I’ve received a number of complaints from constituents on South Road in Lancaster in regard to the new ‘pop up’ cycle lane. Residents are annoyed they were not consulted or notified before it was installed, and this has caused difficulties and frustration.
Concerns have been raised in respect of the resident’s lack of access to their own property, lack of emergency vehicle access, lack of access for food deliveries to the vulnerable, the speed of some cyclists using the lane and lack of access to tradespeople working on the properties.
I contacted the Highways Department at Lancashire County Council on June 9 and in response they told me:
“Due to the urgency to reopen our town and city centres safely, we have not been able to consult or notify people as we normally would before putting such measures in place. However, we have assessed their potential impact and have introduced them where we consider they will provide the greatest benefit for cyclists, and minimal impact on other highway users.”
Phil Durnell, the Director of Highways and Transport went on to say “longer term, if a permanent cycling lane is proposed on South Road, this would subject to all the usual consultation and notification procedures. Such a scheme would provide increased scope for innovative design and the use of higher quality materials.”
LCC did not address the resident’s concerns and so I wrote again on July 1, asking them to do so.
Mr Durnell has responded to say:
“As you are aware, the pop-up cycle lane on South Road, Lancaster is one of a number of temporary measures we plan to introduce in the city to help encourage cycling and walking as an alternative to public transport. The others include Dalton Square (closed to vehicles on the Eastern side), Queens Square/King Street (junction closure), Brock Street/Common Garden Street (footway made wider) , Rosemary Lane (temporary cycle lane), Common Garden Street (temporary cycle lane), King Street (temporary cycle lane), Damside Street/Cable Street (temporary cycle lane).
“Creating pop-up cycle lanes and reallocating road space through temporary road closures is vital to help with social distancing as we emerge from lockdown. The statutory guidance published by the Department for Transport on 23 May 2020 dictates that any ‘pop-up’ cycle facilities should be installed with a minimum level of physical segregation from volume traffic, this can be in the form of bollards, cones, or water barriers.
“We understand that no matter how well we plan and implement these new cycle lanes, they may still cause inconvenience for some highway users. They may also lead to a temporary loss of parking spaces and restrict access for loading and unloading, or picking up and dropping off passengers. Whilst this is regrettable, it is important to remember that the primary purpose of roads is to carry traffic.
“Such measures will also reduce the amount of available carriageway width for emergency vehicles heading to the Royal Lancaster Infirmary. Whilst we do not expect this to add significant time to their journey, we have passed your comments on to Safer Travel Restart team. They are reviewing all of the feedback received on all of the county’s temporary measures to see whether there is sufficient evidence to warrant any changes. Of course, we are also monitoring these temporary measures continually to ensure they are providing the expected benefits. Once guidance around the use of public transport is changed to permit more users, and these interventions are no longer needed, we will remove them. Similarly, we may look to remove any which do not meet the key objectives outlined above. In the meantime, we would ask that local residents please bear with us whilst we work to ensure all of the county’s highway users can travel safely as lockdown is gradually lifted.”
Please do get back in touch with me if you have further concerns or you can contact the highways department here https://www.lancashire.gov.uk/roads-parking-and-travel/active-travel/ to draw attention to problems that have arisen.