Work on the extended Sturry Road bus lane has been postponed

Extended Sturry Road bus lane may never appear

On a day when the Canterbury Journal turns its attention to the future of transport in the Canterbury district, we learn that work on the proposed extension to the Sturry Road bus lane has been postponed indefinitely.

Apparently, it would have taken longer than the 20 weeks initially expected, which would have been chaotic enough already.

Then there’s the question of whether money could have been found to shorten the length of time it would take. It seems it couldn’t.

These revelations are critical for the future of transport in Canterbury.

Most important of all, getting people out of cars and on to buses or bicycles is seen as a key factor to reducing pollution and congestion in the city.

As long ago as 2012, the council was talking about passengers in buses “zipping along” a bus lane which ran the length of Sturry Road while those who had chosen to drive sat frustrated in gridlock feet away.

With hundreds of new homes to be built in Hersden and Sturry and the A28 Sturry Road being the main entry point to Canterbury from Herne Bay, an extended bus lane is regarded as an essential piece of infrastructure.

It is even more so when you add in the public appetite for better air quality and fewer vehicles on city streets.

Sometimes, however, one gets the impression that these are issues spoken of by a generation of residents who have forgotten that they have been facts of life in Canterbury for years.

I can remember the council as long ago as 2004, when Alex Perkins ran the show, grappling with the selfsame issues.

Their causes and the attitudes people have to their chosen method of transport have deep roots.

Indeed, it is wholly disingenuous to lay the blame for pollution and congestion at the feet of our local authorities. If people drive to work or to school, it is that for all sorts of reasons – convenience, cost, reliability – a car is a more attractive proposition.

If there are lots of commercial vehicles on our roads, then that is evidence of a functioning economy and one in which consumers have products delivered to their doors.

The failure of the extended Sturry Road bus lane to materialise this year – if ever – is not evidence of a lack of official resolve on the part of either Canterbury City Council or Kent County Council.

It is the result of encountering the hard realities of getting anything done, of money, of logistics, of nimbyism, and of all sorts of complexities and unforeseen circumstances including the freedom of people to choose how they live their lives rather than bullied into things by officialdom.

Little is easy in a city like Canterbury.

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