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Council spends £55k turning cycle lane into car parking

Following lobbying from residents Stoke-on-Trent council will move cyclists onto shared pavement with pedestrians

Stoke-on-Trent council is spending £55,000 to turn a cycle lane into car parking.

Following lobbying from residents on Harpfield Road, who had taken to parking on the “rarely-used” cycle lane when no other spaces were available outside their homes, the council will create one lane for cycles and pedestrians to share, while turning the existing bike lane into car parking.

The council says changes will make it easier for people to park, while improving safety for those who cycle, who will no longer face collision with motor vehicles when they drive across the bike lane, or leave cars on the bike lane itself.

City council cabinet member Jack Brereton told the Stoke Sentinel: "We have recently consulted with residents on a scheme which will improve road safety as well as access in Harpfield Road.

"In particular the work will reduce current hazards for both pedestrians and cyclists.

"The scheme is also designed to help improve residential parking and will allow residents to park much closer to their properties."

Harpfield Road is unusual in the UK in that it has an off-road cycle path and separate footpath running along its one mile length on each side of the road, from Harplands Hospital to Newcastle Road, although the route does not give cyclists priority at junctions and numerous driveways along its length open onto the cycle path. 

Work started on Monday to remove the cycle lane between houses 95-119. According to Google Streetview, some houses have car parking on their front gardens, while a number of cars can be seen parked along the cycle track and footpath. No-one seems to park on the road, despite a lack of double yellow lines. 

Resident Gareth Barker told the Sentinel: "I have seen cyclists struggle and have a few close calls with cars as they have parked up.

"You can't put a price on people's safety and I think this will make things better for everyone, not just the people who live here."

"Designated parking would alleviate many of the problems as I think most of the people who park on the pavement are residents, who do so for convenience, rather than people visiting the hospital. The only issue is where exactly they will place the spaces."

One visitor, whose elderly mother lives on Harpfield Road, told the Stoke Sentinel: "I'm not sure why they think this will help with people's safety.

"I have never actually seen a cyclist go down this street, and I visit here all the time. They always use the road anyway. To me, it seems like a big waste of money."

Stoke-on-Trent was designated one of the UK's 18 “cycling cities” in 2008, receiving government funding for cycle infrastructure, parking and the promotion of cycling. The funding, which increased the city’s cycle network from 124km to 161km (including greenways, shared use footpaths, on-road cycle lanes and bus lanes shared with cyclists), ended in 2011 and was not renewed.

 

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