Thursday, September 07, 2017
Proposals to bring back enforcement of 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 6 November.
Plans will also be put forward to make Lune Street two-way on a temporary basis, with new access created onto Ringway. This would be evaluated for six months, while permanent plans are developed.
The aim of these changes 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 bus lanes are on Fishergate between Mount Street and Corporation Street, and between the junction with Butler St and Corporation Street.
If these measures are agreed, improved signing would be added around Fishergate, following comments made by independent adjudicators when considering appeals against previously issued penalty charges. This 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 over many years, especially in the build-up to Christmas.
The cabinet meeting takes place on Thursday 14 September. The report has been put together following a detailed six-month evaluation and consultation period.
Originally discussed at the cabinet meeting in August, the plans were put on hold to develop detailed proposals for Lune Street.
County Councillor Keith Iddon, cabinet member for highways and transport, said: "If our cabinet agrees these changes, we'll be switching the cameras back on along Fishergate, as well as carrying out advertising and promotion to make people more aware of the bus lanes.
"I gave a commitment that we wouldn't reintroduce the bus lane enforcement until we could make Lune Street two-way. It's important to us that we can maximise the benefits of these changes, while reducing the impact on people leaving the city centre.
"We don't want anyone to get caught out by these cameras. We're happy if we don't make a penny from them, as it means that people are doing the right thing.
"There has been a significant increase in the number of drivers ignoring these restrictions since we suspended the camera enforcement, which shows that we need additional measures in place.
"We know that shoppers using the shopping centre car park and through Avenham were particularly affected by these bus lanes. We've looked in detail at various measures 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."
If the proposals are agreed, 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.
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