Wiltshire Council has announced the final plans for its People Friendly Salisbury project, which will see pedestrians and cyclists given priority as several streets in the city centre will be restricted for use by through traffic.
Following feedback from residents and businesses, the experimental scheme has been altered, with two areas removed from the plans. The first stage of the scheme will no longer restrict access to the Castle Street entrance of Central Car Park and Chipper Lane, and part of Endless Street will also be removed from the initial scheme.
The scheme will be fully monitored throughout its 18 months, with 47 sensors providing anonymous data on vehicle and pedestrian movements within the Low Traffic Zone (LTZ), on the A36 and at other key points in the city. The sensors are already in place to help establish some baseline levels of traffic flows and other movements, while the main scheme will begin to be installed on 20 October, and be operational from 21 October.
As well as cyclists and pedestrians, some vehicles will be able to access the LTZ; these include emergency vehicles; buses and coaches; taxis; zone residents; vehicles that are loading and unloading, although vehicles over 7.5t will be excluded between 10am and 4pm; and Blue Badge holders.
Access to the LTZ will be managed by vehicle number plate recognition cameras, and residents and businesses will need to apply for free permits to access the zone. To apply for a free access permit for the LTZ, please go to Want to park Wiltshire before Wednesday 21 October, when the LTZ will come into force. People can also apply after this date and throughout the 18 months of the scheme, but if they want access from Wednesday 21 October onwards, they will need to apply beforehand. Unauthorised vehicles that enter the LTZ will be issued with a Penalty Charge Notice.
Cllr Bridget Wayman, Cabinet Member for Highways, said:
“It’s great news that work on People Friendly Salisbury is starting in the next few weeks, and that the scheme will be in place before the half-term week.
“We have listened to people’s comments on this scheme, and made adaptations where necessary, and we will continue to do so. The project is subject to an Experimental Traffic Regulation Order (ETRO) and as such, people can make comments throughout the first six months of the scheme, and we can make changes based on feedback and our own monitoring of it.
“We are also writing to all residents and businesses in the LTZ to explain more about the scheme and how they can obtain a free permit to access the zone in their vehicles.
“The scheme will cut-through traffic in the city centre, improving air quality and prioritising pedestrians and cyclists. We hope it will also bring positive increases in the numbers of visitors and shoppers to the city, and a reduction in shop vacancy rates, as we have seen in similar projects around the country.
“For the scheme to be a success, it’s also important that people making short journeys through the city consider whether they could walk or cycle for those short trips, as this can have a positive effect on their health, and help to improve the city environment.
“Thanks to a further £1.3m of funding from Swindon and Wiltshire Local Enterprise Partnership (SWLEP), we can now develop and deliver an additional range of accompanying measures in the city centre, including new hireable bikes, bike parking and maintenance stations, more seating and greenery, and improvements for pedestrians – and these will help people to make the choice to walk or cycle easier and more enjoyable.”
“We’re looking forward to the start of the scheme.”
As well as the £1.3m in SWLEP funding for measures to accompany this project, a further £6m in SWLEP funding has been awarded to the Salisbury River Park project, a joint scheme with the Environment Agency to help reduce the flood risk to various areas in the city and improve leisure and recreational uses, as well as ecology and biodiversity enhancements.