Lancaster might finally see the removal of its one-way system under ambitious £133m new plans for the district’s transport network.
A-16-year transport vision for Lancaster unveiled this week imagines a city with much less traffic, no gyratory system, and a greater emphasis on sustainable travel such as park-and-ride buses and cycling.
Lancashire County Council’s draft Highways and Transport Masterplan for Lancaster sets out the following options:
• Relocating J33 of the M6 to a position between Galgate and Lancaster University, potentially by 2024;
• Reshaping the way city centre traffic is managed by making Caton Road the principal gateway into the city from the M6, from both north and south;
• Making Lancaster central to the start of a countywide programme of support for Ultra Low Emission Vehicles
• A district-wide cycling and walking strategy that includes superhighways, quiet roads, greenways and local links to make walking and cycling safe and convenient for an increasing number of local journeys;
• A third bridge across the river Lune.
County Coun John Fillis, Lancashire County Council’s cabinet member for highways and transport, said: “Transport goes hand in hand with economic development and as our towns and cities expand with new housing and businesses, it’s vital that we plan ahead so that people and goods can travel easily and efficiently. For Lancaster this presents a great opportunity to tackle problems with congestion and air pollution and create a city centre environment which will make Lancaster a particularly attractive place to live, work and visit.”
The council says a direct connection to the motorway for South Lancaster would give reliable motorway access, removing the need for traffic to travel through the city centre and removing much of the traffic from Galgate.
This would help free the city centre from congestion and allow a completely new approach to traffic management, with space to develop sustainable transport measures including a park-and-ride/cycle facility to the south of the city and rapid transit buses.
Hazel Walton, the county council’s transport planning manager said: “Now is the time to get this out there in terms of preparing for and responding to big changes to transport in the north of England.”
She said that housing provision in the district would inform the transport plan as it moves forward, and that funding would hopefully come from a Future Growth Deal for Lancashire, as well as a Community Infrastructure Levy on developers through the city council. She added: “Lancaster will be unrecognisable 10 years down the line”.
The plan includes improvements to be developed by 2031 including a vision for a better connected town centre in Morecambe where it’s easy to travel on foot or by bike, and better public transport links around the district.
Coun Fillis said: “The proposals presented in the masterplan to greatly reduce vehicle traffic in the city centre are an ambitious but also practical and achievable solution to make sustainable transport such as cycling and rapid-transit buses really work well.
“We also want to open up the transport connectivity in Morecambe, while working with local people to provide an enhanced environment for people to get around a town which is not dominated by cars.
“Cycling in the area is well supported and we need to build on this support and extend the opportunities for people to cycle safely as part of their daily lives and not just as add-on an activity.”