The move will help pedestrians stick to social distancing rules.
We’ve all been there. Trying to force your way through Deansgate after work, only to be rubbing shoulders with others running for the train while frequently getting stuck behind leisurely shoppers, who are enjoying their day at a glacial pace.
Now, in a bid to prevent this from happening post-Coronavirus, Manchester City Council has revealed plans to partially pedestrianise Deansgate between King Street West and Blackfriars Street, ensuring enough space for people to walk within a safe distance from one another.
The thriving part of the city is home to many of the city’s stores and businesses, so increasing footfall to areas such as these, once the pandemic is over, is vital to help rebuild the economy.
While the first purpose of the pedestrianisation will be to encourage social distancing, the space will also be used as a space for events and markets, generating more activity for people to enjoy once restrictions are lifted. Additionally, the move will help towards the city’s target of becoming zero-carbon by 2038 by maintaining the recent drop in air pollution and congestion and encouraging people to use other forms of travelling, such as public transport and cycling.
Executive Member for the Environment, Planning and Transport, Councillor Angeliki Stogia, said: “Temporarily closing part of Deansgate to traffic will help us to understand the benefits of such a measure. Our aspiration is that it could become a permanent change, but it’s important to stress that this would only happen after an open conversation to give all residents, businesses and other affected parties the chance to have their say.”
Continuing: “As and when lockdown starts to ease, rather than going back to business as usual, we want to work with people who live and work in the city to give them the opportunity to travel more sustainably, enjoying cleaner air and a less congested city.
“Putting these measures in place will help our city’s economy not simply to recover, but to prosper.”
Pedestrian space is set to be temporarily increased in other busy areas of the city too, with heavy-duty ‘Rhino’ barriers being used to extend pavements, which will allow more space between members of the public.