Cycle lane fiasco must not be repeated

Councillors have welcomed the proposal withdrawal of the ill-judged temporary cycle lanes in Maidstone’s King Street.  But Liberal Democrats have insisted that any similar scheme in the future should be subject to full consultation and proper consideration of the needs of all road users.

The King Street cycle scheme was introduced in September by Kent Highways using funding provided through the Government’s Active Travel programme.  It was intended to provide a better route for cyclists from Maidstone East Station through to Mote Park.

Because of time constraints imposed by Government, there was no opportunity to consult with local residents and road users beforehand.  Consequently, a number of serious problems have arisen affecting pedestrians, bus users, disabled persons, local residents, taxi drivers and passing motorists.  And the new cycle lanes have hardly been used by cyclists!



At Wednesday’s meeting of the Maidstone Joint Transport Board highways officers presented the results of the recent survey of this scheme and the pedestrianisation scheme in Earl Street. On the evidence of the survey officers were recommending the removal of the King Street cycle lanes.

Speaking at the meeting, local ward councillor Clive English welcomed the proposals although he hoped that a better designed scheme might be possible in the future. However, he warned officers that any future proposal needed to be subject to proper consultation with councillors and representatives from all interested parties. He offered to assist with this.

County councillor Rob Bird concurred with Clive English’s comments.  He stressed that any such scheme should also be subject to an Equalities Impact Assessment which took into account the impact on vulnerable people such as disabled and elderly persons and those with limited or no hearing or vision.