FIVE more bus lanes in Coventry are to be suspended or removed to allow motorists to use them for the first time in decades.
As council leaders came under fire over fining motorists for using the city’s ‘inadquately’ signed bus gates, they issued a new announcement about the separate matter of bus lanes.
Bus lanes run alongside carriageways used by cars, while bus gates are usually sections of road which other vehicles cannot use.
Seven bus lanes were suspended in January this year, enabling other vehicles to use them as an extra lane to ease congestion.
Council leaders say it has proved successful, without any harm to bus times and frequencies.
The trial at these seven bus lanes will now be extended for a further six months.
Council leaders will also now suspend four more bus lanes at separate locations from tomorrow (September 22), and permanently remove another.
The latest four to be suspended for a trial six months are at Kirby Corner Road; Herald Road; Radford Road and Butts road.
And the bus lane in Foleshill Road will be permanently suspended between Junction 1 of the ring road and Broad Street and Lockhurst Lane.
City services cabinet member Jayne Innes said: “At the start of the year there were 22 bus lanes in Coventry, totalling 8km in length. Once phase 2 is introduced we will have removed approximately two thirds of them.
“Coventry is growing rapidly and as a growing and successful city we need to make sure we do all we can to keep traffic moving.
“Air quality is also a big issue – and cars and buses that have to stop-start have a really bad impact on air quality. By keeping all traffic moving we hope this trial will also have a very positive impact here too.
“I’m really looking forward to introducing phase 2 although I’d like to reassure people that we will continue to monitor carefully as we balance the needs of all road users.”
The council says Coventry has seen a 20 per cent rise in traffic and the fastest growth in congestion in 15 years, according to the Department for Transport.
The council adds it has continued to work closely with the bus companies during the trial suspensions.
The bus lanes suspended since January are at:
Ansty Road outbound at Clifford Bridge Road
Ansty Rd inbound at Burns Rd
Foleshill Road/Old Church Road (inbound 95m and outbound 125m)
Holbrook Lane outbound
London Road outbound St James Lane
Tile Hill Gyratory
A council statement adds: “Drivers will know which suspended bus lanes they can use when they see the new signs which have been changed to inform and encourage motorists to use the newly available lanes.
“The yellow and black signs will say ‘Bus lane suspended. Use both lanes’. Work will involve changes to signs and lines on the road as well as changes to the running of traffic signals to assist buses to keep to their timetables. This work should all be completed by mid October.”
Bus lanes will remain in place at:
Sky Blue Way
Stoney Stanton Road (inbound & outbound)
Clifford Bridge Road
Longford Road (inbound)