Massive £36m plan launched to improve and extend network of redways in Milton Keynes

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150km of new redways will be built to extend the network into new areas

An ambitious £36.3m plan to extend and improve the city’s famous redway network has been published by MK City Council.

The scheme will see 150km of new redways developed to fill in gaps in existing routes and extend the system into Bletchley, Wolverton and Olney.

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It will mean MK will ultimately have more than 500km of redways for use by walkers and cyclists as well as e-scooters and e-bike users.

£36.3m is to be spent on improving and extending the redway system in MK£36.3m is to be spent on improving and extending the redway system in MK
£36.3m is to be spent on improving and extending the redway system in MK

The aim is to save the environment by encouraging more people to ditch cars and choose walking, cycling or scooting as their first choice for shorter trips around the city.

A consultation was held by the City Council about what kind of redway improvements would be most useful. Feedback from residents was received on almost 300 locations around Central MK, Bletchley, Wolverton, Stony Stratford, Newport Pagnell and Olney.

People asked for “missing links” in the system to be filled in. They also requested some redways be make wider in certain places and that junctions be improved where routes cross a road.

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As a result of the consultation, the council has this week published a 70-page Local Cycling and Walking Infrastructure Plan, which can be viewed here.

The plans states how the network will be increased from the current 350km to 500km, with a general improvement in quality of the redway surfaces, lighting and signage.

There will be increased safety measures at collision hot spots, often where redways cross roads. These could include sperate lanes for cyclists or even ‘Tiger Crossings’.

The number of homes within 400m of a redway will be increased and there will be more redways close to the city’s key facilities and schools, states the plan.

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It also pledges to support the rollout of e-scooters and e-bikes on all redways.

And, following feedback that many people do not feel safe using the underpasses that run along the redway system, the council plans to improve them with more lighting and artwork. It would be “unfeasible” to remove them, states the plan.

While some of the improvements will be covered by existing budgets, the majority will be subject to successful bids for government funding.

Cabinet member for Climate Change and Sustainability, Cllr Jennifer Wilson-Marklew, said: “We are extremely proud of our fantastic redway network in Milton Keynes, which many people used heavily during the pandemic, and we want to build on this to make walking, cycling and scooting even more attractive for exploring MK, or as the default choice for short trips. Not only is this great for local people’s health and wellbeing, it will also help to tackle the climate emergency.”

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She added: “Publishing this plan means we can prioritise investment and guide sustainable new developments, as well as putting us in a better place to bid for national funding to make the improvements happen. I’m grateful to everyone who took the time to contribute ideas to the plan, and proud that it’s full of practical suggestions that have been created ‘by the people for the people’.”

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