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Grant Shapps admits that too many new bike lanes are "unused".


Grant Shapps has found "unused" bike lanes clogging traffic and has accused some town halls of misusing specialty funds for "green" transportation.

The transport minister said he was "unwilling to tolerate poorly designed road closures" that resulted in traffic being "secured".

He also unleashed his anger on new bike paths that "profound changes" are imposing on entire communities.

Last month, pictures taken across the country showed bike lanes that were empty or nearly empty as traffic passed on narrow streets.

Research by MailOnline in London, where Transport for London runs its own £ 33 million program, showed that on Park Lane in Mayfair, only 21 cyclists were using the bike path when 400 cars passed.

Mr Shapps' comments in a letter sent to local councils last week come despite the fact that many of the bike paths were built with money from a £ 250m emergency fund he revealed in May.

Grant Shapps has found "unused" bike lanes clogging traffic and has accused some town halls of misusing specialty funds for "green" transportation

The program should encourage walking and cycling after the coronavirus lockdown.

The town halls were asked to apply for the money by developing projects to lure people away from their cars.

The Sunday Telegraph reported yesterday how critics complained that some of the money was being spent on poorly designed road closures and new bike lanes that increased traffic.

There were also protests that disability groups, local residents and businesses were not being consulted because the systems were put in place under the Covid emergency powers.

The main roads that were struggling to recover from the closure were also affected as the number of visitors was reduced.

In the letter sent on Friday, Mr Shapps appeared to admit the problems and accused a "remarkable number of councilors" of "misusing their funding".

He added, "I've seen or heard … of far too many instances where temporary bike lanes, because of their location and design, were not used while their creation supported traffic alongside them."

Explaining how he has since ordered staff to work with local councils, the Minister of Transport added: "Since then, numerous systems have been scaled back and revised."

Last month, pictures taken across the country showed bike lanes that were empty or nearly empty as traffic passed on narrow streets. Pictured: an almost empty bike path on Park Lane in central London

Last month, pictures taken across the country showed bike lanes that were empty or nearly empty as traffic passed on narrow streets. Pictured: an almost empty bike path on Park Lane in central London

Motorists expressed their anger at the delay in their journeys when they were stationary next to the free cycle paths. Pictured: A pop-up cycle path in Sale, Manchester

Motorists expressed their anger at the delay in their journeys when they stood next to the free bike lanes. Pictured: A pop-up bike lane in Sale, Manchester

Pop-up bike lanes, set up as part of the £ 250million plan to get Britain moving again, are empty as traffic squeezes onto narrowed streets and brings the capital to a halt. Pictured: A pop-up cycle path on West Derby Road in Liverpool

Pop-up bike lanes, set up as part of the £ 250million plan to get Britain moving again, are empty as traffic squeezes onto narrowed streets and brings the capital to a halt. Pictured: A pop-up cycle path on West Derby Road in Liverpool

He warned that in the second round of funding, some town halls could get "considerably less" if they didn't adopt a good design.

His letter came after MailOnline's investigation of the UK's almost empty bike lanes last month.

On Euston Road in central London, only seven cyclists used the designated lane during a 15-minute period in which 400 cars drove by.

In Liverpool, on the busy West Derby Road arterial road, only two cyclists used a pop-up bike lane for 15 minutes during rush hour, compared to 300 cars.

Motorists expressed their anger at the delay in their journeys when they stood next to the free bike lanes, while cyclists complained that idling made air pollution worse.

Research also showed that congestion rates in London were higher in September than they were before the UK lockdown in March.

The new bike lanes are part of Transport for London's government-funded Street Space program, which aims to encourage people to walk or bike to work and school as an alternative to public transport after the lockdown is eased.

MailOnline visited some of the main bike lanes during peak rush hour to see how busy they are and found that they were chronically underused as they criticized cyclists and motorists. Pictured: a pop bike lane in Tooting High Street, London

MailOnline visited some of the main bike lanes during peak rush hour to see how busy they are and found that they were chronically underused as they criticized cyclists and motorists. Pictured: a pop bike lane in Tooting High Street, London

Our research shows that on Euston Road (picture) in September only 7 cyclists used the designated lane for a period of 15 minutes, while 420 cars fought their way through traffic

Our research shows that on Euston Road (picture) in September only 7 cyclists used the designated lane for a period of 15 minutes, while 420 cars fought through traffic

Similarly, the pop-up bike path on West Derby Road in Liverpool was seen empty as cars lined up in traffic from bumper to bumper

