Residents join protest against bus lane on busy A426 into Leicester
More than 1,000 people responded to a consultation on controversial plans to ease congestion on one of the busiest roads into Leicester – with just over half of them opposing the scheme.
Plans for a £5 million project for the A426 from the Blaby by-pass to the city centre have been jointly drawn up by County Hall and Leicester City Council.
The authorities hope the addition of new bus lanes and the enforcement of existing ones on the route – as well as the redesigning of key junctions will ease traffic.
However, residents have complained the scheme is an expensive waste of public money and will not have the desired effect.
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A report by county council officers, which was sent to the Mercury yesterday, shows 1,016 people responded to a consultation run by the councils in September and October. Of those, 529 opposed the scheme with 355 supporting the plans. A further 111 people said they would back the scheme with modifications while 21 offered no view.
Campaigners in Glen Parva and Aylestone have collected more then 4,000 names on a petition against the scheme which will be handed to the county council on Thursday.
Alan Bailey, county councillor for Glen Parva, has also asked for the issue to be discussed by County Hall's scrutiny commission on Monday before its cabinet make a final decision on whether to press ahead on December 18.
Mr Bailey said: "There's a huge amount of concern locally about the impact of this scheme. People are worried the bus lanes will sit empty while cars queue in the adjacent lanes. I also think £5 million is a huge sum to spend on a scheme that it has not been proved will be beneficial."
Glen Parva parish councillor Richard Johnson, who is head of Glen Parva and Aylestone Action Group, said: "All the points of concern that were raised by residents appear to have been batted away with no evidence. We have simply been told we are wrong.
"Our view is that having bus lanes will not greatly shorten the time of bus journeys or encourage more people on to public transport.
"The reason people don't uses buses isn't the congestion – it's the expense. These bus lanes will just be a cash machine for the councils.
"I hope the councils note the opposition and the concerns and drop the scheme.
"We are not anti-bus, but we don't think the solutions to traffic congestion being offered are very creative."
A county council spokesman said it would comment on the report when it was published next week ahead of the December 18 meeting.
In the report ,officials contest the claim by campaigners that the scheme would only shorten bus journeys by five minutes, saying there is the potential to cut 15 to 30 minutes along the route.
A city council spokeswoman said a decision on whether to proceed with the scheme would be made on or around December 18.
The city is contributing £1.5million to the project, the county £600,000, with £2.5 million from the Government and £290,000 from bus firm Arriva.
The campaigners are also planning a protest march against the scheme on Saturday and would like people to gather at Carvers Corner, Glen Parva at 11am.