4. A statutory requirement to consider cyclists’ and pedestrians’ needs in the planning system


This recommendation is grouped into the topic: Redesigning our roads, streets and communities

4. A statutory requirement that cyclists’ and pedestrians’ needs are considered at an early stage of all new development schemes, including housing and business developments as well as traffic and transport schemes, including funding through the planning system

Background and Evidence…

Too often cycle routes have been designed piecemeal or cyclists have been an afterthought in highway design. As we saw from some best practice areas, ‘thinking bike’ at the beginning of a design and planning process can reap dividends for other road users as well as cyclists.

We were struck by the Highways Agency witnesses’ candour in acknowledging that most of his profession had little knowledge or training in how to design for cycling. This will need to be remedied.

Official Department for Transport Response…

The National Planning Policy Framework introduced in 2011 sets out clearly that including facilities for cycling and walking should be part of delivering sustainable development.

The Department’s technical guidance on designing for residential developments, Manual for Streets, stresses the importance of design that meets the needs of all transport users. Section 1.1.4 says,

Streets should not be designed just to accommodate the movement of motor vehicles. It is important that designers place a high priority on meeting the needs of pedestrians, cyclists, and public transport users, so that growth in these modes of travel is encouraged.

The Department’s guidance on providing for cyclists, Local Transport Note 2/08: Cycle Infrastructure Design, also reiterates the importance of designers accommodating the needs of cyclists in street design.

The Government has already helped local authorities to provide for cyclists, for example by making it easier to introduce contraflow cycling using ‘no entry except cyclists’ signing. This was included in the area-wide authorisations sent to every local authority in England in October 2011. Contraflow cycling means that cyclists can use one-way streets to avoid the busiest roads and junctions.

Through the revised Traffic Signs Regulations and General Directions, due in 2015, Government will be making further changes to make it easier for councils to install cycle facilities, by removing the requirement for Traffic Orders for mandatory cycle lanes and exemptions for cyclists (such as ‘No Right Turn Except Cycles’).

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