Esplanade cycle route to be widened

THE widening of the seafront cycle route because of safety concerns is set to be completed by Easter with no loss of parking bays.

THE widening of the seafront cycle route because of safety concerns is set to be completed by Easter with no loss of parking bays.

Highways chiefs are also negotiating with East Devon District Council to move or replace a seated seafront shelter; when seated users have been at risk of being hit by passing bikes.

Pedestrians and cyclists have long complained about a narrow part of the route from the Alexandra Terrace junction westwards towards the Marina.

Now the county council’s Highways and Transport Orders Committee (HATOC) have rubberstamped the project.

The work will cost an estimated �80,000 from the ‘Finding New Solutions’ Leisure Cycling Project government grant which is available until next March.

Last January county councillor Eileen Wragg raised the issue at a town council meeting with visiting county leader John Hart.

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He said that although the route met minimum national safety standards, he would ‘look into it’ but warned that that it could lead to a loss of sea front parking bays.

But engineers have now found a middle way by widening the route and retaining the parking spaces, possibly by re-drawing lines of the parking bays at an angle.

Cllr Wragg who also sits on HATOC said: “There have been concerns regarding the width of the path at the town end of the seafront, and although it complied with national standards, it was unsatisfactory for shared use of both pedestrians and cyclists.

“The widening of this path as proposed by County Highways, in consultation with cycle users and walkers is very much welcomed and will help alleviate the anxieties which have been felt.

“Courtesy and consideration is most important, if those on foot can keep to their side of the footpath, and cyclists to theirs, there should not be any conflict.”

Mayor Darryl Nicholas said: “From the start, we at Exmouth Town Council have expressed concern over the width of this path - creating an environment that is neither suitable for people enjoying a stroll nor cyclists moving at a higher speed.

“It is heartening that we can now resolve an issue has been a concern to local residents.”

John Petty of Cyclepath Exmouth welcomed the news.

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