A pioneering project to promote the safe, shared use of the only designated Quiet Lane in North Yorkshire has received a cash boost.
Quiet Lanes are designated minor rural roads intended to pay special attention to the needs of walkers, cyclists, horse riders and the mobility impaired. They aim to improve safety and encourage car drivers to respect more vulnerable road users.
Long Lane is a historic half-mile route that links the village of Seamer and Seamer and Irton Community Primary School with Crossgates, a number of public rights of way and Burton Riggs nature reserve and became a designated Quiet Lane in 2009.
The single-track carriageway is well used by pedestrians, cyclists, riders and drivers. However, shared use has led to conflict with inconsiderate drivers, particularly at peak times when drivers go to or from school and work while many children are walking and cycling.
To improve safety of the lane, signage ‘gateways’ have now been placed in the grass verges at each end of Long Lane, giving a visual cue to support increased awareness for drivers and a safe, shared space for people to walk, cycle and ride.
The project has been mostly funded by £2,980 raised from the Police, Fire and Crime Commissioner’s sale of the Chief Constable’s AJ1 number plate. The AJ1 Fund is going towards projects focused on improving road safety for children and young people, cyclists, motorcyclists and older road users.
County Councillor David Jeffels, member for Seamer, helped to fund the scheme from his locality budget. He said: “The local highways team has worked closely with the parish council and suggested the gateway features as a way of highlighting the special nature of Long Lane. This is a community asset and we hope that all drivers respect that and share the space safely with other road users.”
Seamer Parish Council has worked closely with the headteacher and governors of Seamer and Irton Community Primary School, Cllr Jeffels, the County Council’s highways teams and North Yorkshire Police, to raise awareness of the special nature and shared use of Long Lane.
Jonathan Wanless, Headteacher at Seamer and Irton Community Primary School, said: “Long Lane is a key access route for our pupils coming from the Crossgates estate to the school at Seamer.
“Most of our pupils live in Crossgates and we actively encourage them to walk, scoot and cycle to and from school each day. It is part of our school travel plan and we teach our pupils to cycle safely through the Bikeability scheme each year.
“I am strongly in favour of anything that reduces the congestion around the school and makes the journey to school healthy and safe.”
Seamer Parish Council has invested in vehicle activated signs in Seamer and Crossgates, and with North Yorkshire Police in Community Speed Watch along the B1261, which runs almost parallel to Long Lane. This means residents at approved sites have radar equipment to record the speed, registration number, colour and make of offending vehicles. Police safety camera vehicle enforcement is also operational in Main Street, Seamer.
Councillor Lynda Wallis, Chairman of Seamer Parish Council, added: “For many years we have had parishioners complaining about the traffic along this lane, because we have a lot of dog walkers, cyclists and children coming along here.
“We have tried all sorts of things to rectify this. However, when the chance came up to do something it was backed by the highways department. We sincerely hope that the new signs will encourage respectful driving habits so that Long Lane can be safely enjoyed by all road users.”