Truro Quiet Lanes Trial

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We are working with partners to improve the health and fitness of residents and visitors, and tackle climate change, by promoting walking and cycling projects and encouraging more people to leave their cars at home.

One of these projects involved the Quiet Lanes, a network of rural, mainly unclassified, lanes between the B3284 (Shortlanesend area) and the A390 (Royal Cornwall Hospital and Threemilestone area).

The narrow lanes, which are unsuitable for high levels of traffic, are being used as a short cut by commuters travelling into the city and the hospital.

We carried out a trial aimed at making the lanes more attractive and accessible for people walking and cycling by reducing the amount of traffic. This was intended to create a 15km network of quiet walking and cycling routes linking key destinations in Truro, helping to encourage more healthy lifestyles after the pandemic.

What did the trial involve?

Under the trial only residents and their visitors, and companies delivering to properties within the zone, were officially allowed to use the lanes. Vehicle prohibition signs were erected at 11 entry points, with the restrictions enforceable by the police. (see Plan below or view here)

The traffic prohibitions were made using an 'Experimental Traffic Regulation Order' (copy found here). A formal statutory consultation is part of the Experimental Traffic Regulation Order process during the first 6 months of the trial. Traffic and user surveys were also undertaken to assess the impact of the scheme.

Feedback from that process, alongside the user surveys and comparison of 'before and during' traffic monitoring data fed into the eventual decision on whether to make the traffic prohibitions permanent, to change the trial or scrap the whole idea.

The trial went live on Thursday 16th September 2021 and finished on 15th September 2022.

Update - October 2022 - Council listens to feedback at Truro Quiet Lanes trial comes to an end

The experimental trial to reduce through traffic using a network of rural lanes on the outskirts of Truro has ended and the results assessed. (See full results here)

The Quiet Lanes trial aimed to make a 15km network between Shortlanesend and Threemilestone safer for people wanting to walk and cycle there by banning motorists from driving through the narrow rural lanes unless they lived in the area or were making deliveries to residents.   

Residents and commuters have been able to give their feedback before and during the year-long trial as part of the consultation process running alongside the Experimental Traffic Regulation Order. That feedback, together with recent traffic surveys and discussions with local stakeholders, including local Cornwall councillors, has been analysed. 

 The conclusion is that the trial has not been widely supported and that there has been no material shift in the behaviour of motorists using those roads. As a result, the trial is ending, the restrictions have now been lifted, and the signs will be removed.

 Funding from the trial has come from the Department for Transport’s Active Travel fund which supports measures to bring about a modal shift to encourage people to walk and cycle more, especially where the journey is a short one.

Cornwall Council portfolio holder for transport Philip Desmonde said: “As part of this ‘living’ trial, a six-month statutory consultation period was in-built as part of the process to gather and assess the views of the public and stakeholders.

“The pre-trial user survey received 639 responses with 45% supporting it and 51% against the restrictions (The full results can be found here) – however the overriding majority of the circa 200 comments and emails received during the trial have been negative. The majority of these comments came from motorists who had previously used the lanes as a short cut to the A390. We have taken all the feedback, alongside the monitoring evidence, to make an informed decision on whether there are grounds to make the trial permanent, amend it or stop it. On balance, the decision is to stop and not make the order permanent as we take on board the valuable lessons that have been learned.

“For example, competing priorities for police resources and the difficulties in enforcing a ban in an area where access is still required to properties and businesses within the impacted area. Any future scheme will essentially need to be ‘self-enforcing’ or managed through the use of technology, as and when moving vehicle offences become enforceable by the Council.

“We’re committed to putting the infrastructure in place to enable people to make more sustainable choices about how they travel. Road transport is one of the biggest contributors to carbon emissions and around a quarter of car journeys in Cornwall are of less than three miles. We all need to look at how we travel and the changes we can make – big or small – that can help make a difference. It’s good for our health, the environment, and – in these increasingly cash-strapped times – our wallets too.

“This trial has helped us to understand the pressure points – which is exactly why the restrictions were introduced as a trial and not a permanent change. I'm disappointed that we have been unable to make it permanent, but given the response from motorists using the lanes as a cut through, it’s clear we need to look at providing more sustainable transport options, to relieve pressure on the A390 as well as supporting healthier, greener and more affordable ways of accessing services.”

