Saddleworth Liberal Democrats are already working on the next round of cycle routes for the district, even before the current proposals are brought forward.
Having set key priorities for the network – connecting village centres, travel interchanges and parks – they drew up key routes that would connect existing cycle routes to those areas, and have put forward those proposals to the highways engineers in charge of the Active Travel Fund plans.
Local Liberal Democrat Councillor Sam Al-Hamdani said: “It’s really important to have a vision for how we are going to join up the existing cycle routes that we have, and with new work that is going ahead.
“For example, the routes in Greenfield are going to connect a new Tameside loop route. I’ve proposed that the next extension should connect the Tameside loop to the Linear Park that runs through Grotton, Springhead and Lees. That way, we’ll have a direct route that runs all the way from Oldham town centre (and beyond), right out to the heart of Saddleworth.
“Joining the dots on the existing routes makes it simpler and less expensive. There’s also the added bonus that if we connect up with the Tameside loop, we’ll create an easier, more level route for less experienced cyclists than if we took a more direct line, which makes it more likely for new people to take cycling up.”
Consultation on the new crossings will be taking place across September, with further connections into the town centre expected as part of the brownfield development near Southlink announced recently.
Sam continued: “Like many people, I currently think about cycling more than I do it, but it’s important that the facilities work easily for people, so that when they do make the effort, it all connects up simply. If it does, we won’t go back to cars so easily.
“I’m also delighted that the proposed crossings in Springhead and Grotton will also help to resolve another longstanding issue, by creating accessible entrances to the linear park for people in wheelchairs.”