Council 'categorically' denies bus lane plans

Cars in traffic on the Cradlewell bypass in Jesmond, just after the Corner House junction in Heaton, Newcastle Upon Tyne
Plans for a bus lane were first mentioned in February [LDRS]

Council bosses have once again ruled out installing a bus lane on a busy road.

Newcastle City Council said "categorically" that no bus lane would be introduced on the Coast Road after it was claimed this week the change would be brought in next year.

The potential bus lane was first mentioned in February, when council officials flatly denied they were pursuing the idea.

However, it was later confirmed the council looked into it to improve bus journey times during the disruption caused by the renovation of the Tyne Bridge.

The bus lane was among the schemes that could be installed as part of a £163.5m Bus Service Improvement Plan (BSIP) for the region.

After a briefing about the BSIP on Tuesday, Liberal Democrat representative Greg Stone claimed on social media that the Labour-run council had "confirmed" that it aimed to "introduce the plan in 2025".

But a spokesperson for the local authority said the BSIP was "an indicative plan", based on a 2018 study by external consultants, and it was up to individual councils to decide what schemes would be appropriate on the identified areas.

"We would reiterate our position in February and categorically say that no bus lane will be installed on that route," the spokesperson added.

"The development work has enabled us to confirm that traffic modelling shows that the bus priority lane from the Corner House to Sandyford Road is not a feasible option."

Traffic concerns

In 2022, council monitoring highlighted a spot near the Corner House junction as the most polluted in the entire city, according to the Local Democracy Reporting Service.

The BSIP study also identified one lane of the Coast Road between Benfield Road and Chillingham Road as a possible bus lane location.

Mr Stone said that he would have concerns about any new bus lane causing even worse tailbacks than what drivers currently experienced on the Coast Road.

Public transport campaigners have spoken in support of the idea, expressing hope that faster bus journeys would encourage more commuters to leave their cars at home.

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