What is a Greenway?

A Greenway is a well-designed route suitable for people who are walking, riding bikes, using wheelchairs or taking kids out in pushchairs.  It is for non-motorised travel although low power mobility-scooters are welcomed.

The aim is to provide a route suitable for day to day activities such as getting to school, going shopping, commuting to work or simply enjoying time out in the fresh air.  The route will have a good surface and be well maintained so you don’t need to dress up in special clothes to use it.  City suites and school uniforms should all be fine.

While some people will use the route for commuting, it is not intended that it should be used for cycling at speed.  Fast routes for commuting by bike may be better provided separately.  Almost all of the proposed route passes through scenic landscape making it eminently suitable for leisure as well as more utilitarian journeys.

What will the Greenway be like?

The Greenway will be designed to be accessible to a family group, perhaps out together on bikes.  If this ‘yard-stick’ is adopted, the Greenway will automatically be of a standard appropriate to a wide range of use.

The Surrey Cycling Strategy lists 5 design principles [1] that would make the route accessible for all kinds of Greenway use in addition to people using bikes.  The route should be:

  • Inclusive
  • Safe and secure
  • Comfortable and well maintained
  • Continuous
  • Go where people want to go

A quick look at the planned route clearly shows that it will go where people want to go.  It will run close to many homes, linking them to ‘destinations’ such as shops, schools, leisure facilities and public transport.

It is vital that the route is continuous.  There is no point in setting off on a journey only to be confronted by a ‘no-go’ area, however short.  Stopping and starting is the most difficult aspect of cycling and so a route that allows people on bikes to keep going is important.  This is amplified for families where parents have the additional challenge of managing children if faced with a stop.

As a utility route, the Greenway should be comfortable and well maintained.  It should not be prone to flooding or being reduced to mud after rain.  Users should expect to be able to use it in ordinary, everyday clothing without getting dirty.  The surface should be firm and flat.  A loose or rutted surface greatly increases effort and a poor surface makes cycling particularly difficult for children riding bikes with smaller wheels.  The precise standard of construction should follow recognised guidelines.

Many people find road traffic intimidating.  It can be unpleasant walking beside a busy road and fast moving traffic discourages many from cycling.  Parents are understandably reluctant to allow their children to cycle on or near busy roads.  The provision of a well-designed and largely off-road route will offer a protected and suitable environment in which children and others can be safe and secure.

A well designed and implemented route will provide inclusive access for many users.  A flat route that is suitable for cycling is also good for wheelchairs and pushchairs.  Young and old alike will be able to enjoy it.

[1] Surrey Transport Plan – Cycling Strategy 2014 – 2026, Section 6.1, Page 13

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