New cycle network will be a boost for Norwich cyclists

Saddling up in the city will be safer and easier for cyclists thanks to a colourful new network of cycle routes.

Ben Webster, design, conservation and landscape manager for Norwich City Council, has proposed plans to revolutionise the city's approach to the provision of safe and enjoyable cycle routes, at the sustainable development panel held in City Hall.

Mr Webster, who is a keen cyclist, has consulted with the Norwich Cycling Campaign, which members of his team are part of, and has applied all this knowledge of popular and safe improvised routes around the city in devising the plans for an official network.

The idea behind Mr Webster and his team's proposal is that there should be a joined-up, colour co-ordinated network of local routes, core radial routes and inner and outer orbital routes which link all areas, institutions and places of importance.

The local routes, in black, would join onto the five core radial routes coded yellow, green, blue, pink and red, which slice through the city and meet at its centre, and the two orbital routes, one orange one purple, would encircle the city centre and wider city area, being crossed and linked by the core radial routes. Cyclists would follow coloured stickers indicating which route they were on.

Mr Webster said: 'There is a real appetite among people to get cycling, but many don't know how to get out of their local area and what safe routes to follow.

'We already have a lot of routes, many fun and safe and signposted, and on a cycle map. But it struck us that there was a degree of confusion. Some of the routes were confused.

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'We want people to be able to rely on them without needing to refer to signage or an A-Z.

'When the network plan is finished it will help people find their way around the city more easily, enjoyably and safely on bikes and help us spend our limited funds in the right places.'

Bert Bremner, councillor for the University ward, said that there was 'total agreement' that the plans were a good thing among the council.

The Norwich Cycling Campaign is a group of cyclists who lobby for better cycle facilities in Norwich and work for an increase in the use of bikes.

The chair of the Norwich Cycling Campaign, Jeff Jordan, said: 'I think the priority is to get the less competent and experienced cyclists to see that you can cycle through the city without complications.

'If we can get people to feel that the city is not too challenging and is safe, then that will be beneficial.

'The plans are pretty comprehensive and we do support them. There was a lot of scope for improvement. I know Norwich is a difficult place to do it, what with all the medieval streets and so on, but some of the existing routes weren't very helpful.'

Mr Webster is currently consulting with the general public and cycle groups over the plans, as well as working to ensure they compliment various institution's travel plans.

A map of the the new network in pamphlet form should be available from places such as libraries, cafes, offices and council buildings from the spring, as well as on the council website. Mr Webster expressed a desire to look into the possibility in the long-term of a smartphone application for the map and including it on independent web-based journey planners.

What do you think of the plans? Write to Evening News Letters, Prospect House, Rouen Road, Norwich, NR1 1 RE or email