Liverpool wants ‘bus gate’ to ease traffic flows

The city council intends to block off a major road connecting the Knowledge Quarter and the waterfront and close to the now pedestrianised Bold Street, to reduce congestion and improve transport flows.

Under the plans, contained in a report to Liverpool City Council’s cabinet, the council would ban all traffic heading westbound into Ranelagh Street and Hanover Street from Lime Street, apart from buses, taxis, private hire vehicles and bikes.

The measure, known as a “bus gate”, would be introduced as an ‘experimental traffic order’ under the council’s statutory powers and reviewed after 12 months.

The proposals are expected to be approved in a cabinet meeting today.

The scheme is expected to improve the flow of public transport for tens of thousands of passengers every day, and making a key corridor across the city centre much safer, according to the council.

It cited a survey showing that the route has been used as a rat-run with a high number of accidents involving pedestrians crossing from Church Street to Bold Street, which has recently been fully pedestrianised to support the reopening of restaurants and bars after the Covid-19 lockdown.

The proposed changes will not affect eastbound traffic as Lime Street is to be remodelled between St John’s Lane and Skelhorne Street as part of the £47m Liverpool City Centre Connectivity scheme, which aims to remove access to traffic, the council added.

The bus-gate is proposed to be operational between 7am to midnight, every day of the week, to support current and future bus routes.

Cllr Sharon Connor, cabinet member for highways, said: “Hanover and Ranelagh Street are currently used as a ‘rat run’ and that is simply not an acceptable situation especially when we are encouraging people to walk and cycle more and we are committed to improving our air quality as well.

“The benefits of this measure will be considerable in terms of reducing congestion and improving safety in the heart of our city centre. The bus gate is a key part of a much wider package of projects to improve accessibility in the city centre, so it should not be looked at in isolation.

“It has been designed to complement changes to The Strand and Lime Street, which are long overdue given how the city centre has transformed over the past three decades, and should also knit nicely with our work to improve access and safety on Bold Street.”

If approved, the council aims to implement the changes by the autumn, it said.

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