Similarly, the pop-up bike path on West Derby Road in Liverpool was seen empty as cars lined up in traffic from bumper to bumper

This is what MailOnline noticed when we visited streets with bike paths as part of the Street Smart program

Wednesday September 9th

Park Lane (Hyde Park Corner to Marble Arch), London SW1X

4.45pm-5.00pm: 21 cyclists on the trail

2 cyclists on the sidewalk 4.45pm-5pm: 400 cars

Thursday, September 10

King Street, Hammersmith, London W6

8 am-8.15pm: 18 cyclists on lane, 8 cyclists on the street and 2 cyclists on the sidewalk 8 am-8.15pm: 280 cars

Uxbridge Road, Ealing, London W5

10-10.15 a.m .: 3 cyclists on the track

1 cyclist on the road

10-10.15 a.m .: 45 cars

Euston Road, London NW1

8 am-8.15am: 7 cyclists on the track

8 am-8.15am: 420 cars crawl up to the rear of the car

Warenweg, Camden, London N1

10-10.15 a.m .: 40 cyclists on the track

10-10.15 a.m .: 360 cars

Tooting High Road, London SW17

7.30 a.m. – 7.45 a.m .: 100 bicycles

The traffic is completely blocked

In Manchester, where a similar program was in place, a popup lane lasted only 48 hours before being removed by the council after outrage from drivers.

In the capital, the busy Euston Road – one of the main arteries running through central London – was reduced to a single lane to accommodate the bicycle lane, resulting in a halt.

Richie Clea, who drives around London repairing gas pipelines and is stuck in traffic along Euston Road, told MailOnline in September: “Driving in London is getting worse. There are too many bike paths that nobody uses.

“My travel times have tripled since the lockdown ended. It's a nightmare. & # 39;

Cyclist Graham Robinson added: “The bike lanes have not been properly thought through. It has led to more traffic congestion and the air quality is deteriorating. It is quite common to ride a bike and be hit by a large cloud of smoke or bus smoke. Cycling in London is not for the faint of heart. & # 39;

George Peach, who cycles nearly 12 miles to his advertising job every day, said, “The roads need to be improved, not narrowed. The traffic fumes are getting worse and worse and where there are no bike lanes you fight for space against drivers. This program is supposed to make us healthy, but I worry that you could do more harm because there is more pollution. & # 39;

400 cars were counted over a 15-minute period on Park Lane, another main street in London, compared to just 22 cyclists.

The builder Norman Adams said the cycle lanes introduced by Transport for London had "ruined" London.

He raged: & # 39; What's the point? The Mayor of London, Sadiq Khan, keeps talking about air quality, but how does that stack up when cars sit idle with engines for ages? He just hates drivers and wants them to pay. & # 39;

What is believed to be one of the main bike path junctions at the intersection of York Way and Goods Way near Kings Cross Station, 40 bikes were counted in 15 minutes, but overshadowed by 360 cars and vans passing by time.

Things didn't go much better further out of central London as traffic piled up next to empty bike lanes and some cyclists chose not to use them at all.

In Hammersmith, west London, MailOnline counted 18 cyclists, more than half of whom did not even use the lane and opted for the road, while two others loaded the pavement. At the same time, 280 cars were crowding around a busy main street.

Shortly after rush hour in Ealing, West London, 45 cars were counted passing in fifteen minutes, but only three cyclists using the designated lane and one on the road.

Ironically, the local council was one of the biggest beneficiaries of Street Space funding, recently receiving nearly £ 440,000 for providing cyclists.

The only place that bucked the trend was Tooting in south London, where 100 bikes were counted on the bike path.

Unfortunately, the number of cars passing could not be calculated as they were all stuck in a terrible traffic jam.

Across the country, councils have begun raising funds from a total of £ 250 million to spend on cycling to keep people fit and to get out of their cars as part of the war on coronavirus.

The result, however, is that not only drivers have suffered in London.

A pop-up bike lane was scrapped in Greater Manchester within 48 hours of the major riot of motorists over long queues.

A pop-up bike path on Tooting High Street was also seen empty as traffic crawled past

A pop-up bike path on Tooting High Street was also seen empty as traffic crawled past

Similar programs are running across the country including Liverpool where there is a pop-up cycle path on West Derby Road (pictured)

Similar programs are running across the country including Liverpool where there is a pop-up cycle path on West Derby Road (pictured)

The road is a major arterial road to and from the city center and is always busy, especially at rush hour

The road is a major arterial road to and from the city center and is always busy, especially at rush hour

In London, the new bike lanes (pictured here on Park Lane) are part of Transport for London's government-funded Street Space program, which aims to encourage people to walk or cycle after easing as an alternative to public transport going to work and school curfew

In London, the new bike lanes (pictured here on Park Lane) are part of Transport for London's government-funded Street Space program, which aims to encourage people to walk or cycle after easing as an alternative to public transport going to work and school curfew

The builder Norman Adams said that the cycle paths introduced by Transport for London (pictured: Park Lane) had "ruined" London.

