Preston city centre shortcut to become bus-only route - for good

A bus-only route trialled in Preston city centre over the past year has been made permanent.

Thursday, 4th February 2021, 7:44 pm
Updated Thursday, 4th February 2021, 8:00 pm
Only buses. taxis and bikes will be able to continue along Tithebarn Street beyond its junction with Old Vicarage now that a restriction introduced last year has been made permanent (image: Neil Cross)

The restriction was introduced on Tithebarn Street – at its junction with Old Vicarage – when the road reopened last spring after being shut during the revamp of the city’s bus station. It extended around onto Lord Street, through to the point where it meets Lancaster Road opposite the town hall.

The experimental order closed off a well-used cut-through for vehicles between the A59 Ringway and Church Street.

Lancashire County Council’s cabinet has now approved plans to keep the regulation in place – meaning all traffic other than buses, taxis, cycles and some authorised vehicles servicing businesses in the area will remain banned from the route. Cameras will continue to be used to enforce the rule.

Sign up to our daily newsletter

The i newsletter cut through the noise

Only coaches and buses should be entering the bus station apron, accessed from Lord's Walk...

Members were told that the move would improve pedestrian safety, following the previous closure of a subway beneath the western apron of the bus station. That change has resulted in those leaving the facility and heading towards the city having to cross Tithebarn Street.

“The main concern to me was [that] we need to protect the public,” said cabinet member for highways Keith Iddon.

“We want people to visit and have a pleasant experience – we don’t want them to be in any way hurt.”

A business-owner in the area formally objected to the plans on the basis that they would make it impossible for those with mobility issues to park in close proximity to retail outlets on the road.

...but some car and van drivers have been tempted by the shortcut it offers to Lord Street. The bus gate in force at this point will now be made permanent.

However, highways bosses said that the use of the taxi rank on Tithebarn Street for that purpose was already banned before the restrictions were introduced – and noted that additional disabled parking is now available in the bus station car park, providing designated spaces within 90 metres of affected business.

Meanwhile, a shortcut across the bus station itself – spotted by mercurial motorists – will also be permanently prohibited.

The overhaul of the facility included the creation of an area for coaches and long-distance buses, which is accessed from Lord’s Walk and exits onto Lord Street.

Some car and van drivers had been taking advantage of the opening and using it as a rat-run into the heart of the city centre – in spite of signage outlawing the manoeuvre.

The so-called “bus gate” will also remain covered by an enforcement camera after cabinet members heard that the safety of those getting on and off coaches parked in the area was being endangered.