A traffic scheme in Broadstairs installed this month which included a bus gate on Albion Street banning all vehicles except for buses, taxis and cycles is to be scrapped.
The Kent County Council ‘traffic order’ was expected to be trialled for 18 months but the authority has now confirmed that it will be completely removed.
It was was one of several implemented across the county as part of the government’s push for ‘active travel’ in the wake of the coronavirus pandemic. This aims to encourage people to walk and cycle rather than use cars or public transport.
However, KCC says the scheme is not working, especially as motorists are ignoring the bus gate restrictions.
A KCC spokesman said: “We have decided to remove the temporary Harbour Street and Albion Street scheme in Broadstairs.
“All changes introduced by the trial scheme will be removed as it is not giving us the anticipated benefits of promoting safe social distancing and an increase in opportunities for walking and cycling.
“One of the reasons this scheme did not work was compliance with the bus gate – we did not want to prohibit or negatively impact upon buses but vehicles continued to ignore the restrictions.
“We are going to work closely with the local KCC members, the MP and the town council to launch a public consultation around the future opportunities that could support summer trade and traffic pinch points.
“We would like to thank everyone that has given us feedback on this trial scheme and your comments will help shape any future schemes in the area.”
The removal follows that of the one-way system in Westgate that had been installed as part of the same scheme. Removal of that system took place today (September 30).
KCC had been given eight weeks to install the changes using £1.6million of an £8million grant awarded by the government. The authority used an Experimental Traffic Order. The experimental orders can be carried out without public consultation.
South Thanet MP Craig Mackinlay said: “The removal of the Albion Street scheme is very welcome and I would like to thank those senior Council members and officers with whom I met to discuss this and have a full exchange of views.
“The proposal was ill-thought out from the start and created new ‘rat-runs’ via Carlton Avenue, Lindenthorpe Road, Crow Hill and Nelson Place, increasing distance travelled for no good purpose.
“Now I want to look to the future and explore different, more workable ideas to address congestion issues in the town and the Isle more generally in order to support our fantastic tourist and hospitality businesses but ensuring that local residents’ views form the backbone of any future plans.”