Cycle-friendly road plan in Bury St Edmunds delayed after backlash
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Controversial plans to make a Bury St Edmunds road cycle and pedestrian friendly have been delayed for consultation after an angry backlash from some residents.
Suffolk County Council had revealed plans to close Lancaster Avenue at the junction with Tollgate Lane to vehicles in a bid to encourage people to cycle and walk.
The council said the scheme would create “a safer, quieter neighbourhood for residents, pedestrians and cyclists”.
Council bosses have been instructed by the government to install several vehicle-free lanes as part of measures for the Covid-19 recovery in supporting people to walk or cycle, rather than using cars or buses.
But the plans have come under fire from some residents who believe blocking traffic from Lancaster Avenue will only force drivers into other roads, potentially creating gridlock.
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Some have questioned whether a cycle lane would be used enough to make the measures worthwhile.
Billy Wappett, who lives in Tollgate Lane, said: “I am a fitness instructor and would welcome better cycle paths and walk ways but this is not the answer.
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“The vehicles would have to still come off the estates so would just move the traffic to another over crowded junction.”
The backlash the county council has received from the plans have forced the implementation of the new measures to be delayed while consultation is carried out among the community.
But community leaders have signalled their intentions to introduce the cycle way, believing it would “help to tackle congestion, improve air quality and improve public health”.
In an email to residents, Suffolk County Council said: “The closure of Lancaster Avenue was proposed for two main reasons.
“Firstly, we consulted on an improvement scheme at Tollgate junction earlier this year and two main themes arose: the issue of rat-running through the Mildenhall Road estate and the need to improve cycling provision in the vicinity of the junction.
“Secondly, Lancaster Avenue links the residential areas on the Mildenhall Road estate and Marham Park with primary and secondary schools, further education institutions and employment areas.
“The cycle lanes scheme are much-needed in order to improve active travel provision in the area.
“The intention is that, by improving the safety of cyclists in the area, more people will chose to cycle to school and work which will help to tackle congestion, improve air quality and improve public health.”