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To: Ashford Borough Council & KCC

Ensure Ashford’s pedestrians & cyclists can travel safely after the coronavirus lockdown

Ensure Ashford’s pedestrians & cyclists can travel safely after the coronavirus lockdown

We demand that Ashford Borough Council (working with KCC as required) take advantage of the central government push to improve cycling and walking infrastructure for the post lockdown UK.

Why is this important?

One of the only positive side effects to the coronavirus crisis has been the massive reduction in car traffic and improvements to our air quality. People have also been rediscovering their enjoyment of travelling by foot or bike instead of car and enjoying the massively reduced traffic noise across town.

The government are predicting a huge increase in personal car use once we exit lockdown due to continued social distancing measures, reduced public transport capacity and people seeking to avoid cramped rail and bus carriages.

As such, ministers have announced emergency funding for local authorities to implement temporary measures such as pop up bike lanes, wider pavements, safer junctions and cycle and bus-only transport corridors.

It is critical that as we start to plan for life after lockdown Ashford residents get a fair share of these safety and lifestyle improvements as well as those living in bigger cities.

As awful as the coronavirus outbreak has been we must seize this once in a lifetime opportunity to collectively improve our local environment and well-being.

Alongside being an important temporary social distancing measure, infrastructure changes for the expected surge in walking and cycling over the next few months also provide a valuable opportunity to reduce non-essential car use and assess how permanent active travel arrangements could benefit our town in the long run.

Ashford’s urban areas are compact, ideal for walking and cycling. It is estimated that around 40% of urban journeys in the UK are less than 2 miles. Sadly, in spite of this and decades of redevelopment, Ashford has been allowed to grow into a car centric town and is dominated by dual carriageways and under connected out of town developments.

Now is the perfect opportunity for change. Let’s move forward not backwards and ensure the legacy of this tragedy is a positive one and that we do not simply return to same old car-choked Ashford.

Benefits of reduced car reliance in Ashford could include:

- Safer streets
- Cleaner air
- Healthier citizens
- Reduced healthcare costs
- More pleasant public spaces
- Improved perception of the town as a destination for visitors
- Clearer roads and faster journeys for busses and those reliant on cars such as the sick or elderly.

Ashford, UK

Maps © Stamen; Data © OSM and contributors, ODbL

Updates

2020-05-11 21:17:25 +0100

Thanks to everyone who has signed and shared the campaign so far - almost 200 signatures already and we haven’t really had to try yet which just serves to highlight the appetite for making cycling and walking in Ashford a viable alternative to day-to-day car travel. Keep up the good work and please keep sharing.

I’ve now added a Facebook page so that I’m able to run paid promotions to increase the reach of the campaign to local people. As I’ve also received messages from people interested in starting a longer term cycling campaign group for Ashford beyond this campaign we can also use the page for this purpose if that plan develops. So please do like the page ‘Cyclists and Pedestrians Ashford’ to receive updates on this and any other similar campaigns we might run later on.

In response to a few questions from people in Tenterden I’ve tweaked the wording of the petition to try and make clear this campaign is intended to cover the whole Borough and not just just Ashford town.

2020-05-10 16:35:09 +0100

100 signatures reached

2020-05-10 12:32:46 +0100

50 signatures reached

2020-05-10 11:16:16 +0100

25 signatures reached

2020-05-10 10:25:04 +0100

10 signatures reached