We are working with partners to improve the health and fitness of residents and visitors, and tackle climate change, by promoting walking and cycling projects and encouraging more people to leave their cars at home.

One of these projects involved the Quiet Lanes, a network of rural, mainly unclassified, lanes between the B3284 (Shortlanesend area) and the A390 (Royal Cornwall Hospital and Threemilestone area).

The narrow lanes, which are unsuitable for high levels of traffic, are being used as a short cut by commuters travelling into the city and the hospital.

We carried out a trial aimed at making the lanes more attractive and accessible for people walking and cycling by reducing the amount of traffic. This was intended to create a 15km network of quiet walking and cycling routes linking key destinations in Truro, helping to encourage more healthy lifestyles after the pandemic.

What did the trial involve?

Under the trial only residents and their visitors, and companies delivering to properties within the zone, were officially allowed to use the lanes. Vehicle prohibition signs were erected at 11 entry points, with the restrictions enforceable by the police. (see Plan below or view here)

The traffic prohibitions were made using an 'Experimental Traffic Regulation Order' (copy found here). A formal statutory consultation is part of the Experimental Traffic Regulation Order process during the first 6 months of the trial. Traffic and user surveys were also undertaken to assess the impact of the scheme.

Feedback from that process, alongside the user surveys and comparison of 'before and during' traffic monitoring data fed into the eventual decision on whether to make the traffic prohibitions permanent, to change the trial or scrap the whole idea.

The trial went live on Thursday 16th September 2021 and finished on 15th September 2022.

Update - October 2022 - Council listens to feedback at Truro Quiet Lanes trial comes to an end

The experimental trial to reduce through traffic using a network of rural lanes on the outskirts of Truro has ended and the results assessed. (See full results here)

The Quiet Lanes trial aimed to make a 15km network between Shortlanesend and Threemilestone safer for people wanting to walk and cycle there by banning motorists from driving through the narrow rural lanes unless they lived in the area or were making deliveries to residents.   

Residents and commuters have been able to give their feedback before and during the year-long trial as part of the consultation process running alongside the Experimental Traffic Regulation Order. That feedback, together with recent traffic surveys and discussions with local stakeholders, including local Cornwall councillors, has been analysed. 

 The conclusion is that the trial has not been widely supported and that there has been no material shift in the behaviour of motorists using those roads. As a result, the trial is ending, the restrictions have now been lifted, and the signs will be removed.

 Funding from the trial has come from the Department for Transport’s Active Travel fund which supports measures to bring about a modal shift to encourage people to walk and cycle more, especially where the journey is a short one.

Cornwall Council portfolio holder for transport Philip Desmonde said: “As part of this ‘living’ trial, a six-month statutory consultation period was in-built as part of the process to gather and assess the views of the public and stakeholders.

“The pre-trial user survey received 639 responses with 45% supporting it and 51% against the restrictions (The full results can be found here) – however the overriding majority of the circa 200 comments and emails received during the trial have been negative. The majority of these comments came from motorists who had previously used the lanes as a short cut to the A390. We have taken all the feedback, alongside the monitoring evidence, to make an informed decision on whether there are grounds to make the trial permanent, amend it or stop it. On balance, the decision is to stop and not make the order permanent as we take on board the valuable lessons that have been learned.

“For example, competing priorities for police resources and the difficulties in enforcing a ban in an area where access is still required to properties and businesses within the impacted area. Any future scheme will essentially need to be ‘self-enforcing’ or managed through the use of technology, as and when moving vehicle offences become enforceable by the Council.

“We’re committed to putting the infrastructure in place to enable people to make more sustainable choices about how they travel. Road transport is one of the biggest contributors to carbon emissions and around a quarter of car journeys in Cornwall are of less than three miles. We all need to look at how we travel and the changes we can make – big or small – that can help make a difference. It’s good for our health, the environment, and – in these increasingly cash-strapped times – our wallets too.

“This trial has helped us to understand the pressure points – which is exactly why the restrictions were introduced as a trial and not a permanent change. I'm disappointed that we have been unable to make it permanent, but given the response from motorists using the lanes as a cut through, it’s clear we need to look at providing more sustainable transport options, to relieve pressure on the A390 as well as supporting healthier, greener and more affordable ways of accessing services.”

