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Manchester creates a socially distanced streetscape

Coronavirus: Deansgate partially pedestrianised

Mark Moran
18 May 2020
Traffic barriers on Deansgate (Jamie Fletcher)


Social distancing measures are being applied to key streets in Manchester using temporary signs, barriers and pinch points.

The temporary pedestrianisation of part of Deansgate came into effect this weekend, creating a new shared space for pedestrians and people on bikes between Blackfriars Street and King Street West. Removable barriers have been installed, preventing traffic from accessing, with the exception of time windows for loading and essential access by emergency services.

The move is designed to aid the city’s economic recovery by making it easier for people to socially distance while getting to work or visiting local

Manchester City Council’s aspiration is for the change, initially being brought forward on a temporary basis, to become permanent, pending feedback from local residents, businesses and other parties about the effects of the closure.

Elsewhere in Manchester, more than a dozen footway widening schemes are set to be carried out to make more space for people to walk to and from major public transport hubs, around the city centre and in busy district centres. These works will involve the installation of temporary barriers or cones, with bus stops being relocated and parking bays suspended where required. Schemes have been completed at London Road and Princess Street in the city centre.

A footway de-cluttering work programme is also to be completed in the city centre and district centres to further help with social distancing. This work will involve reviewing whether existing signs, bins, benches, bollards and guard-railings and poles can be removed or relocated to increase available space for pedestrians.

Extra work to help people to socially distance includes new signage for benches to mark out safe seating areas, markings for footways and grassed areas and a review of the potential for extending traffic-free hours for city centre areas which have already been pedestrianized, including Canal Street, King Street, Market Street, Exchange Street (St Ann's Square) and Thomas Street.

Cllr Angeliki Stogia, Executive Member for the Environment, Planning and Transport, said: “The temporary pedestrianisation of part of Deansgate is about people and their safety as they gradually return to work or visit local businesses. It will aid the city's recovery from the coronavirus pandemic by making sure that there is more space for people in this area.  I'd encourage everyone to give us their feedback and let us know how the scheme affects them, so that we can work together to make it a success.

“We’re also decluttering and widening footways at a series of other busy locations across the city,  This will make it easier for people to socially distance as they get around our city centre, as they return to work or if they wish to visit shops and businesses once they are able to reopen.”

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