Preston’s city centre gridlock takes a new twist as road bosses will be introducing bus lanes.Advertisement
New ‘no right-turn’ signs are to be added to the Butler Street junction leaving the railway station, after Lancashire County Council revealed at least a quarter of drivers are ignoring the new restriction.
This is causing delays for people leaving the Fishergate and railway station car parks, as well as causing gridlock at the bottom end of Fishergate with its junction with Corporation Street.
Motorists reported on Saturday with the Preston North End v Aston Villa game on and restrictions in place there were delays of more than two hours leaving the St George’s Shopping Centre car park.
The county council has faced repeated calls to make changes to the Fishergate ‘shared space’ scheme since its introduction, and it has now acted.
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1) Proper no right-hand turn signs put in place at the Butler Street junction from Monday 17 October
2) A new bus-only section between Butler Street and Corporation Street, extending the existing bus lane heading towards the city centre.
3) Installing a bus lane camera to monitor the bus-only section and dishing out a £60 fine for any driver mis-using it, with the camera being operational from Monday 31 October
4) Running a new bus lane on Fishergate from Mount Street junction to the Corporation Street junction between 11am and 6pm, only buses and taxis will be able to use it. The bus lane would be in place by Monday 31 October
5) Reversing the one-way system in Mount Street so you head out of the city centre instead of into it
6) Garden Street becoming one way from Mount Street to Winckley Square
7) Forcing traffic leaving St George’s car park to use Chapel Street
8) Moving the parking for blue badge holders from Theatre Street to Fox Street
The changes are due to be introduced for six months with the county council saying they hope they will ease congestion during the Christmas period.
Cabinet member for highways and transport county councillor John Fillis said: “We have taken time to develop the right proposals that should help to improve people’s journeys, by looking at the particular junctions where there have been problems and considering the overall capacity and layout of the surrounding network.
“Along with helping the current situation, improving access around the city centre will also attract more business investment in the future, which boosts the local economy.”
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He went on to say ‘traffic congestion in and around Preston city centre has been a regular occurrence for some years, but we’re working hard to tackle it.’
In the run up to Christmas last year the county council was forced to bring in human traffic lights – a man with a stop go sign – at the Butler Street and Corporation Street junctions with Fishergate to try and ease the delays.
Futher changes could be on the way, with the county council saying ‘other long term proposals are also being considered, taking into account major developments around the Bus Station and Markets Quarter’.
Asked whether they had any plans to reintroduce traffic lights at the bottom end of Fishergate with the Corporation Street junction a county council spokesman said they had no plans to do so.
What do you think of the Fishergate changes? Do you drive in the city centre? Let us know in the comments below