A COUNCILLOR and green campaigner has called for a ‘cycle superhighway’ in Coventry while the council has committed to improving bike and walking routes.
As Coventry City Council released its Local Air Quality Plan, Nuneaton Green councillor and Warwickshire County councillor Keith Kondaker has slammed the plans as ‘backwards’ and ‘mind-bogglingly stupid’.
He claims the plan will only encourage more drivers onto the roads and does not encourage a change in culture towards cycling and walking.
He also called for a cycling superhighway in Coventry and says it has already been a huge success in London and other major cities.
Superhighways are clearly delineated cycling routes which provide direct journeys from one side of a city to another.
They are said to be safer and faster and Coun Kondaker said the change would certainly boost Coventry’s 4 per cent adult cycling rates.
A council spokesperson said it will be bidding for additional government funding for the development of new and improved cycling and walking routes.
The spokesperson also said superhighways can provide attractive cycling routes, but are also very expensive and time consuming to implement – saying ‘they do not always offer the best solution’.
Coun Kondaker said: “Coventry is in the dark ages. All the forward looking cities which try to reduce pollution emphasise walking, cycling and that sort of active travel – which is good for people’s health.
“The council has spent £120million pounds on toll-bar roundabouts and who knows how much on the Eastern bypass.
“And that’s just pushed more and more traffic down the east side of Coventry.
“There is no way you fix a problem of having too much car pollution by enabling cars to pass through junctions more quickly.
“Because the whole point is the quicker it is to drive through Coventry, the more it will fill up with traffic.
“Coventry should be thinking about low-emission zones, congestion charges and about having cycle superhighways.
“It would be an ideal city. At the moment it is a nightmare cycling across Coventry.”
A Coventry council spokesperson said: “Much of the recent investment in infrastructure improvements within the city have been aimed at making it easier to walk and cycle, such as the scheme at Friargate which has provided an attractive boulevard for pedestrians and cyclists travelling between the city centre and the railway station, replacing the previous poor quality route across the ring road.”
“Investment in highway improvements is made to make strategic routes around the city more attractive for motorists to use, and to remove through traffic from unsuitable areas, including those locations with air quality problems resulting from queuing vehicles caught in traffic congestion.
“The City council wants through traffic to use the motorways and the A46 around the city, and the investment made by Highways England in improving the Toll Bar Roundabout has helped to achieve this.
“Similarly, investment in city centre routes such as the ring road will be aimed at reducing congestion, improving safety and also making it easier to walk and cycle across the ring road to reach the city centre from surrounding areas.”