'It's just an eyesore': New orange bicycle lane posts cause concerns on Northampton road

Residents are planning to start a petition over temporary bright orange bicycle posts in their road so they are not made a permanent fixture

Friday, 4th September 2020, 8:00 am
Residents have questioned why the posts are not more inkeeping with the area.

Residents are fearful that new temporary plastic orange posts that segregate the road from the bicycle lane in Rushmere Road will cause problems and deem them unnecessary.

It comes as Northamptonshire County Council received £351,000 of funding from the Government’ Active Travel Emergency Fund in May to encourage people to cycle during the pandemic.

The fund has paid for posts to be installed on one side of Rushmere Road East - where there is already a pre-existing cycle lane - as well as 36 cycle racks across town.

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The orange posts have been placed between the cycle lane and road in Rushmere Road. Pictures by Kirsty Edmonds.

Works started on the posts on September 1, between Billing Road and the Northampton Old Scouts Rugby Football Club, and have since been called an 'eyesore' and compared to living on an 'airport runway'.

The main concerns residents have is how will the cycle lane be kept safe if road sweepers cannot gain access to it and they question why they were not consulted about the change.

Councillor Julie Davenport (Ind, Delapre & Briar Hill) also added that residents want to know how long the temporary measures might be in place.

She said: "I have had lots of residents complaining to me.

"I am going to go out with residents and knock on doors and try and do some kind of petition to gauge how people are feeling.

"I represent the residents and I can understand all of their concerns. Work started on Tuesday, after the Bank Holiday, and residents feel the council did not want them to have their say. They feel bamboozled."

One resident, who wishes to remain anonymous, wonders why the apperance of the posts could not blend in with the scene scape of the area.

She said: "I have so much pride where I live but now I come out of my house and I don't want to look up. It's shocking, it's like living on a runway.

"It’s also shocking how they can change your living environment in a number of days without consultation. We are hoping it's temporary but no one will confirm or deny that. We are not getting any answers."

Councillor Jason Smithers, county council cabinet member for Highways and Place, said: "Northamptonshire County Council was allocated £351,000 to support walking and cycling, including for the introduction of temporary and experimental measures to reallocate road space away from motor vehicles such as through the introduction of light segregation for cycle routes. As these measures are being introduced as part of the response to the relaxation of restrictions following the COVID lockdown there has not been the time to hold public consultation before installation as would normally be the case.

“Rushmere Road is the second location where we have implemented light segregation through the use of wands. These have been installed to allow us to see how well it operates where there are existing cycle lanes, before considering more permanent/harder segregation elsewhere. The scheme will be regularly monitored through a combination of quantitative and qualitative assessment to understand whether for those choosing to cycle, using the lane has improved in the presence of the wands, and whether the installation causes problems for other road users.

“Marking the cycle lane with a solid white line means that people cannot park in, although they can cross the cycle lane to access drives etc. Providing they do not cause an obstruction people can still stop on the outside of the wands to load vehicles which means pick-ups and deliveries can still take place.”