"Alternative solutions" being considered to Penwortham one-way proposal
Plans to turn part of a Penwortham street into a one-way route should be put into reverse, according to more than 1,200 of the town’s residents.
In a survey carried out by South Ribble MP Katherine Fletcher, 91 percent of respondents said they were “very concerned” about the proposed changes on Kingsway.
Lancashire County Council last month carried out its own consultation into what locals thought of a proposal to close off access to the street from the A59 Liverpool Road, the results of which are yet to be published.
However, as the Post has previously reported, the plans have sparked uproar amongst residents.
It is part of a suggested scheme to create a “cycle superhighway” to better connect Penwortham to Preston City Centre for those travelling on two wheels.
A segregated cycle lane has recently been installed on Liverpool Road close to its junction with Cop Lane, near the new Tesco. Highways bosses now want to form an uninterrupted route for bike-riders by connecting that lane with a section already in place across Penwortham Bridge.
The plan would also see Kingsway become one-way close to the point where it meets Liverpool Road - meaning traffic could only exit onto the A59 and not enter Kingsway from it. The idea is to prevent traffic turning from the main route and so potentially cutting across the path of cyclists using the new facility.
However, it would mean a detour for people travelling to a GP surgery and church on the route, as well as those living on it.
Ms. Fletcher is now calling on the county council to scrap that element of the proposal, saying it is clear that it is “absolutely not what the community wants” - and the authority now says it is also considering "alternative solutions".
Just 36 of the 1,248 people who responded to the MP's survey were in favour of the changes - and she says that many of those against it cited safety concerns.
“It’s the knock-on effects of traffic on inappropriate roads that people are worried about. They say that Priory Lane [the alternative route] is so clogged that emergency vehicles wouldn’t get through.
“I can't tell you how many cyclists have come to me and say they want investment in cycling infrastructure, but that this is just absolutely not the right scheme.
“It will also put more traffic onto Liverpool Road, because people coming from Preston will have to drive past Kingsway [to the Tesco junction],” said Ms. Fletcher adding that the majority of respondents were supportive of encouraging cyclists but believe that the Kingsway proposal was “dangerous”.
Twenty-three percent of those who were concerned about the plans said they worried about road and pedestrian safety, while 32 percent were unhappy about reduced vehicle access and the same proportion about increased congestion.
Of those who were supportive of the proposal, 36 percent said they believed it would improve air quality.
Responding to the MP’s call for a rethink, county council cabinet member for highways Charlie Edwards said: "We want to thank everyone who has contributed their comments on our proposals around Kingsway, including Katherine Fletcher MP, who has presented the findings of her survey to us. The wealth of feedback we have received during our engagement period, which closed at the end of July, will be fully considered to ensure that we put the right measures in place.
"We are also considering alternative solutions to what was previously put forward, which would support the wider aims to improve facilities for those travelling the mile between the Cop Lane junction and Preston city centre. These proposals are expected to be discussed at cabinet in September.
"As well as providing safety improvements for pedestrians, cyclists and other vulnerable users, the new cycle track will encourage sustainable transport between Preston and Penwortham and improve local air quality."
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