Manchester City Council has launched the second phase of proposed permanent traffic changes to Deansgate this week.
It comes alongside a fresh consultation to “understand public opinion”.
The pedestrianisation of the city centre’s major thoroughfare has long been the subject of debate, especially after the Council declared a ‘climate emergency’ in July 2019.
But the conversation was brought to the forefront after a section of the road between Blackfriars Street and King Street was closed to vehicles back in May 2020 to help with social distancing and support the economic recovery of the city after the first COVID-19 lockdown.
Since the road was first temporarily closed, Manchester City Council says that support has “remained strong” for these changes to be made permanent.
A previous consultation – which was launched back in September 2020 – found that the general public was “overwhelmingly supportive” of steps taken to fully close this key route.
Council leaders now say they are keen to build on that support “in the best way”.
Currently, Deansgate is closed to general traffic yet open one way for buses and taxis only. Going forward, the Council is proposing to keep these current restrictions in place, while still allowing some access to these vital transport methods – but the authority is keen to hear the thoughts of Mancunians.
Do you think Deansgate should be closed to general traffic for good?
You can now have your say up until 26 July 2021.
Councillor Tracey Rawlins, Executive Member for Environment, said: “The Council as part of the City Centre Transport Strategy has for over 10 years sought to make real and lasting change in the city centre, altering the way so many of us travel in our day to day lives.
“We have been listening and will continue to do so as this consultation progresses as we want a city centre that works for all of our residents, visitors and businesses.
“The Council has bold ambitions to become carbon neutral by 2038, and radically increase the number of people walking and cycling or using public transport to travel to the city centre – 90% of peak morning journeys by 2040.
“Changes like this to Deansgate will lay the foundation we need to achieve these goals.
“I’d urge as many people as possible to take part in this consultation, and have your voice on Deansgate heard.”
What changes are being proposed?
Some of the permanent changes being proposed by Manchester City Council in this latest round of consultation include access to the section of Deansgate between Blackfriars Street and King Street will be limited, except for open one-way travel in a southbound direction for buses, taxis and cycles.
Measures will be in place to improve pedestrian and cyclist usage and safety.
King Street to Quay Street will become permanently one-way only for all traffic, in a southbound direction with the northbound carriageway closed. A contraflow cycle lane will run for the length of Deansgate from Quay Street to Blackfriars Street in the closed off northbound carriageway.
St. Mary’s Parsonage will remain closed to traffic at its northern end to prevent traffic from diverting around the closed section of Deansgate.
A bus gate will be created on Bridge Street after its junction at Left Bank, meaning that only buses, cycles and taxis will be able to drive out of the city centre across the River Irwell into Salford via this route – but traffic coming into the city is unaffected.
Gartside Street between New College Street and Bridge Street will be one-way northbound with a segregated cycle route in a southbound direction.
Buses will be permitted to travel northwards on Cross Street, and general traffic will not be able to proceed any further than the junction with New Market.
You can have your say on the proposed plans via the Manchester City Council website here.
Featured Image – Geograph (David Dixon)