The builder Norman Adams said the cycle lanes introduced by Transport for London (pictured: Park Lane) had "ruined London".

What is believed to be one of the major bike lane junctions at the junction of York Way and Goods Way near Kings Cross Station counted 40 bikes in 15 minutes, but dwarfed by 360 cars and vans passing by time. Pictured: A new pop-up bike lane on Park Lane

What is believed to be one of the major bike lane junctions at the junction of York Way and Goods Way near Kings Cross Station counted 40 bikes in 15 minutes, but dwarfed by 360 cars and vans passing by time. Pictured: A new pop-up bike lane on Park Lane

Across the country, councils have begun raising funds from a total of £ 250 million to spend on cycling to help people get fit and get out of their cars as part of the war on coronavirus. Pictured: A new cycle lane on the A56, Sale, Manchester

Across the country, councils have begun raising funds from a total of £ 250 million to spend on cycling to get people fit and out of their cars as part of the war on coronavirus. Pictured: A new cycle lane on the A56, Sale, Manchester

A pop-up cycle lane was scrapped in Greater Manchester within 48 hours of the major riot of motorists over long queues

A pop-up cycle lane was scrapped in Greater Manchester within 48 hours of the major riot of motorists over long queues

The lane was removed by Trafford Council on the A56 between Sale and Altrincham in June after drivers complained about standing in a queue for an hour just to go two miles. Bollards had been put down to give cyclists a trace of the road.

Councilor at the time Nathan Evans said: “We certainly need safe bike lanes, but at a time when we need maximum opportunities for access to work and limited use of public transport by simply cutting the main route into Manchester in half, without proper consideration or Consulting local residents with them is the wrong decision. & # 39;

In London, a Tfl spokesperson previously defended the Street Space program to offer a healthy alternative to using public transport.

& # 39; We urgently need to rethink the use of road space to provide safe and engaging spaces for walking and cycling as an alternative to car use in the context of reduced capacity on the public transport network.

"Suppressing motorized traffic while allowing essential journeys is key to ensuring that we manage our road and public transport networks in a way that allows us to get people moving in the best possible way."

Here's what MailOnline readers have to say about low traffic neighborhood programs in their areas

Katie Taylor, Brixton, London

“I live on Shakespeare Road and I was on the wrong end of a newly-imposed LTN introduced by Lambeth Council.

& # 39; We gave less than a week notice of the changes (as did Network Rail and many other local businesses that are now adversely affected by the program).

"The system remains extremely polarizing and causes tremendous excitement among many residents who are concerned about a variety of problems: access to disabilities, access for carers, concern for local businesses, increased pollution on neighboring streets, Impact on house prices for those cut off from their own neighborhood, delivery services, Uber travel, extra travel time for work trips, security (roads are dead now!) There are huge rifts and a growing sense of hostility between different groups.

"We are now working on local movements like One Railton and One Oval to get our local councils to listen, but so far they have refused to contact us in any meaningful way."

Samantha Cooray, Oval, London

& # 39; I live in the Oval and we were the first to visit Lambeth in June without notification or consultation & # 39; LTNs & # 39; have been exposed (according to & # 39; Emergency Covid legislation).

“With 5 schools along the border roads, we are also right on the limit of congestion charges.

Traffic jams in Landsdown Way, Oval

Traffic jams in Harleyford Road, Oval

According to Samantha Cooray, Clapham Road, Brixton Road and South Lambeth Road are affected. Left picture: Traffic jam on Landsdown Way. Right picture: Traffic on Harleyford Road, Oval

“Self-employed, disabled people, elderly relatives, local businesses all affected – all so that some wealthy residents can have their private (B-street – Fentiman) in the enclave.

"Clapham Road, Brixton Road, and South Lambeth Road all connect Guy and St. Thomas' hospitals and ambulances," King and George, the fire department and the police force are often stuck in traffic.

"Those of us" outside "the LTN are breathing much more pollution now, and in reality people no longer ride bicycles."

