A transport blueprint for the Lancaster district has been described as “a smoke screen for further inaction” by a cycling campaign group, while a Carnforth resident said it won’t help the town “one jot”.
Lancashire County Council published its draft transport masterplan for the Lancaster district last week, with proposals including removing the city’s one way system, and relocating junction 33 of the M6.
The plan called for a greater emphasis on sustainable travel such as park and ride buses and cycling, but Lancaster cycling campaign group Dymano said the plans for the future were a complete distraction from the works that needed to be done today.
Group spokesman Paul Stubbins said: “Lancashire County Council is kicking the can of responsibility for reducing danger for the most vulnerable road users further down the road.
“This grandly titled masterplan is full of the language of intention, but contains no actual plans to improve any local infrastructure. Even an attempt within the masterplan to recognise that a near term action is needed has a timescale of 2016 for a plan with 2017 for start of implementation, when this should be ongoing.
“There are no funded detailed proposals to reduce danger on two of the most dangerous roads for cyclists and pedestrians in Britain: the A6 between Lancaster city centre and M6 J33, and the A589 between Heysham and Morecambe. We need action now to protect local cyclists and pedestrians, not more expensive road schemes tomorrow.
“This latest masterplan isn’t the start of the green revolution that it claims to be and is simply a sop to cyclists, pedestrians and all road users who wish to see an end to the current transport misery.”
But after the Lancaster Guardian went to press, Lancashire County Council announced it would be spending £133,000 on a cycling safety programme on Lancaster and Morecambe roads, with work due to start next year.
Meanwhile in Carnforth, rail campaigner Peter Yates echoed Mr Stubbins’ call for action now, not further down the line.
Mr Yates, who was instrumental in bringing Carnforth Railway Station back to its former glory, is calling for the re-instatement of two platforms at the station on the West Coast Mainline.
He said: “After all the work that the community has done on trying to re-instate the platforms in Carnforth, this transport plan helps us not a jot. It says we’ve to wait until 2021 and possibly 2023, but these plans need to be brought in now.”
The proposals for Carnforth are based on future need, including housing developments and the effect the Heysham M6 link road will have on the town.
The report does say that it would endeavour to create a much more attractive space for pedestrians in the town centre, but Mr Yates said action, particularly on the rail connections, was needed now.
“They say they need development in the town before they consider doing it, but 206,000 people used Carnforth Railway Station last year. That’s a whole lot of people using the trains.
“This is a snub by the administration of Lancashire County Council against what the people want.
“My opinion is it’s a chicken and egg situation. Carnforth is being kept down, it could be far more of a visitor destination, but we’re treated with contempt.”
CYCLING SAFETY PROGRAMME
The safety measures for Lancaster and Morecambe include:
# £23,783 for slow signs and road markings at the Moor Lane junction with St Peter’s Road, also road sections on Moor Lane and East Road
# £31,710 on the installation of a zebra crossing across South Road, and slow signs in St Oswald Street
# £11,099 on improvement to path visibility and road markings in Bailrigg Lane, at the junction with Collingham Park cycle track
# £71, 348 on a signal controlled junction with toucan crossing facility at York Bridge at the Lancaster Road junctions with Schola Green Lane and a contraflow cycle lane in South Road along the length of the one way system.