Comments

The Trial has now ended. There have been strong views expressed in response to stories in the local press and social media - to ensure we capture your views please leave any comments and feedback you have below. 

If you have queries on the trial please check the background information and answers to frequently asked questions (faq's) found in the side bar. 

Please note you can send any specific queries to the project team at traffic@cormacltd.co.uk 

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Finally sense has been seen. Another waste of money just like the famous Tregolls Road bus lane shambles.
I use the lanes as a walker, runner, cyclist, car driver and motorcyclist.
Stop meddling and flexing power at the expense of common sense.
How surprising people living in the 'quiet' area support the idea. I mean really!!
A lovely private road network just for them... Why wouldn't you support it!
I still didn't understand how you were going to gather data to prove cycling and walking increased.
Maybe it's easier to just target the motorist to see how their numbers were affected rather than the data about the walkers and cyclist... Which I guess never changed!!

About time it was scrapped.. start spending money more wisely.

Carlos one 24 days ago

it would be nice for all users of vehicles pay a contribution (even cyclists).
and cyclist should have insurance and a licence /registration on public highways.

Andy 1 about 2 months ago

I was delighted to read that the back lanes - and I hope Comprigney Hill (which is simply a narrow street in our hilly city, in my view) - are open for vehicular traffic again. I live on Knights Hill, worked at RCHT and until recently, had kids at Truro College. I'm a member of the social enterprise leisure centre and do all my shopping at Sainsbury's. I'm also a volunteer dog-walker and regular cyclist and leisure walker. I try to use public transport where possible, though the pandemic put us off P&R, which we had regularly used previously. My objection to the changes was the increased danger to pedestrians and cyclists when I had to drive down Hendra, along St George's, between and alongside the children's playground and skate park. Also, the horrible junctions at the top of Hendra, where at least there is now thankfully a pedestrian xing; at the bottom of Hendra where visibility is obscured by the viaduct; and at Ferris Town by the cheese shop. I lived in daily fear of not seeing - in particular - young children, heading to or from St Mary's or the park, or cyclists and skateboarders, especially where parked cars further compromise visibility. By comparison, the junctions at top and bottom of Comprigney have decent lines-of-sight. The increased journey-distances must also have contributed to increased carbon emissions around the Hendra housing estate. As a dog-walker and cyclist, I also hadn't noticed particularly a decrease in traffic along the lanes - especially now that there are more houses developed near to the Kenwyn Hill junction, on Newmills Lane. The safety enhancements as you come down Kenwyn Hill into Truro have, on the other hand, made a noticeable difference. Thank you.

F O'Hagan about 2 months ago

May be if you restricted the lanes to 20 you would of saved a lot of money.
Or better still may be the Cornwall councillor should of moved from the quiet lanes instead of moaning.

Mish Mish about 2 months ago

The ETRO ceased on the 16th September therefore is one correct in the assumption that as no extension has been sought, then the lanes are now open for all to use?

Erg 2 months ago

I have walked and cycled these lanes both to get to work and for pleasure. Although I have noticed no significant reduction in traffic the great majority of drivers slow down and pass with a wide berth. This is not true of the other quiet lane I use - from Higher Trehaverne to Idless. Most drivers
seem to zoom along with little concern for pedestrians. More than once I have been forced into a hedge to avoid a car passing another coming from the opposite direction
On another note, these lanes contain some lovely scenery. My late mother used to enjoy a short walk by the river or to see the bluebells. No way could she walk or cycle to them. This is our countryside, we pay for the roads. Please let us use them.

kayaker 2 months ago

I walk and cycle along the quiet lanes. I experienced no issues at all with cars before this trial and again have experienced no issues at all whilst the traffic prohibition signs have apparently been ignored. There simply hasn't been a problem in sharing my walk or cycle ride with cars or other vehicles. Those who champion the prohibition of traffic say that folk who live in the Quiet Lanes strongly support the prevention of cars using them. Well what a surprise - who wouldn't love a publicly funded network of roads outside one's home that only you and your neighbouring residents are allowed to drive on. Does wonders for the property values too I should imagine. For the rest of us prohibiting traffic smacks of parochialism. Cornwall Council should think strategically about traffic management and not enact disjointed local schemes which benefit the few whilst restricting choices for the much wider population of Cornwall who they also serve.

