Southend-on-Sea is one of the most popular day resorts in the UK. With a population of only 160,000, the town has over 5.5 million visitors per year – so both tourists and residents are considered important audiences by Cycle Southend. The Southend programme has three key areas of focus - improving the cycling infrastructure, promoting cycling to schools and workplaces, and engaging the wider community through cycle training and education.

Construction is now underway on fourteen engineering schemes, including major improvements to existing infrastructure as well as new additions to the cycle network across a range of different routes. These schemes include off-road cycle tracks on busier roads, and reallocation of road space using cycle lanes and advance stop lines.

Two big infrastructure projects currently planned are the Prittle Brook Greenway and the Cinder Path National Cycle Network link. The Prittle Brook Greenway project, due to get underway in 2010, will involve upgrading an existing public footpath to a cycle route. The Cinder Path National Cycle Network link between Chalkwell and Leigh will also be widened and improved – with the aim of having an upgraded and continuous cycle route from Shoeburyness to Canvey Island and Benfleet in time for the 2012 Olympic Games. The Olympic BMX site is situated just outside Southend, but parking will be minimal so driving to the site will be discouraged. The new continuous cycle route will allow people coming into the nearest train station, Leigh-on-Sea, to ride to the venue quickly and easily – making it an important link for the BMX events.

Another key focus for Southend is cycle parking. The team has completed the installation of cycle shelters at 15 local primary schools and a further 10 schools will have new shelters by April 2010 – creating an additional 1,374 parking spaces. Improved cycle parking will also be installed at 11 of the borough’s 12 secondary schools.

Public surveys are being conducted to understand the type of cycle parking commuters would be willing to pay for at railway stations, and implementation will then take place in partnership with C2C and First Eastern at the five stations in the borough. This will include options of secure cycle parking, two tier parking at centralised sites and traditional cycle parking.

Other sites targeted for improved cycle parking include key organisations and large employers, such as Southend Primary Care Trust (PCT) and the local Community Centres. There is a continuing programme to install cycle parking in the borough’s parks and so far 87 spaces have been installed. To support cycling to school, Southend has recruited ten new Bikeability Officers and training is now taking place in all of Southend’s primary schools and three of the 12 secondary schools. Southend has three Bike Squad Officers who deal with all aspects of cycle promotion including events, adult cycle training and group rides.

Go Ride clubs are currently being established throughout the borough and there are already five fully qualified casual Go Ride coaches and one full time coach. A full time Bike It Officer works with 10 schools every year to promote cycling to school to pupils, staff and parents.

To reach the wider community, bike tagging events are regularly held by the Cycle Southend team - helping to discourage theft and encourage cycling - and Southend now has a Bike Recycle Centre, where residents can purchase a recycled bike at a low-cost.

The team is also trying to raise awareness of the dangers motorists pose to cyclists. Cruz Control is a new educational initiative for young drivers run by Southend Road Safety team and 14,000 year 11 and sixth form students have attended an event that aims to educate inexperienced motorists and emphasise the threat of dangerous driving.

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