Why green transport in Aylesbury could be a reality

Why green transport in Aylesbury could be a reality

For years now, our local Nextdoor group (a social network targeted at local areas) is constantly lighting up with someone or another complaining about the traffic in Aylesbury. With the Aylesbury Garden Town work, “build more roads” doesn’t feel like the answer to this problem!

The good news is Aylesbury has great potential to allow all local travel to be green and could do more to encourage the wider uptake of green transport options.

For starters, Aylesbury is basically flat which makes it perfect for cycling or walking. The council invested in the Gemstone Ways, cycle routes which link up the residential communities around Aylesbury, some years ago so they too clearly see the potential here. Back in 2005 Aylesbury was chosen by Cycling England as one of six ‘Demonstration Towns’, to lead the way in promoting cycling across the country. (There is a great, succinct overview of the creation of the Gemstone Ways here).

Then there is the town’s size: unlike, say, High Wycombe (my home town) Aylesbury isn’t too big, which means if you wanted to get across town, you have realistic options other than the car.

So why does every other Nextdoor post still descent into traffic rants?

The Gemstone network no longer covers the town, which has grown over the past fifteen years; as it has grown, so have the areas of the town that are not covered by the network. And more importantly, the existing routes need some investment. There are multiple areas where signage is missing or where what was provisioned isn’t really sufficient, for example, the A413 into town from the south side is ripe for a dedicated cycle path. The existing gemstone path simply runs alongside the pavement, so is broken by people’s driveways and roads. By comparison, the gemstone route through Fairford Leys is brilliant, literally cutting between the houses into the middle of the village.

Public transport in and around Bucks is not ideal. You can typically get around town ok, if you don’t mind a wait and paying more than it would cost you to drive, but if you want to go between towns, you can more or less forget about it. There are some buses to larger towns – Milton Keynes, High Wycombe, Oxford – but the frequency of the service means a lot of forward planning and increased travel time.

We love this town and would love to see more investment in the cycle network, both upgrading the existing routes and extending them into the newer areas of Aylesbury and the surrounding villages. With the right sorts of investments, green transport for all really can be realized here. We are excited to engage with Aylesbury Garden Town in their development work and look at ways in which people can be encouraged and supported to get on their bikes and leave their cars at home.

If you are inspired by this and want to get involved, please let us know.

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