Lancashire County Council is constructing pop-up cycle lanes to encourage people to walk and cycle for regular journeys as lockdown restrictions begin to lift.
The lanes in Lancaster and Preston city centres are to make it easier for people to cycle in these busy areas, and avoid using public transport if they can to help prevent the spread of coronavirus.
The council is also asking people to highlight public places where social distancing may currently be difficult and road space could temporarily be reallocated to give people more room. A simple e-form is available on the council’s website to make it easy to raise any issues.
Councils can now access funding for short-term measures to encourage walking and cycling to help deal with the pandemic with the support of a new active travel fund announced by the Department for Transport.
Pop up cycleways are temporary cycling routes on existing roads, created by adding bollards, cones, or water barriers to separate cyclists from other traffic.
Work is currently taking place to construct lanes on either side of South Road in Lancaster providing a better connection between the Pointer Roundabout and Penny Street.
Earlier this week a lane was created along one side of Winckley Square in Preston, creating a better link between the city centre and routes to the south, including off-road links through Avenham Park. Drivers can no longer turn left from Fishergate onto Chapel Street, with a diversion signed via Mount Street, Garden Street and Winckley Square.
Work has also taken place to construct lanes on both sides of Fylde Road in Preston, improving journeys for cyclists on this busy route from the west of Preston towards UCLan and the city centre.
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.
“With this in mind we’re taking advantage of funding available to quickly introduce temporary measures to make it easier for people to cycle in these busy areas as they start to get back to work, and shops and businesses begin to reopen.
“We know that cycling is not an option for everyone, however there has been a notable increase in people walking and cycling for exercise during the lockdown.
“There is a danger that restrictions on public transport could lead to an increase in people driving and cause more congestion on the roads. If these measures make some people feel more able to cycle instead of driving or using public transport for regular journeys, they will have been worthwhile.
“These cycle lanes will mean the loss of some parking, however they are a temporary measure as part of our response to the coronavirus crisis, and we will keep them under review.
“We’re also asking people to suggest further locations where road space could be temporarily reallocated to help everyone adhere to social distancing guidelines when walking and cycling.
“We’re working to identify places with high footfall and high levels of cycle activity, such as in local centres or along routes to school so we can look at measures to improve the situation, especially as these routes are likely to get even busier as people return to work and school.
“I’d be grateful if people can help us by highlighting anywhere they’re aware of where social distancing could be a problem using the form on the active travel page of our website.”
The county council is also working with Lancashire’s district and borough councils as part of the emergency response to the coronavirus to develop further measures to encourage social distancing in public areas as high streets begin to reopen.
To report a location where road space could be temporarily reallocated to help people walk and cycle, and for more information on walking and cycling in Lancashire visit our active travel page.