New cy­cle lanes may ‘set mo­torists against cy­clists’

Ormskirk Advertiser - - Front Page - BY JAMIE LOPEZ

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.”

Jamie Lopez

Gen­eral view of Ruff Lane, Orm­skirk Edge Hill Univer­sity

Coun­cil­lor Adrian Owens

Cllr Dave Evans

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