Quiet Lanes User 2 months ago

This has been a complete fail I am sorry to say as a family that lives in the Kenwyn Valley. The amount of traffic that uses the Kenwyn valley as a rat run to get to and from the Hospital in particular is extreme. Good luck trying to drive your car in the opposite direction to the flow of traffic in the morning or evening as there are 10 or more cars nose to tail going the other way and all of this road is single lane. To add to this the speed of the traffic is excessive for the road type and its' condition. Walking my dog now requires a very early morning one and a very late evening one just to avoid being run over or abused for being in the road. The road at times is simply not safe enough to walk on let alone to be with a pet or on a horse. Traffic calming humps strategically placed would have a massive impact on the speed and for where I live specifically allow me to safely get out of my house to my car. Approaching winter this whole speed situation is worse (plus the hedgerows have grown out so much many of the signs are obscured). We have also had more head on collisions between cars in the last 12 months than I can remember over the last 20 years. "Unsafe Lanes" is what they should be known as. They have had no independent policing and this was doomed to fail as the number of access and egress routes would have required significant monitoring from resources the council does not have. All of my family have received verbal abuse on many occasions for trying to get to our house, past traffic that throws quiet lanes in our faces, only to be scorned when we say we do actually live here.

RichP 2 months ago

In theory this is a great idea. When the signs were put in place we did see a slight reduction to the volume of traffic. However the traffic has returned to completely excessive. The reason for this is no body is policing the scheme. No one has been stopped and so no one pays the signage a blind bit of notice. The traffic too and from the hospital in the morning and evening makes it a nightmare. Police the scheme, if you want results. People will use these lanes more to walk cycle and ride horses, but at the moment the volume of traffic, the speed people drive at and the complete disregard for pedestrians makes it unsafe.

SteveO 2 months ago

As I thought, unless some effort was made to police this scheme it would be a complete failure. How can the person who dreamt up this scheme be so naive to think that motorists would abide bybthe traffic regulations. It is recognised that with motorists it is complete anarchy out there, speeding being the prime example. Just look at what happened when the new cameras were installed on Tregolls Road. This scheme is no different. I live on Comprigney Hill and whilst there was, initially, a perceived reduction in traffic flow; now the traffic flow is back to what it waas before if not busier. Yesterday I was at Penventinnie Lane near Treliske Hospital where the lane descends into the Kenwyn Valley. I was working there from 8.45 to 10.45. and the traffic was constant and I would say between 8.45 - 9.45 I would estimate an average of 2 vehicles a minute approaching the hospital and 1 a minute in the opposite direction. I regularly walk around Boscolla/Newmills/ Shortlanesend, ans Treliske Lane and the amount of traffic using these lanes is ridiculous in the light of these so called restrictions. Unless some fines are issued and word gets around that it is being policed then this whole project id doomed to be the abject failure.

Kevin H 2 months ago

As a regular user/cyclist of the lanes I would like to say the comments from the council and it’s councillors about the ambulance service not using these lanes is completely incorrect. Tuesday I was passed at the junction to penventinnie lane by an ambulance head towards shortlanesend and today Thursday I have had both an ambulance travelling back to treliske pass me and a rapid response vehicle heading towards shortlanesend pass me. This is obviously a well used route when the traffic of Truro is busy and putting a barrier across to stop traffic is going to put our struggling emergency services under even more unnecessary pressure and even lead to loss of life due to the time it takes to come in and out of Truro to access shortlanesend my home.

Baffled82 3 months ago

Money should spent on replacing the footpath signs that have been removed. This might encourage people to use footpaths rather than walking on roads.
CornwallLive now open for comments.

SH1 3 months ago

With respect, how is this environmentally friendly? Funnelling road traffic onto already congested areas simply creates more carbon emissions as vehicles use more fuel to drive further and their engines are idling. Does the data show that either walking or cycling has increased during this time? Those activities would not be skewed by the lack of policing.

After 12 months of disruption, I believe it is fair to say that the trial has failed in every aspect. The main outcome has been creating hardship for our dedicated hospital workers who we were all clapping on the streets not so long ago. At a time where the public purse is being squeezed, this scheme feels short-sighted, irresponsible and out of touch.

