A city centre road could be converted back to a dual carriageway after Hull's first segregated cycleways were installed along its route.

Freetown Way became a single lane-only for cars and lorries in each direction when the new-look cycleways were introduced last year.

They were the first in a series of so-called Active Travel schemes rolled out across the city after Hull City Council received funding from the government aimed at encouraging more people to switch to cycling and using public transport.

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Now following a review of six initial pilot schemes councillors are being asked to support proposals to return Freetown Way to two lanes of traffic in both directions.

If given the go-ahead, the segregated cycle lanes along the route would be retained.

A report due to go before councillors next week says the introduction of segregated cycleways on Freetown Way and reducing the available lanes for other traffic had contributed to queuing and delays on the surrounding road network, particularly at the Beverley Road junction.

Cycle lanes in Freetown Way
Cycle lanes in Freetown Way

The report says the introduction of another cycle lane scheme on Spring Bank on the opposite side of the Beverley Road junction had also removed some vehicle capacity, adding to the congestion at peak times.

It adds: "Acknowledging that there has been an impact on the network at this location, particularly on Spring Bank and Freetown Way, it is proposed to amend theFreetown Way scheme in both directions to increase capacity for vehicles by moving the cycle lane to a segregated off-road facility.

"Subject to detailed design and consultation, it may not be possible to put back a vehicle running lane along the full length between Beverley Road and Witham but the intention will be to create additional vehicle capacity whilst retaining safe cycle provision.

"North Bridge will remain a pinch-point and it will not be possible to reinstate two vehicle running lanes and provide infrastructure for cyclists."

Hull City Council enforced all-day bus lanes last year
Hull City Council introduced all-day bus lanes last year

Meanwhile, council officers are recommending the other pilot schemes launched last year should become permanent.

They are:

Bus lanes

Enforcement hours on all bus lanes in the city will be between 7am and 6.30pm Monday to Saturday.

In addition, the experimental bus lanes on Ferensway and Spring Bank will become permanent.

Cycle lanes

All the new cycle lanes on Spring Bank, Anlaby Road, Hessle Road, Holderness Road, Witham, Clarence Street, Beverley Road and the new link route between the city centre and Cottingham will be retained.

City centre

A traffic regulation order which prevents vehicle access to and from Prospect Street via Baker Street will become permanent. A similar measure allowing a one-way exit from Wright Street onto Prospect Street will also become permanent.

Baker Street is now closed to traffic at its junction with Prospect Street in Hull city centre
Baker Street is now closed to traffic at its junction with Prospect Street in Hull city centre

Councillor Dean Kirk, portfolio holder for highways and transport said: "Changes to the roads and pavements sought to prioritise safer cycling and walking, and since the installation of the first active travel scheme in Freetown Way we have monitored the impact in terms of their usage, effect on public transport efficiency, and public responses.

"Ninety three per cent of those who took part in the council's People’s Panel survey stated that by making it easier to walk, cycle and use public transport is the most effective way to encourage people to use an alternative method of transport to a car.

"Hull is a small city with tight boundaries and how we share the road space is a key consideration for the local authority.

"We appreciate that changes to how people travel may not happen overnight but our ambition is to build a transport network that works for everyone."

Initial monitoring shows that there has been a steady increase in cycling where safer cycle lanes have been installed.

In addition, busy routes such as Clough Road have also seen an increase in cycling, even though no new measures have been implemented.

Cllr Kirk added: "Active travel can significantly lower carbon footprints and even if not all car trips are replaced by cycling or walking, the potential for decreasing emissions is still huge.

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“As a city we have a huge commitment to become carbon neutral by 2030 and changing how we travel is one of the single biggest things we can do to try and slow down global warming."

Final decsions on the pilot schemes will be made by the council's cabinet later this month.

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