Delay in Cycle Route Project to University putting lives at risk

Lives are being put at risk because of your delays. That’s the message to Lancashire County Council this week from residents, cycle commuters and the area’s ward councillor who united to call for the proposals for the cycle route between Ormskirk town centre and the University to be published.

rufflane

Money was provided in 2011 from developments at Edge Hill University for a cycle track, yet it remains unused in the council’s coffers years later due to repeated delays in taking the project forward. Derby ward councillor, Adrian Owens and local Ruff Lane resident, Geoff Kearsley renewed the call for action in 2016 with Mr Kearsley, a retired construction engineer even drawing up his own costed proposal for the project. They attended two meetings with County Council officers and the Highways chief, Cllr Keith Iddon but now say progress has stalled again.

Mr Kearsley said, “It has been agreed that Ruff Lane is preferred for the cycle route project from the town centre to the University, especially as it has a 20 mph speed limit. The problem is that many vehicles exceed this limit on Ruff Lane. My costed proposal for the project included speed calming measures and clear signage to give cyclists priority on Ruff Lane. A cycle route just involving road markings will not encourage people to switch from 4 wheels to two.

“The delays from the county council are very frustrating. The officers on the team had changed between the two meetings I attended and at the second meeting we seemed to go back over old ground.”

Fellow Ruff Lane resident Mike Smith added,“I have lived in Ormskirk for 40 years and 26 of those years on Ruff Lane. I have witnessed the increase in traffic and the poor standard of driving is becoming a real reason for concern.”

Keen cyclist Becka Foster, who regularly cycles from Burscough to the University, said, “I ride my bike to work for many reasons, not least of which is to try and do my part to alleviate the issues of traffic congestion in and around Ormskirk. However, there are numerous cars who exceed the 20mph speed limit on Ruff Lane and force me off the road as they do not obey the highway code and wait for me to pass when their lane is impeded by parked cars. A designated cycle route on Ruff Lane with speed calming would encourage more people to cycle to the University.”

Derby Ward Councillor Adrian Owens concluded, “This saga has not shown the County Council in a good light with delays now stretching over 4 years. It’s long past time for firm proposals to be tabled and a scheme to improve road safety and encourage cycling to be started.”

4th March 2020

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