Cyclists in Preston are to be given a shared-use path to enable them to avoid the busy A6 road while riding into the city centre and to Cardinal Newman College.
The £90,000 scheme, financed by cash from the Department for Transport’s Local Sustainable Transport Fund, was approved by Lancashire County Council last week.
As part of the works, the footway running alongside the A6 London Road between Frenchwood Avenue and North Road will be widened to 3 metres to allow people on bikes and those on foot to safely share the space.
A report recommending the scheme prepared by an official at Lancashire County Council said: “The conversion would not jeopardise the safety of pedestrians as the shared space would be sufficiently wide to safely provide a route for both pedestrians and cyclists.”
It also said the proposed route had been audited by representatives of local cycling groups and it scored well in terms of both safety and directness.
It said that since the beginning of 2009, there had been two incidents in which cyclists were clipped by vehicles overtaking them on the stretch of road in question.
The report added: “The route is heavily used by buses so the shared use path would reduce the chance of an accident involving a bus pulling out from a bus stop and a cyclist trying to overtake the bus.“
One of the issues highlighted in the report concerned the possible relocation of a bus shelter.
It said that “the Operations Manager at Preston Bus strongly objects to the shared use footway as he said that one of his staff members was off work for 9 months following a collision with a cyclist travelling at speed on a shared use footway.
“If the scheme must go ahead he would prefer a separate cycleway around the back of the bus shelter to reduce the potential for conflict with bus passengers, although he still feels any shared use space is potentially unsafe.”
Three options were considered regarding the bus shelter. The most expensive of those, costing £75,000, was to leave it where it is and split the shared-use path so that cyclists would go round it one way, and pedestrians the other.
However, the council will proceed with a cheaper option of relocating the bus stop a further 1.5 metres away from the road, at a cost of £15,000.
One local resident who lives on the route responded to the council’s consultation by welcoming the scheme.
According to the council, she said “that the shared use space is a wonderful idea to help promote the environmentally friendly mode of transport that is cycling.”
It added: “She supports the scheme and would like to see more in Preston.”
Simon has been news editor at road.cc since 2009, reporting on 10 editions and counting of pro cycling’s biggest races such as the Tour de France, stories on issues including infrastructure and campaigning, and interviewing some of the biggest names in cycling. A law and languages graduate, published translator and former retail analyst, his background has proved invaluable in reporting on issues as diverse as cycling-related court cases, anti-doping investigations, and the bike industry. He splits his time between London and Cambridge, and loves taking his miniature schnauzer Elodie on adventures in the basket of her Elephant Bike.