Lancashire County Council is introducing some further changes to roads in Preston to help social distancing and encourage people to walk and cycle for regular journeys as lockdown restrictions are eased but there remains a need to prevent the spread of coronavirus.
The county council has been working closely with Preston City Council to safely reopen the town centre as footfall increases, and prioritise walking and cycling due to continued restrictions on public transport.
A number of measures are already in place to give more space to pedestrians in busy areas, and make cycling easier using temporary ‘pop-up’ cycle lanes to separate cyclists from other traffic using bollards and water barriers.
A further round of cycling-friendly measures will see a number of roads being partially closed to vehicles to reduce traffic levels and make it easier for people to use their bikes for regular journeys. The ‘point-closures’ will mean vehicles can still access the full length of the road to reach homes and businesses via diversion routes, while preventing them being used as rat-runs where more suitable routes are available for through-traffic.
On Saturday 27 June, a closure was introduced at the junction of London Road and Frenchwood Avenue. This aims to reduce vehicle numbers on Frenchwood Avenue, making it a quieter route for cyclists on the approach to Cardinal Newman College and routes from the south towards the city centre while complementing the existing pop-up cycle lane on Winckley Square.
On Wednesday 1 July, two closures will be introduced on Deepdale Street/Fletcher Road. This stretch of road offers cyclists a safe parallel route to Ribbleton Lane, but has become increasingly a busy through-route due to the number of vehicles using it to avoid traffic lights on Ribbleton Lane. The closures will prevent this rat-running, making it a quieter route for cyclists, while still allowing access for residents and businesses. The closures will be on Deepdale Street and Fletcher Road either side of the junction with St Mary’s Street North. Vehicles will be able to access businesses via Deepdale St/St Mary’s St North/Deepdale Mill St depending upon where the business is situated along Deepdale St/Fletcher Rd.
Also on Wednesday 1 July, a number of closures will be introduced in the area of Fishwick Parade to make this a quieter route for cyclists and prioritise New Hall Lane (A59) which runs parallel as the more suitable through-route for vehicles. The closures will be at the junction of Fishwick Parade and Braddon Street, the junction of Fishwick Parade and Fishwick Road, and the junction of Adelaide Street and Primrose Hill, along with a closure part-way along Brockholes View.
There will be diversion signs in place where roads are closed to direct drivers on alternative routes to their destinations.
County Councillor Keith Iddon, cabinet member for highways and transport, said: “We’re always looking for opportunities to make it easier for people to travel more sustainably, however current advice is to avoid using public transport unless your journey is really necessary, so instead we’re asking people to walk and cycle if they can.
“We’ve already put pop-up cycle lanes on Fylde Road, Winckley Square and Penwortham Hill to improve links into the city centre for cyclists.
“We’re now building on these measures by temporarily closing some further roads at various points to make them quieter routes for cyclists and prevent rat-running, while still allowing access for vehicles via signed diversions.
“The closures should make these routes significantly less busy by keeping vehicle traffic on more suitable main routes and away from local roads which are more suited for cycling.
“Our aim is to create a network of better links for cyclists on routes into Preston to encourage people to use their bikes for regular journeys, such as getting to work.
“While social distancing restrictions have eased somewhat, we expect them to affect the way people can use public transport for some time to come, with the risk that this could lead to an increase in people driving and cause more congestion on the roads.
“If creating these quieter routes, and pop-up cycle lanes, make some people feel more able to cycle instead of driving or using public transport for regular journeys, they will have been worthwhile.
“At the same time they are a temporary measure as part of our response to the coronavirus crisis, and we will keep them under review.”
You can find out more about walking and cycling at lancashire.gov.uk/activetravel. Details of temporary cycling measures and road closures will be updated in the coming days on a national map of coronavirus-related measures at sustrans.org.uk/space-to-move.