04:29PM, Thursday 02 July 2020
Disgruntled drivers have slammed a new temporary bus lane which has been installed on the A4 Bath Road – with more than 2,000 signing a petition in just 24 hours.
The temporary bus and cycle lane was created as part of Slough Borough Council’s plan to support a ‘green restart to local travel’ as the country is eased out of lockdown.
It runs the length of the A4 from Huntercombe Spur to Uxbridge Road and was funded by a grant from the Department for Transport.
Express readers were quick to criticise the scheme, with many concerned about long traffic queues.
Donna Edward said: “Do the council not want us to go shopping? I go to the Bath Road because there’s nothing in Slough but if the traffic’s too bad I’ll go to High Wycombe instead.”
Leanne Sikorski labelled it ‘utterly ridiculous’, while Amir Ali added: “Three words – Get rid now.”.
A petition created by Chance Meikle-Masters on Wednesday afternoon called on people to sign it before the temporary lane became permanent.
However Cllr Rob Anderson (Lab, Britwell and Northborough), cabinet member for sustainable transport and environmental services said he hoped the lane would encourage more residents to cycle, walk, or take public transport to improve air pollution in the town.
He said: “We’ve bought a bus and cycle lane in the A4 near the centre of town because we’ve seen a reduction of traffic due to COVID-19. We’ve seen reduced congestion and a massive improvement in the air quality.
“We’ve seen an 80 per cent reduction in traffic, so what we are trying to do is lock in some of these gains we’ve got unexpectedly. If we do nothing the traffic will build back up, so how do we lock in that reduction of congestion and air pollution?”
He said alternatives to driving such as cycling and using public transport will become more attractive if residents realise they can get into town quicker than sitting in their cars on the A4.
“We have several thousand people breathing clean air for the first time in years, we have to try and maintain that, we don’t want people living in areas where the levels of pollution are unacceptable,” he added.
He said the 24-hour temporary bus and cycle lane would be reviewed after six months and a series of consultations would allow residents to have their say.
Click here to view the petition.
UPDATE: July 3: The council has told the Express the temporary bus and cycle lane is likely to cost around £50k.
The council was awarded £180k in the first round of funding from the Department for Transport and the rest of this money will be spent on other temporary measures in the town.
A spokeswoman said: "We don’t have a total cost as we have made changes to the design but the total is likely to be in the region of £50k. The £180K was the indicative amount the government has allocated to Slough to promote these types of interventions. The remaining part of the budget will be used to support the community in terms of social distancing and sustainable travel."
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