SLOUGH could see a “paradigm shift” as the council looks at implementing an east-to-west cycle ‘superhighway’ along the A4.

Cabinet councillors were presented early proposals of transforming the existing wide verges, service roads, and shared paths from Huntercombe to the town centre into segregated and part-segregated cycle routes.

Council officers were given the go-ahead by members to further detail the first draft of the proposed routes with a full cost breakdown before submitting an outline business case to the capital board – which could be approved by March 2021 – as well as the Department for Transport for further funding.

Cyclists travelling on the Bath Road currently do not have any protection from moving vehicles on the busy road – which the report states it could be “perceived as unacceptable for safe cycling” – but can travel on the experimental bus lanes along the A4.

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This scheme aims to not only ensure the safety of cyclists on that route – but encourage commuters and residents to switch cycling or other modes of transport rather than stick with private cars.

This modal shift will also help Slough Borough Council to tackle air pollution and reach net zero carbon emissions by 2030.

Savio DeCruz, the service lead for major infrastructure projects, said if this scheme is fully implemented, it could place Slough as a “forerunner for other urban towns”.

The leader of the council, councillor James Swindlehurst (Labour: Cippenham Green), said Mediterranean grass, trees, and shrubbery could potentially be incorporated into the plans.

Mr DeCruz estimated the scheme could cost around £2 to £2.5 million where it is expected the funding will come from the borough’s capital budget, government funding, and section 106 agreements with property developers.

The second tranche of around £552,000 from the emergency active travel grant from government will also help implement the measures.

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Councillor Rob Anderson (Labour: Britwell and Northborough), lead member for transport and environmental services, said: “We’ve got a chance here to make a paradigm shift here because I think this will be the first meaningful implementation of something to achieve that step change we always talked about for so long.

“We’ve always been more hopeful of than actually making the changes needed to give people on what they say they need to cycle more – which is a safe environment in which to do it.

“In many ways, it’s not rocket science. We’ve seen what’s happened in London with the cycle superhighways causing a massive modal shift of people onto cycles and we’ve seen it other countries in years gone by on what can be achieved if you give people safe areas to cycle in.”

Cllr Anderson warned if Slough doesn’t get this and other scheme right and doesn’t achieve this modal shift of encouraging people out of their cars, Slough could be one of those urban towns with increased traffic and will continue to suffer from air pollution.

Savio DeCruz said the council will work with local cycle groups to refine the designs and a public consultation will be conducted before the works are carried out.