More details about a scheme to improve pedestrian and cycle access and public transport journey times in and out of Preston city centre have been revealed.
In March, Lancashire County Council was granted £40m from the Transforming Cities Fund to support projects across the city designed to boost connectivity by bus, rail and active travel in the form of cycling and walking.
The funding is set to be used towards a new parkway railway station at Cottam as well as improvements in the city to promote public transport and encourage more people to leave the car at home and walk and cycle instead.
The bid was supported by partner organisations from the public sector, including Preston City Council and South Ribble Borough Council, the Lancashire Enterprise Partnership and University of Central Lancashire (UCLan), and local bus and rail providers.
Planning work is now being undertaken which would see changes to the Ringway and north Friargate areas of the city centre as part of the overall scheme.
The measures being considered include:
*Pedestrianisation of Friargate between Ringway and Marsh Lane;
*A new signal controlled crossing point and bus interchange stops at the Friargate/Ringway junction;
*Bus priority at the Corporation Street junction and a bus gate on Corporation Street;
*Cycle paths along Ringway, which would connect with Butler Street, Preston Railway Station and Avenham Park.
*A package of new technology systems is also being planned to improve the operation of the city-wide road network. The technology would see bus priority systems installed along Ringway and elsewhere to allow efficient flow of bus services into the city.
County Councillor Keith Iddon, Lancashire County Council cabinet member for highways and transport, said: “These are really exciting plans for the development of the city centre and will boost its attractiveness and prosperity.
“We’ve already had discussions with a number of partners and stakeholders, but there is still a lot of work to do to ensure that the scheme is viable and works well for people and businesses in the area.
“As the plans are developed, we will be engaging with our key stakeholders to understand their requirements. When our plans are ready, we will undertake a public consultation so that we can hear from everyone who would like to comment. This will enable us to consider how the final plans need to look and what we need to take into account.”
Councillor Matthew Brown, leader of Preston City Council, said: “As we work toward making our city greener it is important we invest in infrastructure projects to encourage the use of public transport and walking.“These proposals will be subject to extensive consultation with the community and our businesses and we’re excited to hear people’s views on how we can grow our city in an inclusive and environmentally sustainable way.”
Michael Ahern, UCLan Chief Information and Infrastructure Officer, said: “It is fantastic to see these plans start to take shape and marks another leap forward in transforming the infrastructure of Preston City Centre.
“UCLan is working closely with both the City and County Councils to ensure our £200million masterplan links seamlessly with a shared vision of a modern, attractive city that will benefit the whole community both socially and economically.”