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Let's Talk about Pedestrianisation

Let’s talk about Pedestrianisation

Since the start of the pandemic, pedestrianisation has become a central point of conversation with many councils and local authorities having to implement changes in their towns and cities to safely manage social distancing.

But what is pedestrianisation? Well in layman terms, pedestrianisation simply refers to the removal or restriction of vehicular access into a street or public space; prioritising said space for pedestrians. There are three main types of pedestrianisation methods: Full-time pedestrian street, part-time pedestrian streets and the implementation of traffic calming measures.

Pedestrianisation can be extremely complex, especially when focusing on roads or spaces that are used by buses and other types of public transport. In some cases planned pedestrianisation can also be controversial; it is important to weigh up the pros and cons before making any developmental decisions.

The Benefits of Pedestrianisation

The biggest benefit of a pedestrianised space is an increase in public safety. These spaces often see more pedestrian activity alongside a notable decrease in the number of collisions. Pedestrianisation can irradicate/reduce the presence of dangerous crossings on our streets whilst also allocating new lanes and routes for cyclists. Additionally, pedestrianisation can help to reduce noise and pollution whilst providing the opportunity to implement urban greening which in turn can have positive effects on the environment. Pedestrianisation can also have positive effects on the economy, by providing new spaces for people to set up pop up businesses whilst generally increasing the number of consumers in an area.

The Drawbacks of Pedestrianisation

However, as stated before, pedestrianisation is a complex and sometimes controversial task. Permanent schemes can often disrupt traffic on a large scale and it can take time for regular road users to adjust to new road design. Pedestrianisation can also cause the removal of car parks and other infrastructure which can have a knock-on effect on how many people commute into towns and cities.

A successful pedestrian scheme must consider the following:

  • Safety (for all public space users)

  • Infrastructure

  • Signage to provide clear instruction and remove ambiguity

  • Alternative routes for vehicles visiting the city

  • Protection for crowded spaces using security barriers

Deansgate, Manchester - Pedestrianisation Case

In Manchester’s city centre, Deansgate is a notable example of how pedestrianisation has been implemented during lockdown to improve road safety, air quality (part of the 2038 zero-carbon strategy) and encourage walking and cycling for local journeys (part of the 2040 Transport Strategy). Some of the physical changes to the area include the installation of surface guard barriers and the placement of tree planters in the middle of the carriageway.

Thank you for reading, we hope this provided a bit more insight into how pedestrianisation can make our towns and cities safer.

Stay Safe,

VZYC Manchester


Written by Bhumit Mistry

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