Milton Keynes redway system
The Milton Keynes redway system is a 120-mile (190 km) network of cycleways/paths for cyclists and pedestrians in Milton Keynes, Buckinghamshire, England. It is generally surfaced with red tarmac, and criss-crosses most of the city.
Some of these redways run next to the grid roads and local roads, with underpasses or bridges where they intersect major roads. Others run through park land and along the flood plain of the Great Ouse and its tributaries. One of the aims of the redways was to make travel for pedestrians and cyclists convenient, safe, pleasant and accident free, but a study suggests that the system has only partially met these expectations. More recent statistical data shows that the accident rate for pedestrians in Milton Keynes is just 46% of the average for England and the rate for cyclists is 87%.[clarification needed] However, the secluded semi-rural nature of many redways that make them pleasant by day can make some people feel unsafe to use them after dark. The Redways are lit at night.
Using the redways can be frustrating for experienced cyclists, because the redways tend to go under or over the roads, rather than the other way around. The frequent slopes, and circuitous routing, can be tiring, demanding on cycle and cyclist, and lead to slow journey times. As all redways are shared use with no cycle/pedestrian lane marking or separation, braking to pass pedestrians safely is also a slowdown; pedestrians may also dislike the lack of separation. But for the prepared cyclist, the redways provide a convenient, pleasant way to commute within Milton Keynes. Because they take in the most scenic areas, the redways provide an excellent leisure facility. The library provides free maps of the better tourist routes. Hardcore road cyclists prefer to use the grid roads, but the dual carriageways, multi-lane roundabouts and 60 or 70 mph limits makes this an option best suited to the confident and experienced. From 1988 to 1997 there were 35 'serious or fatal' cyclist collisions on the grid roads and local roads, versus 24 'serious or fatal' collisions involving cyclists using the redway system, though five of these involved vehicle/cyclist collisions at roadway/redway intersections. The number of cyclists using the redways is far higher than the number using the roads and their experience levels far lower, but there are no normalised statistics to show which on average is safer.
In icy conditions the redways aren't usually gritted, which can cause hazardous slippery slopes on the over/underpasses.
In 2009, the Local Authority have started a programme of reworking the Redway Signage with replacement signs and route markings on the tarmac but much remains to be done.
National Cycle Network
The national Sustrans National Cycle Network Route 6 (Derby - Luton) and Route 51 (Cambridge - Oxford) runs to and through the city (map). Route 6 enters the city at Old Wolverton and runs south through Milton Keynes on the local redway network and on some of the 'trim trail' routes. The route takes in Campbell Park before eventually merging with route 51 at the National Bowl. Route 51 runs in a loop beginning at the National Bowl running north through Knowlhill and Loughton. The route then crosses over the A5 and into Central Milton Keynes by Milton Keynes Central station. The route then runs along Midsummer Boulevard passing between the Centre: MK and Midsummer Place shopping centre crosses over into Campbell Park before joining back up with Route 6 by the Grand Union Canal. Cycle storage can be found along route 51 at Milton Keynes Central station (covered cycle racks) and at the junction of Midsummer Boulevard and Witan Gate where there are storage and changing facilities available.
There are also frequent Sheffield cycle racks in the Business District near the station, and outside the shopping centre and theatre, on both sides of Midsummer Boulevard. Cyclists appear to be encouraged to cycle through car parks (with two-way lanes) on each side of Midsummer Boulevard, and use pedestrian underpasses at the major junctions (cars use the roundabouts and/or traffic lights).
The Swan's Way long distance footpath also uses part of the redway system.
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