Well the Big Dig has started and in a few years from now Lancaster city centre will have new drains. Until then it will have closed roads and diversions.
What wasn’t predicted was that the relatively easy task of keeping Lancaster’s cycle ways open has been ignored by the planners, despite discussions between a County Council keen to advertise how cycling-friendly Lancaster is and United Utilities (who have are conducting the dig). Not so friendly if a cyclist can’t even cross the town on their bike (though a familiar story).
Along with other cycle campaigners in the area, Dynamo have written to Andy Ashcroft (County Council Director of the Public Realm) and Eddie Mills (a County Traffic Manager), to ask them to address this:
Dear Eddie Mills, Andy Ashcroft, Dynamo is very disappointed with Lancashire’s decision to abdicate responsibility for traffic flow leaving it to United Utilities planners who know little of the importance of cycling in Lancaster and are motivated by minimising the direct and compensation costs to United Utilities. Three points are of real concern:
- Firstly, an unforeseen but predictable consequence of the redirecting of traffic down Lower Church Street is that an increasing number of motorists are now illegally using Church as a rat run to access the gyratory. Several Dynamo members have complained to me, and last Friday I saw for myself three unbadged cars coming towards me as they headed east down Church St. This is illegal and dangerous to cyclists and pedestrians. Please give us your assurances that immediate action i.e dedicated policing will put a halt to this.
- Secondly, the safety posts on Chapel Street need to be moved to the outside of the cycle lane. This would at least allow safer two-way cycling on Chapel Street. Yesterday, I was almost run into by a cyclist who came round the bend off North Road. As they are currently positioned they offer no extra protection but only increase the risk of crashes. Moreover, they send a confusing signal to cyclists heading south as to which side of the posts they should ride on. Please have them re-positioned.
- Thirdly, the council’s refusal to remove a few parking places at the top of North Road and so keep open the major cycle access route for those heading north to the Millennium Bridge, is a serious regression to the days of yore when cycling was regarded by the council as a problem rather than a solution to city centre traffic management. Lancaster’s as a cycling demonstration town fought hard for these routes which you seem unprepared to defend. Most disappointing.
Moreover, it has just come to Dynamo’s attention that you propose, in effect, to close off the major cross-city cycling routes on George Street and Spring Garden Street, while allowing buses, taxis and access vehicles. This smacks of outrageous discrimination. Please amend the relevant TRO.
Dynamo looks forward to hearing from you.