Liverpool Council has been accused of damaging public trust over plans for a controversial one-way system in part of the city.
A recommendation had been made to the local authority’s highways and public spaces representations committee to permanently adopt a road layout and 20mph system on Kingsley Road in Liverpool 8 following an experimental traffic regulation order (ETRO) being in place. However, a decision on its future has been deferred after concerns were raised about how the community was engaged over the traffic system.
After months of waiting and a contractor going bust, work on Kingsley Road was finally completed which included the installation of a cycle lane to provide a north-south link across the city. Studies of speed along the route conducted by Liverpool Council during an ETRO period have found the average speed has dropped well below the original 30mph limit.
In addition, the road was also converted to operate in one direction in what a council report said would “create space to enhance cycling provision and address parking needs.” The ETRO has been in place for the past 11 months and during that period, six months were dedicated to a consultation period, concluding in June last year.
Cllr Tom Logan, who represents Princes Park ward, said it was felt the ETRO had been installed without any real communication with residents. He told the meeting how while change was needed around the area, those living around Kingsley Road found their home had become a “building site overnight.”
Cllr Logan added how this was “topped off” by letters on the consultation meant for residents being found in a bin. He said this added to a “long-running feeling” in the community they weren’t being listened to.
The cabinet member called on officers to go back to the drawing board and engage the community from the start to get a new plan together. Fellow ward member, Cllr Lucille Harvey, said the scheme had led to a bus stop being removed that was “much missed” and the new road lay out had become dangerous.
She said “public trust in Liverpool Council has been damaged” and called on the panel not to miss the opportunity to “rectify problems and rebuild faith.” Officer Mufu Durowoju outlined to the committee how a series of engagement events were held around the community but further concerns were raised about how the non-English speaking residents had been approached as well as the accessibility of the sessions.
Sonia Bassey, of L8 Community Land Trust, said residents felt data was being given more prominence than “the lived experience of residents” while Darren Ireland said the new road scheme simply pushed problems from Kingsley Road onto other areas. There had been some speakers in favour of the plan, including Stewart Walsh, sustainable travel officer at Liverpool University Hospitals Foundation Trust.
He said the city’s hospitals would be “delighted” to see the scheme implemented, while Derek Gould, chair of Cycling UK Merseyside, said the scheme would reduce risk, pollution and traffic for users. Committee member Cllr Liam Robinson requested a site visit before any decision was made, while chair, Cllr Pam Thomas, said co-production was key to ensure any new system would be successful.
She said: “Working together is vital.” A decision must be made before the existing order runs out in June.
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