A segregated cycle lane is set to be created along a stretch of one of the Fylde coast’s busiest routes.
Lancashire County Council’s cabinet has given the green light to the installation of the facility on the A584 Clifton Drive North in St. Annes. It will run between the road’s junction with Highbury Road West and Squires Gate, replacing the non-partitioned cycle lane currently in place.
However, related plans to turn that section of the highway into a so-called “red route” – which outlaws stopping in almost all circumstances – have been put on hold after they attracted just under 50 complaints from locals.
The route will also see a reduction in its speed limit from 40 to 30 miles-per-hour where the lower limit does not already apply.
Clifton Drive North will get a two-way segregated cycle lane on the coastal side of the road (image: Google)
The move comes more than five years after the road was identified by cycling charity Sustrans as “having traffic speed and flow above that which would be acceptable” given its place on the National Cycle Network.
A two-way, three-metre wide cycle track will now be constructed on the northbound, coastal side of the road, with a separate two-metre wide footway on the carriageway side.
The design will mean that cyclists pass behind the bus stops along the route so as to avoid crossing paths with passengers getting on or off public transport. The positioning of the bus stops on the northbound side of the road will also be amended to space them out more evenly, reducing their overall number from five to four.
Meanwhile, an existing pelican crossing at what was the entrance to the now-demolished Pontins site will be removed, with five new pedestrian refuge islands introduced along the route instead.
Cabinet member for highways Charlie Edwards told the cabinet meeting that the new arrangements would make crossing the road “a lot easier”.
Short sections of shared cycleway and footpath will be included at the start and end of the route, as there was insufficient funding to carry out the junction remodelling that would otherwise have been necessary if the segregated lane started immediately.
County Cllr Peter Buckley, cabinet member for cultural services, who also represents the St. Annes North division, welcomed the scheme – and the rethink over the red route.
“The introduction of a segregated cycleway will encourage recreational cyclists and families and the additional pedestrian refuges will help those in the Coastal Dunes estate, which is the former Pontins site, to be able to cross the road safely.
“The introduction of the red route would have particularly impacted those residents in the southern section of the road near the Highbury Road traffic lights and I’m pleased that revised parking proposals are being considered,” County Cllr Buckley said.
An alternative parking solution will now be developed for further public consultation before being brought back to cabinet at a later date.
A total of 73 responses were received to the consultation into the original plans for the scheme, featuring 112 objections – 46 of which related to the proposed red route.
Other concerns included the risk that sand would be a danger to cyclists because of the positioning of the cycle lane closer to the coast than the footpath. However, highways officers noted that sand already made its way onto the main carriageway and said that they were attempting to mitigate the risk by using a close-graded surface so that deposits were less likely to collect on top of it.
There were also calls from several respondents to retain the pedestrian crossing, but County Hall said that the changes would provide “more opportunities to cross” and also fulfilled the intention to “alter the character of the road by raising the profile and priority of vulnerable users”.
The project will cost £1.1m overall, and will be jointly funded by the county council and Sustrans, which is the custodian of the National Cycle Network, and has secured a £615,000 grant for the scheme from the Department for Transport.