July 24 2014 Latest news:
Wednesday, June 11, 2014
One of Norwich’s most historic areas could be set for an £800,000 traffic shake-up.
City council bosses want to make changes to Tombland and Palace Street, as part of a £5.7m project to make it easier for cyclists and pedestrians to get around.
One of the proposals is to get rid of the mini-roundabout outside the Maids Head Hotel, to replace it with a junction.
Council officers say as well as making it safer for cyclists, that would also stop lorries from bashing into one of the ancient gates to Norwich Cathedral.
Officers say: “The existing roundabout, approach lanes and traffic island occupy a significant amount of space and the accident record shows that it is a source of conflict between cyclists and motorists.
“Therefore, it is proposed to replace the roundabout with a priority junction, with Tombland/Wensum Street being the main route and Palace Street being the side road.
“The removal of the roundabout also means that the traffic island opposite the Erpingham Gate can be removed, making access through the gate for large vehicles possible and reducing and eliminating the damage currently being caused to the Ethelbert Gate by these vehicles.”
The proposals would also see a two-way cycle path on Tombland, wider pavements and the removal of the pedestrian crossing near the Edith Cavell statue.
That crossing would be replaced by a toucan crossing at the Princes Street junction.
On nearby Palace Street, on-street parking would be removed and a two-way cycle track put in.
Mike Stonard, cabinet member for environment, development and transport, said: “Tombland is an important historical centre and has to be treated with great care.
“Its current design is off-putting to people walking and riding bikes because pavements are narrow, the roundabout dominates the space and crossings are missing.
“By improving the experience for pedestrians and cyclists in particular, Tombland will become a more attractive place, which will boost the local visitor and trading economy.”
The proposals will come before city and county councillors on the Norwich highways agency committee when they meet on Thursday.
Officers are recommending that the councillors approve the proposals in principle. Consultation would then start in July and any objections would return to the committee in September. Following that, work would start early next year.
The proposals form part of the £5.7m Push The Pedalways project. That project, awarded £3.7m by the Department of Health, aims to improve the eight-mile pink pedalway cycle route between the Norwich Research Park and Heartsease.
The council has already revealed its proposals for areas such as Heartsease, Mousehold, the Golden Triangle and Earlham.
In the months ahead, more consultations will be carried out in areas such as Earlham Road, Adelaide Street, Bethel Street, the University of East Anglia and the Norfolk and Norwich University Hospital.
• What do you think of the latest proposals? Write, giving full contact details, to Letters Editor, Prospect House, Rouen Road, Norwich NR1 1RE.