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Beware of double red lines
DOUBLE red lines and bus-mounted CCTV cameras will be used to enforce draconian new traffic regulations as the authorities get tough on congestion in Worcester.
The crackdown is part of a radical package of transport measures being lined up for the city, with Worcestershire County Council's highways experts intent on solving Worcester's congestion crisis by getting people out of their cars and onto improved public transport services.
Bus lanes are likely to be installed along most of the city's major arterial routes in the coming years, echoing schemes already under way along Newtown Road and Barbourne Road. Key routes such as these will soon be designated as London-style red routes', where double red lines prohibit motorists from stopping at any time except in designated bays.
Authorities say the new regulations will be strictly enforced, both by the city's growing number of traffic wardens and - for the first time - by fixed and bus-mounted CCTV cameras, which will be used to issue penalty notices to offending motorists.
The council's integrated passenger transport chief Steve Harrison told your Worcester News such measures are essential if public transport is to become quicker and more reliable, and so a more attractive option to motorists.
"Doing nothing is not an option," he said. "If we don't invest in our public transport we will continue to see increased congestion, which is totally unsustainable.
"It means worsening environmental conditions, it means buses and taxis stuck in congestion and services becoming more and more expensive - it's bad for everybody."
Last week a public consultation was completed into phase one of the Newtown Road bus corridor' scheme, which will see dedicated bus lanes introduced and parking restricted in a bid to improve bus journey times.
The scheme is the first in a series of major transport announcements expected from County Hall in the coming months, with "exciting" plans to improve rail services and details of the Barbourne Road bus corridor' scheme soon to follow.
"It's about breaking the downward spiral of bus usage," Mr Harrison said. "Giving buses clear, dedicated pathways and priorities at traffic signals enables a fast, reliable service. You then see more people using the services, so raising extra revenue and reducing the cost to the bus companies.
"This means fares start to come down, and hopefully other bus companies start to get interested - we then get an element of competition. Services improve further and it becomes an upward spiral of usage."
The Newtown Road scheme has drawn some criticism due to the apparent inevitability of traffic ultimately hitting a bottleneck at the railway bridge at the bottom of the road. However, Mr Harrison said this problem will be addressed when phase two of the scheme - from Sherriff Street to City Walls Road - is unveiled in the next few weeks, although he refused to say how.