In a six-month experiment, only buses, taxis, private hire vehicles and bikes will be allowed to head westbound along the busy Liverpool city centre street. Tony McDonough reports
Cars will be banned from a major road in Liverpool city centre on from Monday in a six-month ‘bus gate’ pilot project.
From 7am to midnight, seven days a week, only buses, taxis, private hire vehicles and bikes will be allowed to head westbound from Lime Street into Ranelagh Street and Hanover Street.
Approved by the city council in August, the Experimental Traffic Order is being implemented to help reduce congestion and pollution and improve safety along this key corridor, which connects the city’s Knowledge Quarter to the waterfront.
A traffic survey revealed the the route has been used as a rat-run with a high number of accidents involving pedestrians crossing from Church Street to Bold Street and vice-versa. In the summer, Bold Street was fully pedestrianised to support food and drink outlets recovering from the COVID-19 lockdowns.
The changes will not affect eastbound traffic as Lime Street is being remodelled between St John’s Lane and Skelhorne Street as part of the £47m Liverpool City Centre Connectivity (LCCC) scheme. The scheme will be reviewed after six months to assess the impact and establish if further changes are required.
It will also enable the city region’s Bus Alliance to consider reinstating bus services, such as the 82 service for south Liverpool, and to support the wider LCCC projects, such as the redesign of The Strand.
To facilitate the bus gate on Ranelagh/Hanover Street, the current location of the Blue-Badge bay (outside the Lyceum on south side) and taxi-rank (on north side) are to be swapped. This will allow blue badge holders to park with the flow of traffic and to ensure ease of access into the main retail area of the city.
A CCTV system has been installed and to monitor compliance according to the requirements of the Department for Transport (DfT) and Vehicle Certification Agency (VCA).
To improve traffic flow and bus punctuality along the route further, the priority at the junction of Hanover Street with Gradwell Street have also been changed to give priority to traffic along Hanover Street.
Cllr Sharon Connor, Cabinet Member for Highways, said: “The introduction of this bus gate will be a hugely welcome improvement to how people travel in and around Liverpool city centre – especially bus users, pedestrians and cyclists.
“Hanover and Ranelagh Street are currently used as a rat run and that is simply not an acceptable situation especially when we are encouraging people to walk and cycle more and we are committed to improving our air quality as well.
“The benefits of this measure will be considerable in terms of reducing congestion and improving safety in the heart of our city centre and consultation with our bus partners and public and private taxi sectors has been critical to how it has been designed.”