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Main Street and Irish Town cycle lanes to be suspended

The pilot cycle lane scheme in town will be suspended as from the end of March, the Ministry for Transport confirmed yesterday citing its limited use and increasing pedestrian volume.

The Minister for Transport, Vijay Daryanani, said: “In considering the volume of pedestrians in the area it would not be viable to extend the hours of use.”

“Furthermore after having considered the limited use over the actual operational hours, this pilot initiative will be suspended as from 31 March 2020.”

In a statement the Ministry explained: “The suspension follows on from the advice received by the Office of the Transport Planner and thorough stakeholder consultation and feedback received from Technical Officials, local enforcement authorities and Non-Government Organisations.”

At the time of commencement in 2018, the Pilot Scheme set out to continue to monitor and evaluate the general functionality and operational times of this first ever dedicated cycle lane in the heart of town.

The aim of the scheme, which was in keeping with the recommendations of the STTPP, was to attempt to provide safe dedicated passage for cyclists through Main Street and Irish Town.

“On the advice received and the continued monitoring phases of STTPP, post-scheme evaluation assessments indicate that the operational hours should not be extended through day-time hours in view of our heavy volumes of pedestrian traffic throughout the day,” the statement read.

“Through objective monitoring, research also shows low volumes of cycling traffic during the actual operational hours (7:00 pm 9:15 am), whilst reports indicate frequent offenders during unpermitted day time hours.”

“Additionally and following tourism and passenger arrival statistics throughout the last 10 years, forecasts suggest that volumes of pedestrians are likely to continue to grow, therefore indicating that cyclists would in any event take to less congested roads and thoroughfares even in the event that Main Street & Irish Town operational hours were extended.”

The Government said it will continue to consider the roll out of segregated cycle lanes as part of its Manifesto commitment to provide safe segregated routes for cyclists.

“The Government is working with its Officials in pursuing a credible and comprehensive plan to deliver cycle routes that enhance journeys and connect areas of importance to cyclists that are not at conflict with pedestrians and motor vehicles.”

“This forms part of the Government’s continued commitment to enhance road and street infrastructure to move Gibraltar towards more sustainable travel and transport practices; objective practices, that aim to enhance air quality and improve health and wellbeing.”