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Cycling campaigners criticise Weymouth 'Olympic' routes
Cycling campaigners have criticised plans for two more ‘Olympic’ cycleways in Weymouth.
While being generally supportive of moves to create new bike routes, cyclists believe they will not leave a worthy legacy after the 2012 Games.
Dorset County Council is laying four major routes in the borough that will link up with existing cycleways and footpaths to make it easier for people to travel around on foot or by bike.
The latest designs to be unveiled are for the Eastern Route from Radipole Park Drive to Preston and the Redlands Route from Upwey station to Lodmoor. Work on the Eastern Route is due to start in the spring.
The routes are part of an £850,000 Olympic Legacy Cycle network package funded by the Local Transport Plan.
Cycling campaigner Ken Reed suggested the four cycleways were only good for transporting people from park and ride sites and said the Portland route, perhaps the most important link, was excluded.
He added that the county council should be putting pressure on the borough to open up the promenade to cyclists from Greenhill to Brunswick Terrace – the ‘missing link’ in the package.
Mr Reed is the Weymouth and Portland spokesman for the Dorset Cyclists’ Network and local co-ordinator for the Cyclists’ Touring Club (CTC). Together the groups represent 350 people in the borough.
Mr Reed said: “We’re supportive in general, I don’t want to come across as completely negative.
“But I believe Dorset County Council had not consulted cycling groups properly, which has made people sceptical about the Olympic legacy.
“Everyone is making a great fuss about the legacy and we don’t feel the routes will deliver. We could plan better routes with this money.”
Mr Reed said the Eastern Route was good in that it served Weymouth College but he said the move by the borough council to allow cycling on the Preston promenade made part of the route redundant.
Dorset County Council project manager George Heron said currently cyclists have to ride on some of the busiest roads through Weymouth in order to cross the town.
He added: “Together, the two routes will go towards completing a cycle network around the borough and encourage more people to leave their cars at home.”
n People can have their say on the route designs throughout January. Plans are available to view at Weymouth Library, Weymouth College and on the website at www.dorsetforyou.com/weymouthtransportschemes