Plan to improve transport in Worcester’s city centre
A new draft transport strategy for Worcester's city centre has been endorsed by city councillors who are looking forward to working alongside the county council to achieve its goals.
The 20-year strategy aims to enhance the city centre as a destination, increase the resilience of its transport network to flooding and take serious steps towards a more sustainable transport system and a more safe, secure and healthy environment that is accessible to all.
Having been endorsed by Worcester City Council, the draft strategy has now been referred to Worcestershire County Council for development and the implementation of those elements that fall under the control of the county council. It is hoped that the strategy will work alongside the county-wide Local Transport Plan (LTP5).
In addition to the work led by the county council, joint working between the city and county councils is already underway to improve the public realm and there are plans to create a new pedestrian route along the city's refurbished Victorian railway arches, creating a new direct link between Foregate Street railway station and The Hive and the river Severn.
Improved signage is also planned, along with work to improve the safety and accessibility of the city centre for visitors and residents alike.
Other schemes will be carried out jointly with the county council, including the promotion of cycling and improved access to the canalside.
The city council will be drawing up an action plan to take forward those other elements of the plan that sit within its areas of responsibility.
Councillor Lynn Denham, Joint Leader of Worcester City Council, said: "The proposals in the draft transport strategy will make Worcester a more attractive destination for residents and tourists, and also provide a dramatic boost to our local economy by supporting local businesses based in the city centre. We have already started to make positive progress in delivering the vision and we are very much looking forward to working with the county council to take the plan forward.
"As well as making the city centre easier to navigate, many of the initiatives in the strategy will help to meet the legal requirements to improve the air quality in Worcester's City Centre."
The draft transport strategy outlines a range of changes and improvements that aim to tackle issues including traffic congestion, inconsistent walking and cycling routes, limited public transport services, and how well the road network copes with issues such as flooding.
Other measures include improving the city's two railway stations to provide a more welcoming sense of arriving at a destination, better routes between Shrub Hill and the city centre for pedestrians and cyclists and ensuring the bus station is more attractive and user-friendly.
Car parks would be consolidated, so that there would be fewer but larger multi-storey car parks, with all of them in locations that are easy to reach in order to ease congestion. At least two of these large car parks become mobility hubs, providing immediate access to bus and cycle facilities.
Improvements to the city's road system are also proposed in the draft strategy, including restrictions on heavy goods vehicles in the city, changes to how the Hylton Road and Quay Street gyratories are managed on either side of Worcester Bridge, and measures to reduce the flooding risk on Croft Road.
An improved cycling network into and through the city centre is a key part of the draft transport strategy, with a focus on access to the railway stations, the bus station and the proposed mobility hubs. An important part of this would be the bike hire scheme that the City Council is currently working to implement.
Councillor Marjory Bisset, Joint Leader of Worcester City Council, said: "This is a long-term plan so, if it is supported by the County Council, it will not bring overnight change to our city centre. However, in the medium term there will be significant improvements, and our city centre will become more accessible and appealing to residents and visitors, regardless of what form of travel they choose to use."