£90 fines aimed at cutting congestion in Blackpool town centre
Drivers could face fines of up to £90 if they stray into bus lanes in Blackpool town centre in future after the council revived plans to install enforcement cameras.
Restrictions are set to be enforced on part of Market Street, Church Street and Corporation Street which are used as public transport hubs, between 10.30am and 6pm seven days a week.
Only buses, taxis and certain authorised vehicles could use the roads during those times, and the council says there will be clear signposting to ensure motorists are aware monitoring is taking place.
The proposals were first put forward in December 2019 but were not implemented.
At the time some councillors raised fears they could become a ‘cash cow’ to catch out unwary holiday-makers.
But transport chiefs say the move will cut congestion in the town centre.
Coun Neal Brookes, cabinet member for enforcement, public safety, highways and transport, said: “By improving bus journey times, we hope that people will be encouraged to use public transport which will then ease town centre congestion.
“The bus lanes are there to give priority for buses and introducing the cameras would help to ensure that everyone follows the rules, and the system works as it should.
“In the past, people have abused the bus lane by parking in taxi and bus bays. Hopefully the introduction of enforcement cameras can provide a deterrent to any driver who is tempted to abuse the bus lane. “
He added encouraging more people to use public transport would also help reduce carbon emissions and help meet climate emergency targets.
It is proposed to put cameras on the corner of West Street behind the Municipal Buildings and on the corner of Market Street and Church Street.
Initially drivers would be issued with warning letters rather than fines to enable them to become familiar with the new system.
But persistent offenders will be fined £60, reduced to £30 if paid within 14 days or increased to £90 if not paid after 28 days.
It is also proposed to ban traffic from turning left from the Promenade at the junction with Church Street.
A council report says increased visitor numbers means “better management of traffic movement to decrease congestion and air pollution which are key drivers in the Blackpool Local Transport Plan is crucial.”
It says the “introduction of enforcement cameras will deter unnecessary trips within these areas”.
The report adds: “The current mix of vehicles on certain streets results in disruptive traffic patterns, which affects key public transport routes and public realm areas.”
Initially it had been hoped to introduce cameras in March last year.
At the time of the proposals, Coun Gary Coleman warned: “I think the premise is a good idea, but we don’t want to be seen to be making money from this, or for it to be a cash cow.”
But Coun Gillian Campbell, then deputy leader, pledged the scheme would be properly signposted “as lots of people don’t know their way around Blackpool.”
A three week public consultation on the proposals is due to begin on September 6, after which the scheme will be introduced providing it secures final approval.
In the past it has been suggested cameras could also go up in Talbot Road, where new restrictions on cars coming off the Promenade are in place ahead of the tramway extension being finished.
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