Safe routes to schools planned and calls for e-scooters under efforts to encourage 'active travel' in South Tyneside

Safe routes to schools, better public transport and improving walking and cycling facilities have all been highlighted as ways to encourage more sustainable travel in South Tyneside – with calls to include e-bikes and e-scooters in the plans.

The latest meeting of the council Place Select committee was provided with an update on what South Tyneside local authority bosses will be doing in order to promote active travel in the borough.

This includes the development of the Local Cycling and Walking Investment Plan, which is expected to go before the council’s cabinet in December.

The plan aims to create new and improved connected strategic routes to residential areas in and outside of South Tyneside, and also provide traffic calming improvements and safe routes to schools.

There are efforts underway to make transport cleaner, greener and safer in South Tyneside.

As part of the work, 24 cycle routes and 16 walking routes have been assessed and prioritised, with designs currently being undertaken to ensure safe networks for all.

Cllr Geraldine Kilgour, chair of the committee, stressed the importance of road safety measures being in place to allow children to walk to school safely.

She said: “If you’re going to encourage students to walk to school and the parents to encourage children to walk to school, it’s got to be a safe environment in which they walk in, that’s paramount.”

Cllr David Francis, Green Party representative, pointed to how encouraging walking and cycling can improve people’s health, as well as benefiting the environment.

He said: “If we’re talking about increasing active travel, then it’s not just about protecting the health of the planet, it’s actually securing the health of our residents and our communities as well.”

He added it would also be great to have more facilities such as hot bikes, e-bikes and e-scooters available.

He continued: “As long as there is an adequate provision for those to be used safely, so you’re not making life more difficult for pedestrians, and you’re also making it safe for people to use those alternate things.”

Providing more cycle parking spaces in the town centre and on the sea front was also highlighted by Cllr Angela Hamilton.

Meanwhile, Cllr Doreen Purvis stressed the importance of improving public transport facilities in helping to reduce the number of cars on the road.

She said: “If you’re going to winkle people out of their cars and get them onto public transport, there’s a couple of things that need to be done.

“There needs to be reliability, because there’s nothing more guaranteed to drive people back into their cars than the erratic system of buses and Metros.

“We’ve also got to make them affordable.”

Council officers responded stating they are working with transport bosses on such issues, as they aim to “move with the times” on travel methods.

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