Blogs > John Glen Salisbury MP Diary > 20th May 2020

20th May 2020

20th May 2020

A lot of constituents were very encouraged to hear Transport Secretary Grant Shapps announce £2 billion in government funding to bring about a revolution in walking and cycling.

My inbox has been populated all week with animated emails suggesting bold and thoughtful ways of weaning more of us off the internal combustion engine and getting Salisbury back on its bike.

It has not been lost on me that a lot of people have enjoyed the quieter roads and cleaner air during the lockdown and have rekindled their love of cycling and walking. After all, I am one of them!

Always starting out from my home in The Close, in recent weeks I have completed very enjoyable walks around Harnham, Laverstock, the Castle Road area and out as far as Coombe Bissett, the Woodford Valley and South Newton.

Taking advantage of the relaxation in the lockdown rules, I went to Bath at the weekend to have a walk with my mum – the first time I have seen her in a few months.

Before that, I was pleased to visit the revived charter market and was not surprised to see Salisbury people turning out to welcome the traders back while sensibly observing social distancing.

The enforced change from automatically using our cars to get out and about, coupled with a leap forward in a lot of people’s grasp of online meetings and video calling has put us in a powerful position to permanently reconsider our attitude to transport and the way we define necessary and unnecessary journeys.

Of course, it will fall to local authorities to determine need in their areas and to apply for funding to support both new capital projects and existing green transport initiatives.

I am encouraged that we have a local authority which already rates walking and cycling very highly. For example, the new Maltings project centres around a riverside park which will perform the essential function of protecting the city centre from flooding, but also provide brand new walking routes and cycle trails in an underutilised part of the city.

It also forms part of a plan to make it possible to walk or cycle from Old Sarum to the Cathedral without crossing a road.

As the economy reopens, some redistribution of space on city centre roads may be necessary to facilitate social distancing, but the clear aim behind the extra funding is not just to pay for partitioning and signage but to bring about a long-term step-change in walking and cycling uptake by actually expanding and enhancing the infrastructure that supports it.

I look forward to seeing what exciting ideas emerge in the fullness of time.

Posted by John Glen at 1:07pm

© Copyright 2020 Spire FM, A UKRD group company