Wolverhampton city centre roads made car-free or one-way to tackle social distancing
Wolverhampton city centre roads will be temporarily changed in a bid to encourage more people to walk and cycle and aid in social distancing.
Roads will be pedestrianised or made one-way – with footpaths widened – after Government chiefs called for the changes amid the coronavirus pandemic.
Councillor Steve Evans, Wolverhampton Council’s cabinet member for city environment, said: "The Government has called on all councils to introduce emergency measures to encourage greater use of cycling and walking as more shops and other businesses open up in town and city centres.
"We have heeded the call and are now introducing a series of temporary, trial measures which will make it easier for people to walk and cycle into and around the city centre, as well as enabling social distancing for pedestrians and residents queuing at bus stops.
"Our aims with this are safer streets for pedestrians, cyclists and bus users and to support existing retail and the many more shops which will be reopening in our city centre from June 15."
The changes, which will be introduced from Monday, will see the pedestrianisation of Victoria Street from its junction at Queen Square to the junction with Bell Street.
Deliveries will be permitted at certain times – with Darlington Street, Queen Square and Lichfield Street made one-way to vehicles travelling in a westerly direction to Chapel Ash Island.
It will allow the creation of a new two-way pop-up cycle lane and pavement widening, with pavement widening works set to take place in Stafford Street.
They will be widened through the use of cones to make it easier to maintain safe social distancing measures to curb the spread of coronavirus.
The move will see changes to bus routes – and the location of bus stops – along the affected routes, with the changes funded with Government cash.
Other changes in the next few weeks include the provision of cycle storage and bike parking spaces – as well as exploring the options around a trial of e-scooters.
Councillor Evans added: "Creating a greener, safer city centre is a key priority for Wolverhampton Council anyway, so some of these measures are things we were looking to do anyway.
"We have had to implement them sooner than planned due to the pandemic emergency, so they are a trial and we want to know what the public think about them and hear their suggestions.
"If any of these temporary measures were to become longer term then we would, of course, consult with the public."
Anyone wishing to provide feedback on the changes can share their views by visiting https://consultation.wolverhampton.gov.uk/transport/a-step-in-the-right-direction/
Bus passengers are advised to visit www.wmnetwork.co.uk/ to see the new locations of bus stops.