Manchester closes Thomas Street to traffic

After its decision to part-pedestrianise Deansgate, the council has taken another step towards making the city more pedestrian friendly by closing off the Northern Quarter street to cars from this Saturday. 

The move is part of a plan to encourage active travel around the city and make social distancing easier as lockdown lifts. 

From 30 May, Thomas Street will be closed to vehicles seven days a week, with the exception of daily windows for loading from 6am to 10am and 6pm to 7pm.

As lockdown measures are gradually relaxed, it is hoped that the street, home to a number of bars and restaurants, will return to being a thriving part of the Northern Quarter, enjoyed by visitors and residents alike, a statement from Manchester City Council said.

A pedestrian and cycle zone on Thomas Street, where developer Real Estate Investment Partnerships hopes to build a five-storey apartment block, was introduced on a trial basis, for limited times during May 2019 after public consultation revealed support for the move.   

The decision to make this permanent follows the move to pedestrianise part of Deansgate between King Street West and Blackfriars, which was widely welcomed by the property community. 

Additionally, the council is conducting a review of the potential for extending traffic-free hours for other city centre areas that have already been part-pedestrianised, including Canal Street, King Street, Market Street and Exchange Street. 

Footway-widening schemes have been carried out at London Road and Princess Street in the city centre, with more in the pipeline. 

Such work involves the installation of temporary barriers or cones to create more space for people, with bus stops being relocated and parking bays suspended where required.  

Manchester City Council’s executive member for the environment, planning and transport, Cllr Angeliki Stogia, said: “The Thomas Street pedestrian and cycle zone was embraced positively by local businesses and residents after being introduced on a trial basis last year.  

“Making the street a traffic-free zone seven days per week is an important step forward in our plan to help people come back to the city centre more confidently and safely, as the essential restrictions on movement are gradually lifted.”

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