Much of the city centre's main shopping area is covered by an official pedestrianised zone – but chiefs say some vehicles have endangered shoppers by routinely ignoring the time restrictions which govern when they can enter the zone.
Wolverhampton Council last year carried out a six-week consultation into plans to increase safety by controlling access to the pedestrianised zone using electronic rising bollards and introducing a new one-way system for delivery vehicles.
The measures became operational on March 14 – and mean general deliveries will only be permitted from 6am to 8.30am and 5pm to 10pm, with new bollards controlling access outside these times.
The bollards will be operated by the council’s urban traffic control centre, meaning access for emergency vehicles will be available at all times. Businesses will be able to request vehicle access outside of the permitted times in exceptional circumstances such as for urgent repairs.
The access control bollards will have safety features including a green/red light warning system, an audio warning message and a detection system that will prevent them from rising if a vehicle is close by.
'Enforcement hasn't worked'
Councillor Steve Evans, Wolverhampton Council’s cabinet member for city environment, said: “The safety of pedestrians visiting our city’s main shopping area is an absolute priority and for too long, delivery vehicles have ignored the signs explaining when they can and can’t enter the pedestrian zone.
“Enforcement alone hasn’t worked and we cannot allow a situation where lorries and vans are routinely driving down our main pedestrianised shopping street, it is an accident waiting to happen. Not to mention the increased terrorist threat where we have seen vehicles tragically used as weapons in other parts of the world.
“The new bollards will reduce this risk and we are installing them before the majority of retailers reopen as lockdown measures ease.
“We carried out a six-week consultation on these plans and I would like to thank those who took the time to respond.
“We are distributing information to businesses in and around the pedestrianised zone about the changes and have put information on our website. We will also have officers on hand to support delivery drivers to get used to the new system for the first few weeks.”