Bus lane plans branded 'ridiculous' by residents
- Credit: George Thompson
Plans to add a bus lane to Cromer Road and Aylsham Road in Norwich have been branded a waste of money by residents, but council officers say it will cut bus times.
Two new sections of bus lanes going towards Norwich city centre were put out to consultation earlier this year, funded through the government's £32m transforming cities fund.
Residents have responded overwhelmingly against the plans, with Lodore Avenue resident Taylor Coburn calling the plans “ridiculous”.
“There’s just no need, it will cause more harm than good, I think, it will 100pc clog up the road, making it more congested and harder for everyone,” the 18-year-old said.
“It just makes me feel a bit disappointed, it will be costing a lot of money and I think that could be used for other things for the community."
The plans would see a bus lane installed between Fifers Lane and Mayfield Avenue on Cromer Road and the second in Aylsham Road, between Suckling Avenue and Woodcock Road.
Both bus lanes would be shared with cyclists and operate 24/7.
“My view is that I would rather not have it, it is a busy road," said John Tuttle, 73, a Cromer Road resident.
“It is hard enough to get across the road as it is, what’s going to happen when it is congested?
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“I’m just not sure for the cost it will make enough of a difference.
“Without a camera system to fine people, you are going to get people continuing to drive in it.”
Carla Dransfield, 43, of Cromer Road said the plans would be a “nightmare” that could end up being worse for the environment.
“It’s going to end up congesting even further back which is going to be even worse for the environment,” she said.
Mr Tuttle and other residents raised concerns about what it would mean for the verges and pavements and if they would have to be reduced in size.
A consultation on the plans closed in March, with the overwhelming majority of the 457 responders coming out against the plans.
In total, 78.77pc chose ‘dislike it’ or ‘strongly dislike it' to the Cromer Road plans and 71.77pc choose ‘dislike it’ or ‘strongly dislike it’ for Aylsham Road.
In response to the consultation, council officers it will cut bus journey times by around 15pc.
They said: “Traffic modelling shows low impact for general traffic, with an increase in peak-period of up to 6pc.”
They rejected suggestions the plans could lead to rat-running or worsen air quality.
They also disputed the suggestion the route had insufficient bus traffic, saying it is used by 180 buses a day inbound and making the bus lane 24 hours a day is to “realise all the benefits”.
“The monitoring of traffic along this route and tracking information from buses has highlighted congestion and delay, particularly at peak times.
“This is also reflected in the Hellesdon Neighbourhood Plan, which says that what ‘people dislike the most about living in the Parish was the level of traffic, busy roads and congestion.
“Bus operators have reported journey times for buses at peak times can take 3-4 minutes longer.”
Not all residents were against the plans, on Aylsham Road Mrs Webster said she would benefit from taking the bus to work, while a Lodore Avenue resident welcomed the plans but did not think it should be 24-hour, which he described as “OTT”.
Hellesdon councillor Shelagh Gurney said she was disappointed by the officer's report which she said did not seem to take into consideration the high percentage of objections to the scheme, while Parish Councillor David King raised concerns about the plans he welcomed additional funding which will be spent on maintenance and resurfacing of the road.
A decision on the plans will go before the transforming cities joint committee on Thursday, June 10.
Martin Wilby, Norfolk County Council’s cabinet member for highways, infrastructure and transport, and chair of the Transforming Cities Fund joint committee, was contacted for comment.