And still they come... How motorists are ignoring new Norwich city centre traffic regulations
PUBLISHED: 11:22 21 November 2014 | UPDATED: 11:22 21 November 2014
Motorists are still flouting restrictions on St Stephen's nearly two weeks after a major traffic shake-up banned cars from the busy city centre road.
An Evening News investigation has found that about 16 cars every hour are using St Stephen’s despite the changes, which were introduced as part of the £1.7m Transport for Norwich scheme.
But no enforcement is currently taking place – and Norfolk County Council said that it is up to the police to decide when to clamp down. Marshals were used when the changes were first introduced and a council spokesman said will continue to be used at various sites in the run-up to Christmas when the city centre is at its busiest.
The spokesman added: “It takes a while for major changes such as this to settle in, so in the early days motorists were given advice and information leaflets. However, the legal orders are in force and the police can carry out enforcement at any time. When they do so will be an operational matter for them.”
A police spokesman said they were monitoring the situation and would be taking action soon.
The Norwich Evening News conducted three hour-long snap surveys on Tuesday and yesterday and we found that between 14 and 19 cars an hour were going wrongly down St Stephen’s despite the information being shown on signs and on the road approaching it.
The first survey which was carried out during rush hour found that 18 cars went wrongly through St Stephen’s, the second found 14 cars and in late afternoon 19 cars were spotted.
General traffic has been banned from both St Stephen’s and Rampant Horse Street, with buses, bicycles and taxis the only vehicles allowed.
Drivers who head down those roads run the risk of being hit with a fixed penalty notice. That will cost £60, reduced to £30 if paid within 14 days and raised to £90 if not paid within 28 days.
The county council spokesman added: “In the longer term, Norwich City Council has plans to install cameras which will provide 24-hour enforcement at the St Stephen’s Street and Rampant Horse Street bus gates.”
Asked if there were concerns about cars about to pull into St Stephen’s off the roundabout then change lanes, the spokesman said; “The bus gate on St Stephen’s Street is clearly marked with signs and road markings to give sufficient notice to drivers of the restriction. If unauthorised vehicles pull into St Stephen’s Street, the drivers will have to decide the safest course of action based on the road conditions at the time.”
As the changes were introduced, Tracy Jessop, assistant director of highways and transport at Norfolk County Council, said: “The objective is to make the city centre more pedestrian-friendly, to encourage more shopping, and make it easier for people to get around.”
Norwich City Council leader Brenda Arthur welcomed the changes, and said: “It will make it easier for shoppers and people to walk around, be much better for cyclists and make journeys in and out of the city centre easier. It will make for a more pleasant environment in the city.”
Have you been caught out by the changes? Write to Norwich Evening News letters, Prospect House, Rouen Road, Norwich NR1 1RE or email email@example.com giving your full name and contact details.
People can find out more about the changes at: www.norfolk.gov.uk/citychanges