A ground-breaking new scheme to provide motorists with an extra traffic lane during busy periods has been slammed by environmentalists after the government conceded that the lanes concerned were in fact ‘the pavement’.
‘We looked at schemes in America where they had sought to reduce the number of cars using the roads, and they did it by getting them to use the sidewalk’ said Transport Minister Ruth Kelly. ‘The extra car lane will only operate during peak hours and during these times, pedestrians should keep an eye out for approaching cars, and throw themselves into a hedge, or jump into the road until they pass’.
The ‘extra lane’ scheme will roll out nationally following the success of a trial on Station Road in Portsmouth where road deaths were significantly reduced. No figure was given for ‘pavement deaths’. During the trial, a 50mph speed limit was imposed while the ‘extra lanes’ were in operation, except when vehicles were temporarily re-routed through the pedestrianized shopping centre where they were reduced to 40.
Ruth Kelly defended the innovative solution to rush hour bottlenecks; ‘A narrow strip of pavement will still be marked out for pedestrian use only,’ she explained. ‘Except between the hours of 10am to 4pm, when a contra-flow bus lane will be in operation.