Thursday, 6 February 2014

Pedestrian Zone: New Traffic and Parking Restrictions Postponed



The start date for a scheme to reduce traffic in Lancaster's pedestrian zone has been postponed until 3rd March 2014 due to administrative errors.

Lancashire County Council had intended to bring in the new rules, which will affect traffic and parking arrangements, on Monday 3 February. The scheme is part of Lancaster Square Routes, a project by the county and city council to improve the look and feel of the city centre and to reduce traffic in pedestrian areas. (See previous story from 29th January:  'Council introduces new traffic rules for Lancaster city centre pedestrian zone.')

County Councillor John Fillis, cabinet member for highways and transport, said:

"We were due to bring the scheme in on 3rd February. However, there have been administration problems with the advertising process. This means we have to re-advertise the scheme and move the date when it will come into effect until Monday 3rd March.

"The scheme will improve the way traffic is managed to create a better environment and get the most out of the space available. It is vital to the daily functioning and economy of the city. Because this is an experimental traffic order, we can monitor how these changes are working and make adjustments if necessary.

"We will continue to work closely with the city council, businesses, residents and other partners while the order is in place. Please accept my apologies for the confusion that has been caused."

The changes include:

• A change to the period when goods vehicles cannot enter the zone to 10am - 5pm to fit with the main shopping hours.

• Removal of the permit system by which some drivers can access the zone by vehicle for either loading or parking, including access for disabled parking.

• The introduction of a new dispensation system by which the zone can be accessed by vehicles for certain purposes, including for essential works or events and by market traders (time limited).

To compensate for the removal of around 15 spaces previously used by disabled drivers to access the old city centre around Market Square and the Library / City Museum, New Road and Church Street, four additional spaces have been created on the city council managed St Nicholas Arcades car park. Disabled drivers can also use any council car park for free, as previously. Unfortunately there are no council car parks near Lancaster Library but there are other more accessible libraries and markets in the area.

Disabled drivers whose annual permits expired at the end of January found they could not renew them and so continue to be excluded from the area regardless of the postponement.

The order will last for 18 months, during which the effects of the changes will be monitored and people and organisations will be able to give their views on how they are working.

One aspect of the Square Routes Project intended to benefit people with mobility problems will be the removal of the cobbled stretches from the pedestrian precinct.

• More information is available at www.lancaster.gov.uk/lancasterparking

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