CYCLE LANE CUT: Now government cuts funding
A controversial cycle path scheme through part of Liverpool has been axed.
Now The Department for Transport has cut funding to councils which "prematurely" removed the new schemes. In a letter, transport minister Chris Heaton-Harris said that schemes need to be "allowed to bed in", and kept in place long enough "to be properly evaluated".
With the opening up of the sinkhole on Prescot Road over a week ago, a decision had to be made before the review was able to conclude. Councillor Daniel Barrington decided that the inbound cycle lane – heading towards the city centre – was to be removed.
A segregated cycle path was laid down West Derby Road as part of a wider plan to introduce cycle paths connecting the city during the first lockdown.
We spoke to Liverpool's Cycling Commissioner when the announcement was made.
However, the West Derby path in particular proved unpopular with some in the local community, who say it is causing severe traffic problems and causing lengthy delays for those using buses.
Tuebrook ward councillor Steve Radford said last year that the scheme was implemented with little to no consultation with residents and was causing huge problems for residents.
Councils which "prematurely" removed new schemes to boost cycling have had their funding cut.
The Department for Transport announced that local authorities in Brighton, Leicestershire, Portsmouth and Liverpool are among those whose active travel funding has been halted.
Seven London boroughs are also affected.
Pop-up cycle lanes and low traffic neighbourhoods – often involving closing roads to motor vehicles – were installed across England following the coronavirus outbreak last year.
But a number of councils including Liverpool reversed the schemes following vocal opposition by motorists.
In a letter to local authority leaders, transport minister Chris Heaton-Harris wrote: "For all the controversy these schemes can sometimes cause, there is strong and growing evidence that they command public support.
"I do know that a few councils have removed, or are proposing to remove, cycle schemes installed under the fund, or to water them down.
"Of course I understand not every scheme is perfect and a minority will not stand the test of time, but if these schemes are not given that time to make a difference, then taxpayers' monies have been wasted."
Mr Heaton-Harris stated that schemes need to be "allowed to bed in", and kept in place long enough "to be properly evaluated".
He went on: "We have no interest in requiring councils to keep schemes which are proven not to work, but that proof must be presented.
"Schemes must not be removed prematurely, or without proper evidence and too soon to collect proper evidence about their effects."
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