The coronavirus pandemic has changed the way people travel. Many of us go and cycle to work, to shops and to relax more than before.
Lee Waters, Deputy Secretary of State for the Economy and Transport, is determined to take this opportunity to change and ensure that people continue to drop the car in favor of cycling or walking after the coronavirus pandemic is over.
Today, the Welsh government announced £ 38million to make Wales a safer place to cycle, scoot and hike.
Combined with the £ 15.4m announced last month, this is the largest investment in local active travel improvements in Wales to fund projects that make it safer for children and adults to go to school or on foot, by bike or to work with the scooter.
Programs include £ 259,500 for the construction of a sidewalk over the rail bridge near Ysgol Ty Fynnon in Shotton and the installation of bike-friendly traffic tranquilizers along King George Street. The funding will also improve an existing footpath to provide better access to the job center, swimming pool and library.
At Neath Port Talbot, £ 205,000 is used to introduce speed limits of 32 km / h outside of six schools, as well as to improve road markings and lay non-slip surfaces, to ensure safety for children walking or cycling to school to make it safer.
Deputy Minister Lee Waters said: “The coronavirus pandemic has changed our lives completely. It stopped our daily routines and forced us all to live differently.
“Corona virus has brought much hardship and tragedy. It also gave us a golden opportunity to change – one that I really want to take with both hands.
“More people than ever go to work on foot and by bike, visit friends and go to the store. With fewer cars on the road, first-time cyclists had the confidence to rent, rent, or buy a bike instead of reaching for the car keys.
“As the restrictions on corona viruses diminish and our streets become more and more busy, it is important that our streets remain pedestrian and bike-friendly if a long-term change in our travel habits is to be successful. I hope so with the £ 38m announced today.
"This £ 38m is a very significant investment in creating safe travel routes and better connections in our cities, so people still have the confidence to cycle and hike through Wales even if our lives return to normal."
The Deputy Minister said that actual progress in active travel has been too slow so far and has not brought about the change in behavior that Wales needs to see. He added:
"I urge local authorities to take this unique opportunity and work with their communities to develop future plans that encourage more people to walk and bike for everyday travel."
"I want us to work together to change Wales travel habits and choose options that protect our environment and benefit our health."
Nathan is the Operations Director at Bro Radio. You can listen to it on the Vale Breakfast on weekdays from 7 a.m. or read local news all week.