A bus lane on Tithebarn Street is now being made permanent which will give priority to pedestrians crossing between the city centre and public space at the bus station.Advertisement
It will also reduce rat-running through the city centre as more changes have been brought to Lancaster Road.
The bus lane begins after the junction of Tithebarn Street and Old Vicarage.
All vehicles except buses which join Tithebarn Street from Ring Way now have to turn left onto Old Vicarage and back onto Ringway via Lancaster Road.
Drivers could receive a £60 penalty if they enter the bus lane. Cameras began monitoring at the start of February, with warning notices being issued for an initial period to give people a chance to get used to the bus lane being enforced.
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This approach has been used whenever a new bus lane has begun being enforced, however with fewer people visiting the city centre during the current lockdown the warning notice period will be extended.
Other bus lanes are in operation in Fishergate, Fishergate Hill and Broughton.
County Councillor Keith Iddon, Cabinet member for highways and transport, said: “As with the other bus lanes we’ve introduced in Preston, the new one on Tithebarn Street is a way of prioritising part of the city centre for public transport and pedestrians by reducing the presence of other vehicles.
“The redevelopment of Preston Bus Station has created a new public space on the city side of the bus station, and reducing traffic on Tithebarn Street ties in with this and other improvements such as those on Fishergate to make the whole area more pedestrian-friendly.
“It will also work in combination with the recent changes to traffic priorities on Lancaster Road to reduce rat-running through the city centre, and help to create a safer and more pleasant environment for everyone.
“We’ll be issuing warning letters at first to anyone who misuses the bus lane to give people some time to get used to it. We’re happy if we don’t make a penny from the bus lanes, as it means that people are doing the right thing.”
Cameras are now also monitoring a new bus lane at the entrance to the bus station from Lords Walk. No vehicles except buses have ever been allowed to use this entrance, however some drivers have used it to gain access to the bus station apron and take a short cut to Carlisle Street.
The standard Penalty Charge Notice (PCN) is £60, which is reduced to £30 if paid within 14 days.
The Tithebarn Street bus lane has been in place since May 2020, however extra signs have been put up now enforcement is due to begin to help alert people to it.
Cameras have been switched on to coincide with the planned opening of the vaccination site in St Johns Centre Preston. Complimentary car parking for people attending the vaccination centre is being provided on the bus station car park, increasing the number of people who need to cross Tithebarn Street.
A bus lane for Tithebarn Street was originally put in place in 2016, but was scrapped by the county council six months later due to pressure form councillors and business leaders.
A spokesperson from Stagecoach Merseyside and South Lancashire said: “Bus priority measures such as the bus lane on Titheburn Street in Preston are a critical part of ensuring that people who make greener choices about their travel can get to their destinations quickly.
“They also help by reducing the impact of congestion on the cost of running the bus network through shortening journey times and maximising bus fleet usage. As we prepare for recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic, it is now more important than ever that we put in place measures that will restrain car usage and incentivise people to use public transport.”
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