A new traffic-free route linking communities in Scunthorpe is already proving immensely popular with local people just a short while after it opened.
In the past seven months, the council has seen 112 per cent increase in cycling and walking totaling over 183 thousand pedestrians and over 65 thousand cyclists.
It has also seen various groups of people using the new route - cycle and walking groups, local running clubs, schools, and people commuting to work.
Overall, the John Leggott Link to Kingsway has seen the biggest increase in usage as parents can now cycle and walk along the route with young children, where they couldn't before. Students use the route to access the colleges, people are commuting to the town centre, Scunthorpe Hospital or traveling to The Pods.
Construction on the Ridgeway started in April 2009, with the Kingsway and North Lindsey College Link followed by Manor Park, Ridgeway (West Common Lane to Kingsway Way including John Leggott Link.
This was followed by Atkinson Warren entrance, Foxhills Road, Hempdykes, Sherwood Vale along Cliff Close Road to the Kingsway.
In April 2011 construction work started on the Bridges Road link path and installation of the bridge on Bridges Road.
The environment has also benefited from the new ‘Ridgeway’ project as local residents have reported an increase in wildlife.
Eleven schools and two colleges have received funding for cycle storage and this has made a huge impact in children’s health.
The project is transforming everyday. Travel for local people in communities across the UK, creating new bridges and crossings to overcome busy roads, rivers and railways, and linking these to networks of walking and cycling routes - making it easier for people to walk and cycle for everyday journeys.
The new route is part of an initiative from charity Sustrans, that is creating new walking and cycling routes for everyday journeys in communities across the UK, thanks to support from the Big Lottery Fund and local funding.
Cllr Nigel Sherwood, cabinet member for highways and neighbourhoods at North Lincolnshire Council, said:
“I’m delighted with how popular the new walking and cycling routes are. It just goes to show how many people are keen to get out there and keep active.
“The routes, complimented by the bridges, are a real breakthrough for North Scunthorpe. They enable thousands of cyclists and pedestrians to leave their cars at home and get some fresh air, while keeping fit.”
“We have lived in the area for over 30 years and never been able to use the Ridgeway, due to disabilities. Now we walk the route nearly everyday and can sit and enjoy the wildlife.” Plymouth Road resident
“At first I was sceptical about what the new route would bring to the area, but it is truly a fantastic walking route. We have seen all sorts of walking and running groups using the route.” Dewsbury Avenue resident
“Much better walking route and we have seen an increase of people using it. Since the scheme has been completed, we have seen more wildlife and flowers in Hempdykes.” Hempdykes Road resident.
“The new walking and cycling route has benefited the Walking the Way to Health group. We currently use two areas, Atkinson Warren - Hempdykes to Doncaster Road, and Ridgeway through to West Common Lane. This is were we see a huge change from enclosed narrow footpath that we could not use, to wide open pleasant pathways with seating and lighting that can be enjoyed.” D Ogilvie on behalf of Walking the Way to Health