Agenda item

Reading Station Subway - Proposal to Revoke Prohibition of Cycling

A report proposing that a statutory consultation is carried out on the proposal to revoke the cycling prohibition in relation to the Reading Station Subway, creating a shared use, pedestrian/cyclist, facility.


The Director of Environment and Neighbourhood Services submitted a report that sought approval for officers to carry out statutory consultation on the proposal to revoke the cycling prohibition on the route that linked the north and south sides of Reading Railway Station creating a shared use (pedestrian/cyclist) facility.  An extract from the 2013 Traffic Regulation Order, that showed the location of the subway was attached to the report at Appendix 1.

The report explained that in 2013, following the redevelopment of Reading Railway Station and its interchanges, the subway that linked the north and south interchanges had been dedicated as a Highway under a deed of variation between Network Rail Infrastructure Limited and the Council.  Responsibility for the overhead concrete/rail structure had remained with Network Rail while the internal subway and ceiling were the responsibility of the Council’s Highway and Traffic Services Team.  The subway construction had included a suspended ceiling, lower than that of engineering constraints of the surrounding structure and was a potential safety risk to cyclists and as such, a Traffic Regulation Order had been put in place implementing a prohibition of cycling along the subway.  The public had a right of access through the subway on foot and cycling was not currently permitted, as the width and height clearances were substandard.  It had been a long-standing desire of the Council and cycling groups to find a solution that would enable safe cycling along the subway, as the prohibition and the surrounding rail infrastructure and strategic road network were significant cycling barriers between the north and south sides of the station and beyond.

The Council had commissioned a feasibility report on allowing cycling as part of a scheme to remove the lowest ceiling panels using Section 106 funding specifically for this scheme.  The solution would see the removal of the low sections of ceiling panels, a tidy up of the existing concrete ceiling and protection of Network Rail services.  There would be an improved head room clearance, which although below national guidelines, would enable the Council to accept the position and allow cycling through the subway following the necessary consultation process and revoking of the Cycling Prohibition Order.  The was also a separate proposal to replace the lighting with LED equivalent lanterns to reduce energy consumption and enable remote monitoring and control of the lighting units. 

The report stated that should objections be received during the statutory consultation period they would be submitted to a future meeting so that they might be considered prior to a decision being made on the outcome of the proposal.

The Sub-Committee discussed the report and it was acknowledged that it would need to be made clear that it was a shared space, with may be speed restrictions for cyclists and clear signage, and possibly safe segregation of cyclists and pedestrians.

Resolved –

(1)     That the report be noted;

(2)     That the Assistant Director of Legal and Democratic Services be authorised to undertake statutory consultation processes for the proposed revocation of the Traffic Regulation Order that implemented the subway cycling prohibition in accordance with the Local Authorities Traffic Orders (Procedure) (England and Wales) Regulations 1996;

(3)     That subject to no objections being received, the Assistant Director of Legal and Democratic Services be authorised to make the Traffic Regulation Order;

(4)     That should any objection(s) be received during the statutory consultation period, that these be reported to a future meeting of the Sub-Committee for consideration and decision regarding the outcome of the proposal;

(5)     That no public inquiry be held into the proposal.

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