In 2008, Woking won cycle demonstration town status and received £1.8m in government funding to develop a three-year infrastructure enhancement programme.
Woking Borough Council delivered the Cycle Woking programme in partnership with Surrey County Council to helpe increase take up of walking and cycling, particularly for shorter journeys within the borough.
Just over 26km of new off-road cycle routes were constructed, 13km of which run along the Basingstoke Canal. The enhanced cycle network provided a 60% increase in dedicated cycle facilities and transformed the old fragmented network improving connectivity to key places, particularly the town centre and the railway station.
The network was named the ‘Planet Trails’ giving a nod to local connections to HG Wells and the War of the Worlds, which was written and based in Woking.
Other infrastructure improvements have included new and improved signalised cycle crossings allowing improved and safer access across busy roads, better signage and over a thousand new cycle parking spaces were created, including a dedicated and secure Cycle Hub at Woking Railway Station.
Since the improvements, Woking Town Centre has played host to Britain’s leading televised cycle race, the Tour Series, five times.
2020 and beyond
The Department for Transport has recently provided a £2 million package of support to help local authorities prepare Local Cycling and Walking Infrastructure Plans (LCWIP), as part of the its aim to double cycling by 2025.
Given its cycling legacy, Woking Town Centre was chosen to pilot Surrey’s first LCWIP, which will help identify cycling and walking infrastructure improvements for future investment in the short, medium and long term to help further increase trips made on foot or by cycle.
Woking’s LCWIP was submitted to the DfT at the end of March 2020 for consideration.