Royston has seen considerable development over the years, particularly in the north of the town. However, getting around by bike or on foot was made difficult by the Cambridge to London railway line which formed a major barrier and separated residential areas from schools, leisure facilities, employment areas and the town centre. The only crossing points were at the station or via the road bypass. People wanting to take a short cut by trespassing on the railway had become a major problem.
“ Approximately 10% of our pupils regularly use the subway for getting to and from school. All have found it a safer and quicker way to make their journeys and most said that they walked more now than before the opening of the subway. Interestingly, when asked what they would do if it was raining most said they would still walk which is encouraging for an active lifestyle. ”
The scheme created a new pedestrian and cycle subway underneath the railway. After years of planning, work on the underpass started and a concrete box, which would form the new underpass, was built on site. Contractors moved the box into position while the railway was closed during the Christmas period but links and ramps were put in place after it had reopened and trains had started running. To enhance personal security and to reduce the chance of anti social behaviour the underpass is lit and monitored by CCTV. It is also possible to see all the way through before entering.
Since it was officially opened in June 2012, the subway has transformed everyday journeys for local people. Pedestrians and cyclists now have a more direct and convenient route from residential areas to the town centre and new leisure centre on the other side of the railway. Local pupils have a much shorter and safer journey to school which means that they are less likely to be driven and more likely to walk or cycle independently.
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