Decision due on Fishergate enforcement

Wednesday, July 05, 2017

Proposals to bring back enforcement on the Fishergate bus lanes in central Preston will be considered by Lancashire County Council's cabinet next week.

The plans, which follow detailed evaluation of the trial period, would see the cameras switched back on permanently from Monday 4 September.

Improved signing would be put in, following comments made by independent adjudicators when considering appeals against previously issued penalty charges. Signing would be completed before enforcement begins again.

The bus lanes were introduced to reduce congestion that has affected the city centre at peak times, especially in the build-up to Christmas.

These bus lanes are on Fishergate between Mount Street and Corporation Street, and between the junction with Butler St and Corporation Street.

The aim is to ease traffic flow in the city centre itself, providing a boost for shops and businesses, and improving the experience for shoppers in the main retail areas.

The cabinet report has been put together following a detailed six-month evaluation and consultation period. The meeting takes place on Thursday 13 July.

Phil Barrett, director of community services, said: "If the cabinet gives the go-ahead, we'll reintroduce camera enforcement, and carry out advertising and promotion to make people aware of these bus lanes.

"We know that many people are already aware of them, and if this is agreed then we're planning to do what we can to get the message out even further.

"Our aim is to secure compliance with the regulations, not to see anyone being caught, and cameras are an effective way to enforce them. There has been a significant increase in motorists ignoring these restrictions since camera enforcement was suspended.

"We’ve had support from businesses and bus operators, and we'll be changing the signing to address the adjudicators' findings."

Four large new signs would be added on Fishergate itself, as well as Fox Street, Lune Street and Chapel Street. A sign will also be added at the top of Butler Street.

Earlier this year, the independent adjudicator found that the legal order for the bus lane between Mount St and Corporation Street was properly made, but allowed several appeals on the basis of the "sufficiency" of signing and suggested changes would be needed.

Phil Barrett added: "We recognise that these bus lanes significantly affected people using the St George's Shopping Centre car park and in Avenham, so we've looked in detail at other measures, such as the removal of the bus lane on Church Street.

"This which would add extra capacity and help people travelling to and from the city centre.

"We’re also seeking agreement from the cabinet to look into options for a new junction from Ringway onto Lune Street, providing an exit for cars from the St George's Shopping Centre car park.

"We believe that these changes would help to reduce some of the issues that we identified during the trial period and improve the overall experience in the city centre for drivers and pedestrians.

"The proposals for Lune Street are at an early stage and still need looking into in more detail, with public consultation as part of the process."

The bus lane restrictions were introduced to:
• Reduce traffic congestion at peak times.
• Maintain traffic flow around the city centre.
• Improve the Fishergate environment.
• Reduce pollution within the main shopping area at peak times.

The bus lanes have removed an average of 2,700 vehicles each day from the section between Mount Street and Corporation Street. Bus journeys have become more reliable and journey times have reduced.

Since the Fishergate improvement work took place, wider pavements on Fishergate have provided more space for pedestrians, new pavement cafes have been created, and modern street furniture has been introduced, including more seating.

Pedestrian crossing times at the main junctions have reduced significantly, by as much as 75%.

Tagged as: Roads, Parking and Travel

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