Walking and cycling through the centre of Stafford has just got easier thanks to the completion of an exciting new highways scheme on the National Cycle Network.
Councillor David Williams, Ridhi Kalaria (Sustrans) and highway engineers join cyclists enjoying the improvements.
The improvements to National Route 5 on the Network has addressed a section often referred to as the ‘missing link’.
It means that cyclists are now able to travel through Stafford directly rather than having to negotiate a former one-way street.
The works at South Walls included widening pavements to create a safe cycle and walking space as well as creating new crossings.
The work has also significantly improved the public realm for commuters and shoppers alike, and has helped regenerate that part of the town.
Changing travel behaviour
As part of the works, a two-lane road was reduced to one lane with minor lane marking amendments to improve traffic flow.
Changing the way people access the area is also expected to help to change travel behaviour and encourage more cycling and walking.
Activation projects on the Network
The scheme was put forward as one of many possible ‘activation projects’ to improve the National Cycle Network.
It was identified in the Paths for Everyone review of the Network undertaken by Sustrans in 2019.
It was delivered in partnership by Sustrans and Staffordshire County Council and was made possible by a grant from the Department for Transport.
Improving lives, reducing congestion and boosting business
Recently Ridhi Kalaria, Sustrans Partnership Manager Midlands and East, met Councillor David Williams from Staffordshire County Council to take a look at the finished scheme.
Mr Williams, cabinet member for highways and transport at the council, said:
"I'm very impressed with the final quality of this scheme which is all about making it easier and safer for people to walk and cycle while improving the look and feel of the town.
"The area looks great with an excellent facility for local cyclists to enjoy, and I’m sure we will see many more people using the path.
"We know that cycling and walking help people to lead healthier and happier lives.
"However, active travel also helps to reduce congestion on our busy roads which is a key priority for us.
"Attracting more visitors to the county town and boosting business is also something we want to see and I’m sure the new cycleway will help encourage more visitors and achieve this."
Cyclists using the new section of National Route 5 through Stafford.
Helping to make healthier travel choices
Ridhi Kalaria, Sustrans Partnership Manager, Midlands and East said:
"As custodians of the National Cycle Network, we undertook our Paths for Everyone review in 2019.
"We were open and transparent about the improvements the Network needed.
"Thanks to a £20m grant from the UK Government, we’ve been able to work with our partners to improve the Network with a range of schemes like the South Walls project in Stafford.
"This transformational project has created an area of quality public realm which fundamentally changes the way people access the area.
"This makes it easier for people in Stafford to make smarter and healthier travel choices.
"The National Cycle Network belongs to everyone and can help all of us to lead happier, healthier lives.”
Travelling on National Route 5
National Cycle Network Route 5 runs from Stafford to Stoke, passing through Stone on quiet country lanes and canal towpath.
Visit the route page to find out more about Route 5.