Scrapping Crescent Bridge cycling lane based on ‘misleading or incorrect’ figures, Lib Dem leader claims

Figures quoted to the media to justify scrapping the pop-up cycle lane on Crescent Bridge have been described as either “misleading” or “incorrect” by a leading city councillor.

By Joel Lamy
Friday, 30th July 2021, 5:00 am

Leader of the Liberal Democrat group on Peterborough City Council, Cllr Nick Sandford, has hit out at the local authority’s leader after he was quoted in a recent Peterborough Telegraph article.

Cllr Wayne Fitzgerald told the PT through a spokesperson that “on average there have been only 60 cyclists per day,” a statement which was later clarified by the council after the figures were disputed by local cycling enthusiasts.

A spokesperson said that: “Although the number of cyclists was 60, the average number of trips is double that (122).”

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The pop-up cycle lane has been removed from Crescent Bridge

The clarification has, though, been criticised by Cllr Sandford who is frustrated that the council is not using a second batch of government funding for active transport to continue the pop-up lane, which was used on average 151 times a day in May.

Instead, the council has decided to spend £470,000 from the Department for Transport to create a fully kerb-segregated cycle lane connecting Longthorpe to the Thorpe Wood Business Park and South Bretton, a decision which has been met with dismay by Peterborough Cycle Forum.

Cllr Sandford said: “Cllr Fitzgerald said in the PT that the average daily usage of the Crescent Bridge cycleway was 60. This information was incorrect as official council statistics show the average daily usage as 122 with some months showing average daily usage of nearly 200.

“Now the council is trying to justify the figure by saying that the 122 is actually 61 people making journeys in both directions when they have not shown me any evidence to support this assertion.

“So either Cllr Fitzgerald genuinely thought that usage was as low as 61 - in which case the Cabinet made a decision to close the cycleway based on incorrect data - or he knew the figure was incorrect but still quoted it even though he knew to do so would be misleading.”

The pop-up lane in Crescent Bridge has now been removed with Cllr Fitzgerald pledging to reconsider cycling options there.

The council leader responded to the issue during a debate at Wednesday’s Full Council meeting.

Green Party member for Orton Waterville Cllr Nicola Day said the funding had been “wasted” with nothing to show for it and that removing the pop-up lane went against the recommendation of a cross party working group.

Cllr Fitzgerald replied: “It’s a temporary, pop-up cycle lane. That has now come to an end.

“I have given an undertaking to find a more permanent solution so as to keep road users and cyclists separate.”

The leader also said use of the Crescent Bridge lane was low and that he wanted to improve cycling access to the city centre.