Measures aimed at boosting cycling in Reading that in cases have proved controversial have been made permanent.

In May 2020, a range of ‘active travel measures’ were taken in Reading to enhance the viability of cycling in town.

Many of these measures involved either narrowing or removing regular traffic lanes to make way for cycle lanes.

Five of these schemes have been made permanent following a decision by Reading Borough Council’s traffic management sub committee.

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You can view how each road has changed using the interactive slider tool below.

In George Street and Reading Bridge one lane has been removed to provide space for cyclists.

In Whitley Street, one traffic lane heading south was removed to make way for two way cycle lanes.

In Oxford Road, road space has been taken up to create new advisory cycle lanes and symbols have been laid, predominantly in the Tilehurst stretch of the route.

In Christchurch Road, road space has been reallocated to create a new advisory cycle lane.

In Redlands Road, cycle logos were painted onto the road.

Welcoming the changes, councillor Paul Gittings (Labour, Coley) said: “If people cast their minds back when the schemes were implemented it was right at the height of the Covid pandemic, and a lot of people were cycling on the road at the time, and there was a boom in cycling.

“That’s obviously a good thing, and some of that’s carried through now, more people are regularly cycling within Reading and the other criteria for the schemes for the funding was that we could implement quickly and that they did take up road space.

“If you cast your mind back a while, the idea that we would take up a lane of Reading Bridge would’ve seemed really quite challenging in the circumstances adopted pre-pandemic yet here we are giving the go ahead.

“Hopefully we will be able to enhance the amount of segregated facilities [cycle lanes] throughout the town.”

However, the most controversial active travel scheme, the closure of the northbound lane in Sidmouth Street, has not been made permanent yet.

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That’s because the council has decided to undertake a consultation to determine whether the two-way cycle lane should be made permanent due to public criticism of the scheme, which a Freedom of Information request revealed cost the council £59,589.71 to implement.

The Sidmouth Street is not the only one which has proven unpopular either.

A one way system in Gosbrook Road and Westfield Road in Caversham was scrapped just over a week after it was introduced, as more than a thousand residents signed a petition against it.

A council highways officer and cllr Gittings conceded that the schemes are not “gold standard”, but they argued the schemes are an important stepping stone to bid for more Department for Transport funding for cycle lanes in the future.