Change to Norwich city centre debated

Representatives from both Norwich City Council and Norfolk County Council attended a recent meeting of the Norwich Chamber Council to present the proposed improvements planned for St Stephens Street and the Chapelfield North Area and to listen to the comments from the members of the Norwich Chamber Council.

The aim of the proposed improvements is to create a better transport system for future of Norwich city centre, with improved access for buses, cycles and pedestrians.  The proposals will still allow cars to access all current car parking facilities, however the access routes to these car parks may alter.  The proposals would also change pedestrian flows around Chapelfield Gardens and cycle routes would be improved from the Norfolk and Norwich Hospital and the University to the city centre.

At present, statistics show that over a 12 hour period 3,000 vehicles access St Stephens Street.  The aim will be to reduce this number by: a) removing the general car traffic, of which the majority is using St Stephens Street as a route to another destination; and b) diluting the number of buses by changing the bus traffic flows. The public consultation for these improvements is currently underway and will close on 3 December 2012.  For full details and to have your say visit the Chamber Consultation page.

Norwich Chamber Council members highlighted concerns that at present car drivers seem to be more willing to stop at pedestrian crossings than bus drivers.  If general traffic was removed from St Stephens Street, would this cause increased safety worries for pedestrians trying to cross?  Members queried whether the increased bus traffic and the change in general traffic flows would affect the ‘drop off’ for the Free School on Surrey Street, which is located at the bus station?

They also highlighted that for parents with young children and for those in the city for business purposes, access to the city centre by bus was not always practical.   Therefore continued access to the car parks was essential, especially as Norfolk is a predominantly rural county and cars are essential to those without access to decent public transport links.

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