Kempston - Town of Cyclists
Kempston in the 2001 census had the highest number of residents cycling in Bedford Borough with 7.2% travelling to work by bicycle. Of the three Kempston wards, the South had the highest at 7.9%, East 7.5% and North 6.4%, but with 56.4%, 57.2% and 56.1% respectively of residents working less than 5km from their homes, there is signficant scope for many more people to consider this mode of transport.
The area has easy cycle access and the bicycle is ideal to travel to the town centre, railway station, work, local shops, churches, community and leisure centres as well as to the number of schools which are used by local school children.
The main cycle route from Kemspton to Bedford is from Hill Rise near Hastingsbury School via St John's Walk to the Saxon Centre and then along Bedford Road and the southern edge of Addison Howard Park before turning northwards just past Austin Canons and over Queen's Bridge to join the riverside path towards Bedford town centre.
The route is currently part of the National Cycle Network Route 51 from Oxford to Harwich and Colchester and had been opened originally in 1986 by Peter Bottomley MP following the instigation of an innovatory scheme by the Department of Transport known as the Kempston Urban Cycle Route Prodject latter known as the Hastingsbury Cycle Route. It was not until 1993, however, that the on-road section at the time in front of the shopping parade in Bedford Road was converted to off-road.
The second main route (constructed under the above project) is the South Kempston Route from Orchard Street via Jowitt Avenue and Ashdale Road crossing over Spring Road and then joining the Hastingsbury Route opposite Beatrice Street.
Since then other routes have been created, part on-road along quiet roads:
- Thirlmere Road (on the Hastingsbury Route) to The Maples and on to Orchard Street via The Links,
- Orchard Street to the Ampthill Road off-road route, Orchard Street. via Chantry Avenue. to the Woburn Road Industrial Estate,
- Saxon Centre (on the Hastingsbury Route) to Camstone Lower School via Springfield Avenue.
Kempston Road/Bedford Road was upgraded in 2002/03 and an off-road cycle route provided alongside the road from the turn to Queens Bridge as far as Prebend Street as an alternative to the Riverside route to the Town Centre. Since August 2010, cyclists have also been allowed to use the inbound bus lane.
The diagonal crossing at the Bunyan Road/Bedford Road junction was reinstated in 2010 as well a short spur of on- and off-road track from Stuart Road to the adjacent Toucan crossing. In March 2011 the uncontrolled crossing of Williamson Road was converted to a signal controlled Toucan crossing.
A further cycle route was created in 2010 around the new Marsh Leys interchange as part of the Western Bypass and the dualling of the A421.
Additions to the cycle network, including the Borough’s Green Wheel project to connect up the green spaces around the urban areas, are still going on as part of the new developments at Kempston West and Great Denham.
Cycle Parking Stands
Secure cycle parking is now a must at a destination for utility cyclists whether they are stands of the 'Sheffield' type (an inverted 'U') or simply adjacent metal railings or trees.
Kempston has a reasonable number of 'Sheffield' cycle parking stands but there are gaps.
Campaigning by CCNB resulted in eight 'Sheffield' type stands being provided under cover at Sainsbury's Saxon Centre store in March 2012 although being at the side of the store most cyclists are still securing their bicycles to the railings immediately outside the main entrance. Three Sheffield' type stands were also provided at Lidl's in November 2013.
If further ones are required in other areas of Kempston please contact CCNB so they can be put on the Borough's list if required in a public area.
Please note that as part of planning applications all new dwellings (houses and flats) as well as all public facilities, businesses, etc have to incorporate a specific number of cycle parking stands as one of the conditions of the application's approval.