In the early 1990s, when the idea of an island wide network of speed –restricted roads was first suggested to the Constables’ Committee by St.Peter Constable Mac Pollard, it was flatly refused. Mr. Pollard had felt that it would be nice if several quiet scenic lanes would be speed-restricted, thereby allowing walkers, cyclists and horse riders to use them in comparative safety, away from the threat of speeding motorists.
The Constables’ Committee recommended that Mr. Pollard put forward the scheme to the States (the island’s government), as a private member. As the elected Constable of St.Peter, one of Jersey’s 12 parishes, Mac Pollard was one of the then, 51 people that make up Jersey’s government. He did this, and despite reservations in some quarters, the scheme was accepted and a law passed allowing certain roads to become speed-restricted.
Each road would have a speed limit of 15 MPH or 24 KPH, and each would be clearly marked with sign posts and road markings. The signs were specially designed rectangular ones as the original round ones did not met with the constraints of the Vienna Convention.
The first Green Lanes were opened by the Lt.Governor, Sir Peter Sutton, on St.Peter’s Day, 29th June 1994. The scheme was enthusiastically accepted and within 18 months nearly every island parish had some Green lanes within its borders. Today, Jersey boasts 45 miles of Green Lanes divided among ten parishes; only St.Saviour and Trinity remain unconvinced of the benefits.
Jersey has a 96 mile Cycle Network that incorporates the Green Lanes, which was created by the Jersey Cycling Group. Using the network it is possible to cycle around the island very easily without meeting much traffic. One can buy a map of the network at Jersey Tourism in St.Helier, but even without a map it is simple to follow the small blue plaques that define the various routes.
The Green Lane scheme was so well received, that in 1996, Jersey Tourism was awarded a Silver Unicorn by The British Guild of Travel Writers for sustainable tourism.
© Arthur Lamy