For: Simon Murray, Sustrans area manager
THE Marazion cycle path has been designed to provide a traffic-free connection between Penzance and Marazion, to encourage people of all abilities to cycle and walk more between the two towns in safety and away from the local road network.
The removal of car parking in the area has made this route possible, and will help to reduce the number of cars on the road, which will help to improve the local environment and make it a safer place for cyclists and pedestrians alike.
The cycle path is one of thousands across the country created by cycling charity Sustrans as part of the National Cycle Network – 13,000 miles of traffic-free, quiet lanes and on-road routes.
Founded in 1995, the network opens up the countryside to all members of the public. Now, more than a million journeys a day are made on the network, taking people to school, work, to the shops, to visit each other and to seek out green spaces.
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Sustrans found that in 2010 this traffic-free section of the network was estimated to have more than 300,000 people enjoying it regularly, the majority of whom were pedestrians.
The route is part of National Route 3, a walking and cycling route which runs through Cornwall and connects Penzance to Bristol as well as the South West Coast Path.
Routes such as the Marazion cycle path continue to be made possible with the support and co-operation of hundreds of organisations, including local authorities, councils and landowners and also with the support of local residents.
The creation of the cycle path is a close fit with Cornwall Council's Connecting Cornwall 2030 Strategy to encourage healthy lifestyles and supporting equality of opportunity.
As well as helping local people lead healthier, more active lives, the route has also had a significant impact on the local economy.
According to an assessment of the Trails in the Region in 2005, on average part-day visitors spend £3.76 per outing in the local area, full-day visitors spend £9.55 per outing and staying visitors £43.59 per night – with the money going directly back into the local economy.
Peter Rivett, proprietor of Land's End Cycle Hire at Long Rock said: "This new stretch of the cycle route will help our customers and all cyclists/pedestrians negotiate the way into Marazion more safely.
"Here's hoping for the remaining short section into the town."
Sustrans hopes that the benefits of the newly extended cycle network will outweigh any concerns around the removal of car parking spaces.