Better signs need to be installed on Keswick’s new one-way system as some motorists are still driving along it in the wrong direction, says a town councillor.
The traffic scheme, introduced two weeks ago for an initial 21-day trial period, only allows vehicles to head along Station Street and St John’s Street from the Penrith Road end.
However, councillor Alan Dunn says he has seen many drivers approach the temporary “no entry” signs near the Alhambra cinema and continue along past The George pub in breach of the new regulations.
“I’ve had quite a few positive comments but I’ve also seen cars go flying down the wrong way straight past me,” said Mr Dunn, who lives off St John Street and who used to run the nearby Open All Hours store.
“People are ignoring the signs at the top and driving straight through,” he added at last week’s online town council meeting.
His call for stronger signage came after councillor Peter Terry had said he was “rather disappointed” with the one-way system as it did not include pavement bollards to create extra space to assist social distancing for pedestrians.
Councillor Steve Harwood also had reservations, saying: “People are still walking on the road and are still unprotected.”
The response came from councillor Tony Lywood, who represents Keswick on Cumbria County Council, the highways authority responsible for introducing the one-way scheme on the notoriously congested route at short notice using new COVID-19 legislation and funding.
“I think it is working exceptionally well,” he said. “There are no foul-ups like there used to be. We had one chance to try this out and see if it works. If the people of Keswick do not want it, that is fine.”
He said pedestrians were already able to “spread around” St John’s Street much more easily because traffic was no longer coming in two directions.
“It was never the intention to bollard off areas at this point in time. After the trial period, we will look at ‘blistering’ certain areas where tables and chairs could be used under guidance. We can go a lot further but that is to come,” he said.
The one-way route is set to continue for a further three-week trial period by which time the town council is likely to forward its recommendation on whether it is to be adopted permanently.
If so, the current temporary signs would be made permanent.
It was introduced after a campaign led by Keswick gallery owner Tim Fisher, who compiled video footage of a series of accidents, near misses and blockages on the narrow, sloping and winding town centre route.
He hopes the changes for motorists and pedestrians can now lead to the creation of a “Bohemian Quarter” in the area, with safe pavement facilities.