Newcastle City Council are informing drivers that CCTV cameras will start enforcing the bus lanes on John Dobson Street to help keep traffic flowing on a busy bus route.
The Automatic Number Plate Recognition (ANPR) cameras will start issuing penalty charge notices from Tuesday 23 February to help protect the bus lanes. Drivers caught on camera could receive a penalty charge of up to £60.
The new restrictions are in place following the changes to the road layout as part of more than £1m of improvements to the street, which are currently in construction.
Cameras are also being installed to enforce existing restrictions at Central Station. These restrictions have already been in place for some time now around this important area of the city centre, but some drivers are choosing to ignore them which is causing severe delays and additional build-up of traffic. Local residents will be informed prior to the cameras being switched on and additional signage will be placed in the area.
Cllr Ged Bell, Cabinet Member for Investment and Development said: “We are making considerable investment in our city’s infrastructure through our £60m Re-Newcastle programme of major highways improvements. This means that there are changes to road layouts, with new bus lanes to improve public transport reliability.
“John Dobson Street is a major public transport route, with over 160,000 passengers using this street weekly. Cars flouting the bus lane restrictions are causing congestion, delays to bus passengers and dangers to others using this route, so we need to take action. To make the new road layouts works, drivers need to change how they drive around the city.”
Cllr Nick Kemp, Cabinet Member for Neighbourhoods and Regulatory Services said “Having implemented these changes it is important that we manage and enforce these new routes. Some motorists it seems are resistant to change and deliberately ignore the traffic rules and signage, causing dangers and chaos for others. We need to start enforcing to deter this selfish and illegal behaviour and keep our city’s roads moving.
“We’ve tried to be patient with motorists on John Dobson Street – with warning letters and we allowed a significant period of adjustment to the new restrictions – but too many drivers think the rules don’t apply to them.
“The cameras aren’t there to generate cash. They are there to keep our road network working properly and traffic moving. We hope that these measures will put a stop to the minority of drivers who think that traffic regulations don’t apply to them.”
The junction between St Mary’s Place and John Dobson Street is closed to cars, with traffic transferred to single lanes and a new pedestrianised area with trees proposed to run down the centre of the current road.
From August 2015, only authorised vehicles such as buses, cycles, motorcycles and taxis are allowed to turn into John Dobson Street from St Mary’s Place. Only these vehicles can proceed along St John Dobson St, north of Ridley Place to exit onto St Mary’s Place.
Newcastle City Council took over the enforcement of bus lanes in the city from end of July last year. Any income generated from cameras are reinvested in the delivery of the city’s public transport systems and highways maintenance.
All bus lanes are clearly marked and camera enforcement signage are clearly signposted.