Manchester City Council has announced a plan to revive Thomas Street in the post-lockdown climate by taking away more traffic from the area.
Travelling through the spine of Northern Quarter will be subject to new restrictions from next month; and it is hoped the extra space will allow for socially distance queues at the dozens of bars and food outlets that line the road.
The council said that closing off Thomas Street to cars will “help make the area more suited to both pedestrians and cyclists as people return to the city and make it safer for all.”
From Saturday 30 May, Thomas Street will be only be accessible for vehicles between 6am and 10am, and 6pm and 7pm, seven days a week.
A letter arrived at the homes of Northern Quarter residents confirming the extended restrictions earlier this week.
Removable barriers are set to be installed to prevent motor traffic from entering outside the allotted windows.
A number of “new road layouts for social distancing” were also revealed in the council’s letter – some of which stretch back to Hilton Street.
Bars and restaurants in Northern Quarter are beginning to make tentative plans to reopen following a lengthy period of closure; with lockdown transforming the ordinarily busy Thomas Street into a ghost town.
The current government roadmap has suggested July 4 may be a viable return date for hospitality venues – with some non-essential shops in the area permitted to trade from 15 June.
All establishments must adhere to strict social distancing procedures when serving customers; and each venue is working on a strategy to make this viable.
Part of Deansgate has already closed to traffic to become a shared space for walkers and cyclists, with expectations the changes may become permanent.
The council stated that pedestrianisation of certain roads will help Manchester city centre with “social distancing and recovery.”