Green party councillors want road safety plan for when lockdown lifts
Green Councillors in Lancaster are calling for action to ensure that improvements to air quality last longer than the lockdown.
Lancaster County Coun Gina Dowding has written to Lancashire County Council leaders asking for improvements for pedestrians and cyclists to ensure people now walking and cycling can stay safe while undertaking healthy active travel.
She said: “One of the few unintended positives of the restrictions in place has been the increased number of people cycling and walking, including families with children, for exercise.
“Also many people including key workers and shoppers who would otherwise use public transport are cycling or walking to work or shop.
“This is great for health and for the environment, and air quality is demonstrably much improved, but we have seen just how limited public space is for pedestrians and cyclists in some areas.
“People are sometimes having to ride further out into the roads to give safe space to pedestrians; and with less traffic on the roads, many cars are travelling much faster.”
Coun Dowding has written to conservative County Cabinet members asking that as the highway authority for Lancashire, the county council introduces measures to give more space available for cycling and walking; to prevent speeding and to deter motor traffic from rat running through residential streets.
“As the lockdown is lifted it will be important to ensure the safety of people travelling on foot and by bike.
“Helpfully advice has been created for councils by campaign group Cycling England UK to show what can legally be done.
“Adopting measures such as Pop-up cycle lanes or widened footways would show that we are willing to protect the health and safety and the quality of the environment for our residents, and as well keeping the benefits of low carbon transport to tackle the far greater climate crisis that is still waiting in the wings.”
“By putting relatively low cost measures in place we can ensure that this swift modal shift to sustainable and active travel continues as a safe and healthy choice of transport among our residents. Some highways authorities in the UK such as Brighton and Leicester have closed roads to cars or converted a road lane into a pop-up cycle lane.”
Green Councillors gathered a range of ideas from local residents including:
– One lane of the gyratory used for cyclists and pedestrians only, especially along the west side:
– Speed reductions to 20mph within Lancaster on current 30mph from Ashton Road A588/ Scotforth Road A6 in the south, to motorway junction 34 to north, and on roads to the east of Lancaster.
– A6 and A588 road safety improvements into Lancaster from the South
– A ‘pop up’ lane on Ashton Road to widen the pavement and cycling space
– Road closure with bollards (except bikes), for example on Queen Street North of Lindow Street
Read our interview with Lancaster University climate scientist Paul Young about Covid-19, the environment, air pollution and what a sustainable future might look like here.