applaud the effort and energy people have put into this to make car journeys more difficult but still feasible…and this improves the environment for those who cycle, so please carry on with this.”

Cllr Carol Whitton added: “If we consulted on it now, we would receive the division between very strong opposition and support, so we need to leave the measures in place for time before undertaking the consultation and allow them to settle down before we can get the true picture.”

The committee unanimously agreed the current pop-up measures will remain in place until at least its next meeting on October 13.


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