Morgan Douglas, Bowes Park, London

Enfield Council, under pressure from cyclist lobby groups, has decided to close off access to the Bowes area so that we can only reach our homes via the most congested road in the UK – the A406 North Circular.

& # 39; The masters of the system openly admit that traffic will increase on the main roads surrounding the area.

These streets are the locations of our elementary school, which already has some of the worst pollution readings and even has its own measuring facility.

“We are on the border of TFL-controlled streets, two councils and three electoral districts, and therefore no one really has a say, so that an adequate comprehensive solution cannot be sorted, as not all groups seem to sit down and find a solution.

“Many smaller roads are now taking the brunt of this thoughtful plan with stationary traffic.

"Today an ambulance was parked at one of those barriers and the police chased someone up to the barrier so they could whiz through the barrier and beat the police in frustration."

Sarah Johnson, Paulsgrove, Portsmouth

After reading your story about the Poole road closure, it struck a chord with what we are experiencing here in Paulsgrove, Portsmouth.

& # 39; The street in question is called Portsdown Road and is shared with both Fareham City Councils and Portsmouth City Councils, but appears to be under Hampshire County Council in relation to motorways.

Sarah Johnson, who lives in Paulsgrove, Portsmouth, said Hampshire County Council is closing Paulsgrove Road in Portsmouth

Sarah Johnson, who lives in Paulsgrove, Portsmouth, said Hampshire County Council is closing Paulsgrove Road in Portsmouth

She says residents were informed just two days in advance that the road would be closed under a new system to encourage more people to cycle and walk

She says residents were informed just two days in advance that the road would be closed under a new system to encourage more people to cycle and walk

& # 39; Hampshire has decided to block Portsdown Road to cars as it will stop the spread of Covid-19 to pedestrians.

They didn't tell residents on the Fareham side until two days before the closure and completely ignored Portsmouth residents and didn't even inform Portsmouth City Council.

& # 39; This street has a railway bridge over it and there is no sidewalk to go under.

However, it is not exactly crowded with people I regularly use on the street and hardly see anyone. & # 39;

Mike Turton, Liverpool

“My way to work in the city's largest hospitals has had to change several times since I started working in 2016.

“The work to widen the two-lane road on Derby Road has been going on for over four years and is not even halfway through. Dock Road has been cut in half to include a large cycle path and work on the main road into Liverpool city center has started and is expected to take a few years.

& # 39; These were all major routes in Liverpool, forcing traffic onto inner streets.

& # 39; The local council has now, according to its wisdom, reduced the large two-lane road on Stanley Road, Bootle, to one lane to allow bike lanes.

& # 39; Before Covid, this rush hour route was nose-to-tail in both lanes and this has now been reduced to one lane that includes a right-hand bend to accommodate all cyclists.

“These are not areas where you would exercise a little, but business parks and important commuting routes.

“The sidewalks, especially Stanley Road, are wide enough to hold a car and practically empty as this is not a residential area. The bike path is as empty as the one on Dockstrasse and the one or two cyclists we see are still riding the streets.

“Couldn't the local council create a wide sidewalk cycle path for the small number of cyclists commuting through these areas to work? If these measures disturb drivers in this way, how on earth are the emergency services going to get through? & # 39;

In the meantime, a local councilor named Steve Radford, who represents the Liberal Party, has started a campaign to end the West Derby Road Congestion Scheme.

According to Cllr Steve Radford, a pop-up bike lane on West Derby Road in Liverpool is causing major traffic problems on the arterial road

Traffic pictured on West Derby Road in Liverpool

According to Cllr Steve Radford, a pop-up cycle path scheme on West Derby Road in Liverpool is causing major traffic problems on the arterial road

Cllr Radford said: “West Derby Road is one of the main arterial roads into the city and, unlike others, has no rail link as an alternative to car traffic

"We submitted over 500 declarations from residents and traders against the pop-up cycle path scheme." The online petition exceeded 2,000 signatures.

"Every day we blocked our local ambulance and police cars, including Feeder Road Lower Breck Road and Millbank Tailback."

Leanne Bell, Lee Green, London

“I'm based in Greenwich, but Lewisham Council is across the street.

& # 39; Lewisham Council has closed so many roads in the area. The impact on the traffic outside of my house, which is a main road (A20), is becoming unbearable.

“I live in an apartment without my own garden or outside space.

“There is also a bus stop and a traffic camera right across from my house which brings a lot more noise and traffic fumes into my living room.

"It seems so unfair that I live in a very small apartment and the big houses with gardens opposite now have the streets to do what they want!"

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