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Campaigners Launch Petition for Safe Active Travel Route From Sherwood to West Bridgford

13 May 22 words: Catherine Mayhew
photos: Anthony Hopwood

Nottingham’s North-South travel route - stretching from Sherwood to suburban West Bridgford - is notoriously geared towards motor vehicles, with safety concerns and pollution deterring many wishing to use more environmentally friendly options. As a result, campaigners have launched a petition this week calling for a dedicated safe route to make it safer for those. Catherine Mayhew, one of the locals behind the calls, explains why it’s so important…

Castle Boulervard's existing active travelway

Lots of people would like to walk, cycle, or scoot to get around Nottingham rather than use private cars, but are too scared to do so. Our roads are not safe or comfortable places to be if you are not inside a motor vehicle, and people’s choices reflect that. While Nottingham’s public transport system is highly ranked among UK cities, it’s not convenient or affordable for everyone, and doesn’t reap the health benefits of active travel.

We want to see an active travel route from the north to the south of Nottingham, as the next step towards a city-wide network of active travel routes and neighbourhoods. This proposed Active Travelway will run from Sherwood, along Mansfield Road, via the centre, cross Trent Bridge to West Bridgford. This will allow people to walk, cycle and scoot safely and provide connections to major employers, educational and sporting institutions, shopping centres, and neighbourhoods.

“My kids always want to cycle, but I end up putting the bikes in the car and driving them to Woodthorpe Park because it is too dangerous anywhere round here.”

The new route must be physically separated from motor traffic, with protection and priority across junctions, and safe enough for anyone to use – including children, older people, and those completely new to active travel. It will contribute to Nottingham’s ambitious plans to become carbon neutral by 2028.

We spoke to lots of people on the street in Sherwood, and the overriding majority told them this would be a brilliant idea. Some of the (anonymised) responses included:

"I would really like to cycle to work but the traffic on the road is just too scary."

"I used to cycle to town, but since becoming a parent I'm much more risk averse, and I think it's just too dangerous on the Mansfield Road."

"I live a few minutes away and I'd love to cycle to Sherwood, but the roads are so scary that I drive."

“I used to cycle all the time, but a few years back I got knocked off by a car and I did my shoulder so I only go out when it's really quiet.”

“My kids always want to cycle, but I end up putting the bikes in the car and driving them to Woodthorpe Park because it is too dangerous anywhere round here.”

“My husband bikes to work each day, but I just wouldn't dare.”

Some people have been calling for these things for a long time, but the timing now feels right for a big step up in space for more active travel. Most people are now really keen to do things that help the environment, but it is also about personal freedom to get around the city. Sometimes it feels like a lot more men cycle than women, but this isn't because women don't want to get on a bike, it is more that they aren't made to feel safe on the roads. Even for people who have a car, the cost of fuel is causing them to think twice before taking it anywhere. 

Nottingham has a really proud cycling history and is, in many ways, a perfect size to get around by bike or by scooter. Even the fact that lots of people are buying e-bikes means that the hills in the North of the city aren't really a problem if you don't want them to be. This active travel route would be a huge benefit to the city, making it greener, and safer for all residents and road users.

Sign and share the petition here. For more information check out the North South Active Travelway website or follow their Facebook page.

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