A new bridge is to be built across the River Thames in Reading for cyclists and pedestrians – but the Reading Cycle Campaign isn’t happy.
The bridge will cross the river north of the railway station, between the two congested road bridges (Reading Bridge and Caversham Bridge) just east of Fry’s Island. It is intended to give a through-route between the suburb of Caversham and Reading town centre, via a new subway under the redeveloped Reading station.
Reading councillors approved the plans on Wednesday. The bridge will be funded by a £20.7m award from the Government’s Local Sustainable Transport Fund, which has paid for several cycle schemes across the country.
However, Reading Cycle Campaign believes the bridge is a missed opportunity. The crossing will be unsegregated shared use, where pedestrians and cyclists mingle. The Campaign believes that there should be separate lanes for cyclists and walkers.
“Essentially the council will be expecting cyclists to ride on the pavement,” it wrote in a statement of objection. “Almost all the riverside paths are already like this, and are for this reason unpleasant to cycle on. There is frequent conflict between users. If we end up with a poorly designed bridge we will have to suffer the consequences for many years to come.”
Separately, Reading Borough Council has launched a consultation on its new cycling strategy. It aims to double the number of people cycling to work by 2019. Comments are requested by 10th January 2014.