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LATEST: King Street pop-up cycle route to go

Tuesday 12th January 2021

THE massively-criticised and unconsulted pop-up cycle route in King Street, Maidstone, is to be completely removed by Kent County Council.

 Reason given in a report to Kent/Maidstone Joint Transport Board is Maidstone Council is now to progress rejuvenation of its Mall bus hub early this year.

 A section between Wyke Manor Road and Church Street was removed within hours last summer when the town’s taxi drivers turned up and were astounded to find their King Street waiting area had disappeared.  No one argued with the cabbies for long.

Arriva bus company found passengers had to board and alight through active cycle lanes.

And the part of the pop-up through the property build-out at the eastern end of the street caused a major new Maidstone traffic bottleneck – and fierce anger among drivers.

 Parking bays, together with the revenue to Maidstone Coúncil, were lost and as a family newspaper the Downs Mail could not report many comments from businesses and residents.

 Government transport secretary Grant Shapps launched on May 23 his Emergency Active Travel Plan allegedly  ‘to enable more people to walk and cycle during the covid pandemic.’

 KCC received £1.6m to spend within eight weeks  if it were to receive the second tranche of £6.1m.     

The minister did not insist on normal consultations and said schemes could be adjusted if necessary.  Many were.

KCC says it now seeks s106 developer funding to progress a permanent and consulted ‘solution’ for King Street which enables Maidstone Council’s cycling strategy to link Mote Park with Maidstone East Station.

KCC says the new road measures in Earl Street will remain with minor adjustment to the new ‘parklet’ seating areas to allow for extra loading and parking.