Citys cycle lane a complete waste of money

Citys cycle lane a complete waste of money

A cycle lane which cost more than £150,000 to install has been branded a “complete waste of money” after a third of it was removed three months later.

Southampton City Council spent £152,419.50 on the cycle lane in The Avenue and Bassett Avenue.

However, traffic problems meant a 2km (1.2-mile) stretch in Bassett Avenue, introduced at the end of May, was gone by early September.

The council said the trial scheme had demonstrated “benefits and challenges”.

In May, the Department for Transport pledged £225m of emergency funding to help councils introduce measures like pop-up cycle lanes and safer junctions in England to take pressure off roads and public transport networks.

Green City councillor Steve Leggett said the Labour-led authority had been asked by the government to introduce measures “immediately” and to assess them using “real time data, rather than modelling”.

He said a number of “amendments” had been made – including the Bassett Avenue stretch between Winchester Road roundabout and Chilworth Road roundabout – but overall the plan had been “successful in encouraging more Southampton residents to walk and cycle”, according to the Local Democracy Reporting Service.

But Royston Smith, Conservative MP for Southampton Itchen, said the cycle lanes “were and are a complete waste of money”.

“They have not, for the most part, increased the take up of cycling and, as far as I am aware, have encouraged not a single driver out of their car,” he said.

Southampton Test MP Alan Whitehead, Labour, praised the council’s “bold action” and added: “There was always an expectation that some of [the traffic schemes] would be temporary and some of them would remain.

“Many of the cycle lanes implemented have stayed.”

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