New cycle lanes may ‘set motorists against cyclists’
WEST Lancashire Borough Council has committed £100,000 towards new bike lanes between Ormskirk town centre and Edge Hill University but has been warned the plans will “set motorist against cyclist”.
The council’s cabinet last week agreed to contribute the money from Section 106 funds – money developers must pay when allowed to build major housing projects – towards the scheme, with Lancashire County Council paying the rest of the costs.
Council chiefs say the plans will make it easier to walk or cycle between the town centre and university and will include improving footpaths and creating dedicated cycle lanes along St Helens Road and Ruff Lane.
Traffic lights will also be changed to make it easier for cyclists to cross safely from Ruff Lane to St Helens Road and, in the biggest change for motorists, Ruff Lane would be made one way between Knowsley Road and St Helens Road, but would be kept two way for cyclists.
At a virtual meeting of the Cabinet, Cllr Dave Evans, portfolio holder for planning, said that the scheme would have wider benefits such as providing safer journeys to the hospital and countryside.
He continued: “There’s quite a bit of opposition on this from various households on Ruff Lane, citing that the traffic runs too fast.
“So while this money will be spent [as] it’s laid out in the plans, we’ll be looking at ways of enforcing and reducing the speed of vehicles so it’ll become less of a rat run.”
But Cllr Adrian Owens, leader of the Our West Lancashire group, warned that the plans do not adequately address speeding issues on that road and said money made available by the university 10 years ago should have been used.
He also warned that this plan, which is only one phase of the overall project, would leave gaps which will undo efforts to make cyclists feel safer.
He said: “Officers say the project is to be phased but there is no vision for the Ruff Lane phase of the project and no certainty that funds will be available.
“People will not be encouraged to get on two wheels by a partial route with gaps at either end and especially with the daily dangers to cyclists from speeding vehicles on Ruff Lane.”
Cllr Owens added: “This partial project risks delivering the sort of ‘cycle lane to nowhere’ seen elsewhere that doesn’t get used; doesn’t increase cycling; and sets motorist against cyclist in a most unhelpful way.”
In a statement announcing the plans, Cllr Evans said: “The scheme would really benefit cyclists and walkers and it would be part of a series of measures that we hope will encourage more residents and visitors to leave their cars at home and enjoy Ormskirk and the rest of the borough by cycling and walking, which will be good for their health and improve air quality in the town.”
General view of Ruff Lane, Ormskirk Edge Hill University
Councillor Adrian Owens
Cllr Dave Evans