On 9 August 2021, Suffolk Highways will commence with phase 2 of their plans to create a wider active travel corridor along the Ipswich Waterfront.
During the first lockdown in 2020, Suffolk County Council put measures in place to restrict access to motorised vehicles along the Waterfront. This has proven to be a success in providing space for people to actively travel whilst seeing more of the open spaces being used for outdoor dining.
Phase 2 will take place over 7 weeks and will involve these measures being made permanent by repurposing the existing parking bays, providing a wider area on one side, with planters and parklets being installed on the other. The aim of these permanent measures is to support local businesses with pleasant, outdoor dining areas through a new traffic regulation order. Unauthorised motorised vehicles will be restricted; however, access for deliveries and servicing will be maintained.
Throughout lockdown, Suffolk has seen an increase in walking and cycling across the county, with the waterfront route showing the highest potential for growth in walking and cycling numbers. This scheme comes as part of the Active Travel Fund schemes which are part of a county-wide plan for walking and cycling improvements.
COVID-19 has had a dramatic impact on many lives but with the positive of the increase in active travel, whether it be for commuting, leisure or exercising, there has also been many other benefits, such as, improvement on air quality and people’s health and wellbeing. The government has recognised these benefits and have therefore provided highways authorities across the country with funding.
Suffolk County Council put in a bid for £1.34 million for the second phase, but were awarded £1.683 million due to the success of phase one.
Councillor Paul West, Suffolk County Council’s Cabinet Member for Operational Highways, said:
“So many have benefitted from the reduction of motorised vehicles on the Ipswich Waterfront – whether that was to exercise more safely or enjoy outdoor dining at the many fantastic food and drink outlets we have on offer there.
“Access for deliveries will continue, and this condition will be maintained throughout phase 2.
“I am certain that local residents, businesses and visitors will welcome the more permanent measures we are installing, and I look forward to seeing even more people enjoy the area as the restrictions caused by the pandemic continue to ease.”