LS 3 months ago

The trial was a failure? Yes. I haven’t seen all those extra walkers, cyclists and horse riders that were going to use the lanes. It has become a private drive for the residents. What has happened to the follow up survey? It’s a councillor’s pet project and many people have objected. Interesting that so far Cornwall Live isn’t allowing comment.
Take down the signs and open the lanes please.

SH1 3 months ago

While the lanes have less traffic overall, the vehicles I've seen that continue to use them as a rat run are going even faster as I assume they are not expecting any other vehicles. Not a safe place to walk with these current regulations. A better maintained footpath network would be more useful

Rob B 3 months ago

Councillor states that she supports physical barriers in the lanes.
I am sure the two residents of Shortlanesend whose lives were in jeopardy and were saved by their spouses illegally driving the lanes to access Treliske A&E would disagree. No ambulances available for a heart attack and the second case a patient haemorrhaging and there was a queue to even get through to an ambulance emergency call handler.
These lanes were designated as the emergency route in 2000 to cope with the expected exceptional traffic for the eclipse. Today the traffic on the A390 is exceptionally dire just as the volume planned for in 2000.
As a daily user of these lanes on foot I am still waiting to meet all these other non motorised users. Quiet Lanes were set up to initiate respect by all users for one another not to impose a ban on motorised traffic. Cornwall Council and Councillors please read and inwardly digest Rural England’s definition of a Quiet Lane as it appears you have either not done so or are choosing to impose a different interpretation
In these dire economic times ordinary working people especially those serving in the NHS need to be given every possible help to save money and time by reinstating the most direct and time efficient route to their workplace.
The welfare of the majority should be prioritised over the vociferous councillors that live within the scheme and benefit from the closures.
Why was there never a second survey as was promised? Was the council afraid that there would be a similar swathe of negative comments towards the scheme as in the first survey?
Engage common sense , admit that this scheme was an error of judgement after listening to Councillors with a vested interest and write off the waste of money just as so much has been written off in the past by Cornwall Council

SLE resident 3 months ago

I walked along the lanes this morning and didn’t see one walker, cyclist or rider. Ironically there is a highways sign proposing a 30 mph speed limit along New Mills Lane. For which category of permitted user is this intended?

SH1 3 months ago

I’ve noticed that less people are using the public footpaths around here as people are worried they’ll get into trouble for using them. The footpaths are overgrown and not looked after. The cars that continue to drive through the lanes are even faster than they were before meaning it isn’t safe to walk along them nor cycle. Such a silly idea with a poor outcome. I do hope that the Cornwall Council will listen to actual feedback and not just the residents who wanted a quiet life

MrsBee 4 months ago

I used the lanes daily to take my child to school. This trial has doubled our commute which used to be half an hour each way. My three year old daughter is also in the car so we are now travelling for four hours per day which seems ridiculous.

I have used those lanes for five years, alongside other families and NHS staff who access the hospital. I do not understand the timing of this trial when the county is already under pressure from visitors and the roadworks on the A30. Why penalise locals who are just trying to go about their daily lives? There must already be consequences at the under-pressure Treliske as people struggle to access it on time for work and for appointments.

I completely agree with the environmental argument. During all the time I’ve used the lanes, I rarely see walkers or cyclists, (I suspect this is partly as they are not that accessible, with little access to parking and very steep inclines). However I suspect leisure users are much more inclined to use them during the day so why not introduce a timed quiet period which is outside of rush hour?

I understand that during peak times there are 200 cars using this area, however there are 10miles of lanes so this does not seem excessive. There is no environmental benefit whatsoever to increasing congestion on other routes, where it will add to queuing and incrementally produce the paradox of even more engines lying idle for longer.

After many months of this madness I think we can see this has been very ill thought out.

LL 5 months ago

The weather during the last few weeks has been lovely. Warm, mostly dry, sunny..... I've used the lanes to access work at the Hopsital every day, driving safely and slowly. I can honestly say that I've seen less than a handful of walkers, dogs and horses during this lovely weather. In fact I've seen no horses at all at 7.30am or 6pm. So remind me why cars are supposedly prohibited?? Trial?? I think not.
So much for listening to the opinions of the road users.
More corrupt councillors.

Meanwhile, we still work our backside off at hospital, saving lives. Priorities people, priorities.

So much for a trial 5 months ago
Page last updated: 24 Oct 2022, 11:50 AM