Drivers beware - Fishergate's bus lane is back

New warning signs in Fishergate, Preston
New warning signs in Fishergate, Preston

City centre drivers beware - the Fishergate bus lane will be back from Monday.

The controversial traffic congestion scheme - which lead to an inquiry when it was introduced last year - is being reintroduced from Monday.

A map of the bus lane areas on Fishergate, Preston

A map of the bus lane areas on Fishergate, Preston

Lancashire County Council hopes that the bus lanes and vehicle restrictions will ease traffic congestion in Preston over the crucial Christmas shopping period.

The bus lanes were introduced to reduce congestion that has affected the city centre at peak times over many years, especially in the build-up to Christmas.

The plans, which follow detailed evaluation of the experimental period, will see the cameras switched back on permanently from next Monday.

Lune Street will be made two-way on an experimental basis from Monday, November 13, with new access created onto Ringway. This will be evaluated for approximately six months, and will inform the development of more permanent plans - if all goes well.

The changes on Lune Street were originally planned to coincide with the camera enforcement coming back on Fishergate, but despite the speedy construction of the new link road, it has taken a week longer than hoped to complete them.

As planned, the county council will initially only issue warning notices to people misusing the bus lanes. Warning notices will continue to be issued at least until Lune Street opens for two-way access from the St George's car park.

The move has been taken by the county council to help make people aware of the changes, ahead of full enforcement restarting again.

The bus lanes are located on Fishergate between Mount Street and Corporation Street, and between the junction with Butler St and Corporation Street.

Improved permanent signing has been introduced in and around Fishergate, as well as additional temporary signing, to alert motorists ahead of enforcement restarting.

Warning notices will be given out for an initial period of time, to help people's awareness of these changes.

County Councillor Keith Iddon, cabinet member for highways and transport, said: "We'll be switching the cameras back on along Fishergate from Monday, and we’ve been carrying out advertising on radio and social media, as well as other promotion to make people more aware of the bus lane.

"There has been a significant increase in the number of drivers ignoring these restrictions since we suspended the camera enforcement, which shows that we need additional measures in place.

"We don't want anyone to get caught out by these cameras, which is why we've introduced a short grace period. We're happy if we don't make a penny from them, as it means that people are doing the right thing.

"These bus lanes have removed an average of 2,700 vehicles every day from the section between Mount Street and Corporation Street. We know that bus journeys have become more reliable and journey times have reduced.

"However we also know that people using the shopping centre car park and through Avenham were particularly affected. The Lune Street changes should help to resolve some of the issues that we identified during the trial period and improve the overall experience in the city centre for drivers and pedestrians."

Four large new signs will be added on Fishergate itself, as well as Fox Street, Lune Street and Chapel Street.

Earlier this year, the independent adjudicator found that the legal order for the bus lane between Mount Street and Corporation Street was properly made, but allowed several appeals on the basis of the "sufficiency" of signing, and suggested changes would be needed.