Increase vehicle traffic and on-street parking has discouraged cyclists and walkers, especially at the many railway bridges. There are fewer green corridors and the main employment sites, such as Leighton Hospital and Bentley Motors are on the edge of town, at the furthest point from the railway station.
Post-Connect2 government and agency grants to help Crewe infrastructure will reduce. The main purpose of Connect2 though was to show communities/councils how different things could be with new bridges/new routes/junctions sorted out with strong community involvement.
We offer the following suggestions to encourage the council to announce a strong message for healthy, affordable travel options and grasp this opportunity for sustainable growth in every sense of the word. These ideas are from residents who walk and cycle daily, or would, if they felt safer:
a) Separate infrastructure for cyclists and walkers
- Open up east arch in Mill Street railway bridge to create a safer link between the station and town.
- Bridge from the Macon Way area across the southern edge of Grand Junction to Vernon Way.
- Bridge over electric lines at Bombardier from Tipkinder Park to Dunwoody Way.
- Construct a pedestrian bridge on Sunnybank Road which is a dangerous pinch point to Bentley.
b) Road junctions
- Traffic lights control with pedestrian/cycle crossings at Macon Way/ Hungerford Road.
- As above at Bradfield Road/Flowers Lane.
c) Road closures/alterations
- Reduce West Street between Hightown junction and Vernon Way to halve its width. Reclaim the remainder for pedestrians/cyclists/landscaping/fruit trees.
- Close Smithy Lane to all except emergency vehicles, encouraging hospital staff to cycle and solving the dangerous junction with Middlewich Road.
d) Public realm
- Town centre alterations to give through access to cyclists, which was stopped 20 years ago.
- Close Victoria Street to any traffic, creating a tree lined boulevard.
- Create a public square on Hightown where the current buildings are partially demolished.
When you consider the ten million pounds earmarked for Crewe Green roundabout and Sydney Road bridge widening schemes, these ideas are very modest. New roads cost in the order of £10-30m/km depending on their width and structures required. New road building won't change anything in the long term, but the behaviour changes that our suggestions will facilitate, will make Crewe a healthy, social and prosperous town for the next hundred years and be a fitting legacy for our successful rail and car industries.