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DIVIDED OPINION: Painted red tarmac in front of driveways causes a stir

DIVIDED OPINION: Painted red tarmac in front of driveways causes a stir

The council has painted the tarmac red at driveways on Low Lane as part of the cycle route, Image: Terry Blackburn/Teesside Live

Tarmac that has been painted red in front of people’s driveways has caused a stir on one Middlesbrough road.

The red areas were introduced as part of council plans to improve cycle facilities along Low Lane and are there to alert cyclists where there are driveways.

However, not all people in the area are happy about the paintwork or the cycle route.

Frances Jackson, 83, who lives on Low Lane, believes the cycle route isn’t safe for residents.

She added: “The point is, as soon as we go out there, we are not used to looking for bikes. So I think it’s a bit dangerous for the bike track to be here, I really do. We go out and you can get knocked over very easily.

“I feel sorry for them, the bike lot, but not everybody uses the route. It’s only the really young ones who go up and down, but they don’t abuse it or anything.”

Frances is also not a fan of the red tarmac, she added: “It’s just a mess, it’s an eyesore.”

Married couple Gerry and Tony Butterfield, who live on Low Lane, agree.

Gerry, 76, said: “It’s a sledgehammer to crack a nut, putting huge slabs of bright red. Cyclists will know there are drives coming out because there are houses there.”

While Tony, 76, added: “It’s gone from tarmac city to toy town. The road has lost its character with the grass verges gone. It used to have a character of its own but it’s gone now.

“It’s awful, why couldn’t they have done it green, even that wouldn’t have been so bad.”

However, part of the frustration is that they don’t believe the cycle path is being used.

Tony added: “I think I have seen, five at the most, using it, they just stay on the road. It’s not worth it for them, they have to go to the traffic lights and change the side of the road. Cyclists don’t want to do that.

“We do get a lot of, almost semi-professional cyclists in their lycra, they do come down on a Sunday. Perhaps ten together, but they don’t use the lane.”

Cyclists have to cross the road using a toucan crossing between the northern and southern sides of Low Lane if they want to stick to the cycle path because the northern side isn’t wide enough for the two-way cycle lane to just be on that side of the road.

Gerry said that she would like to see the grass verges back, but accepted that probably wasn’t possible but said she’d prefer it repainted black rather than the current red.

However, Kenneth Spragg, who also lives on Low Lane, was pleased to see the red tarmac as he believes the area looks tidier without the grass verges.

Though he is in agreement that the cycle track is rarely used.

He added: “The whole cycleway is a complete waste of time. They still go on the road, they don’t go on the path. The red doesn’t bother me at all.

“The lane is a good idea in theory but the crossing halfway along makes a nonsense of it. It’s a complete waste of time and money but it’s tidied up the grass verges at least.”

One person, who wished to remain anonymous, didn’t have any issue with the cycle lane or the red tarmac and believed the new paintwork was a required precaution because the route was now a designated cycle path.

Middlesbrough Council has been contacted for comment.


Words: Emily Craigie, Local Democracy Reporter

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