Cheltenham's one-way system to go in radical shake-up
RADICAL changes to Cheltenham's transport system have been unveiled.
The proposals include making Boots' corner into a 1,000sqm shared space – only open to pedestrians and buses – with motorists directed to different routes to avoid the area.
Two-way traffic will be restored on a number of roads, including that in front of Cheltenham Town Hall, as part of a wider bid to make it easier for motorists to get to the town's car parks.
If implemented, the plans will dramatically shake up the way people get to, and through, the town.
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It is hoped the scheme will help reduce pollution and the amount of traffic using the town centre by encouraging more people to walk, cycle or use public transport.
The plans are being led by the Cheltenham Development Task Force and the group's managing director Jeremy Williamson believes they will give the area "focal point of which the town can be proud of".
He said: "Cheltenham has a unique town centre but it doesn't have a heart. These plans will give the town what it is missing.
"There is predicted traffic growth for the town in the coming years and we already have a pollution problem in Cheltenham.
"What we are trying to do is unpick what causes those problems. A lot of it is caused by either traffic standing still or accelerating, or going on unnecessary journeys.
"So we need to encourage people, if they can, not to use their cars for short journeys but cycle, walk, or take a bus. If we can get those people who need to use their vehicles to use the existing network, but in a more efficient way, that should solve the problems."
Traffic in and around Cheltenham is projected to increase by between 34 per cent and 55 per cent by 2035.
Mr Williamson said the shared space plan for Boots' corner would create "a much more pleasant town centre".
As well as the changes to the one-way system in front of the town hall, two-way traffic will be allowed at the eastern end of Albion Street so that motorists can access the Grosvenor-High Street and Beechwood car parks from the east and west.
Oriel Road will be opened to two-way traffic, creating a route from the Promenade to Bath Road.
Currently, motorists approaching the centre along the Promenade have to drive 1,999m and pass through 13 sets of traffic lights in a loop around the town to get to the Regent Arcade car park. Under the new plans, the car park will be accessible via a 173m drive from the Promenade.
Mr Williamson said: "The proposals are essentially tweaking the existing network. There is no suggestion of any major road building programme."
Wayfinder signs to help people navigate the town will also be installed.
Projects to reroute one-way systems have been successful in Coventry and Worcester.
The scheme will be subject to detailed consultation before it can become a reality.