'No bus lane' campaign is gathering momentum
Protesters say their campaign to stop bus lanes being added to a main road is gathering momentum.
More than 3,600 people from Glen Parva and 700 in Aylestone have signed petitions opposing the proposed changes to the A426.
They dispute that introducing bus lanes on Aylestone Road, Lutterworth Road and Leicester Road between Blaby and the city centre would tackle congestion.
Councillor Richard Johnson, leader of Glen Parva and Aylestone Action Group, said: "We've gathered more than 4,000 signatures opposing this ridiculous scheme in a matter of weeks.
"Hundreds of people have also turned up to public meetings and our group now has more than 100 members.
"Our campaign is building some real momentum and we feel politicians are at least listening to us."
The £5 million scheme, due to be implemented next year, is designed to cut bus journey times and encourage more people to use public transport.
Opponents said the lanes would make the road more dangerous and be a waste of money.
Glen Parva resident Martin Southam said: "We are not opposed to public transport. However, projects need to be appropriate and thought-through.
"We believe the A426 project is not appropriate."
Mr Johnson said: "What concerns us most is that narrowing traffic lanes to 3m – the minimum allowed – and pavements to 1.8m would put the safety of children walking to school, other pedestrians and road users at risk. Spending millions of pounds of public money on bus lanes in this economic climate is also rather preposterous, especially when alternative ways to cut congestion have yet to be explored."
South Leicestershire MP Andrew Robathan has expressed concerns.
After a meeting with the action group, he said: "I'm very keen on increasing bus usage but I don't think bus lanes along the A426 will necessarily achieve a great deal.
"The real problem with congestion is the junction where Leicester Road meets Soar Valley Way – that's where traffic builds up.
"It's a nightmare at busy times, as is the junction by the old County Arms pub.
"The bus lane scheme doesn't address either."
County council leader Nick Rushton has promised to look into the matter before his cabinet meets to consider the scheme on December 18.
Coun Rushton said: "I assured him no formal decision has been made and said I would look into it.
"It seems people living in Glen Parva are most unhappy at the proposals and I've seen numerous e-mails from residents outlining their objections."
Rory Palmer, deputy city mayor, has said: "It (the scheme) is aimed at increasing the use of public transport and reducing congestion, which is particularly desperate around the Soar Valley Way, Glenhills Way crossroads.
"We need to do something and have that opportunity with the Government grant secured."
The work would be paid for by a £2.5 million Government grant, supplemented by £1.5 million from the city council, £595,000 from the county council and £290,000 from Arriva buses.