King Street closure order has come into force – it’s closed to vehicles every Friday and Saturday for up to 18 months

King Street closure order has come into force – it’s closed to vehicles every Friday and Saturday for up to 18 months

The closure of King Street between 10am and 3pm today and tomorrow is a temporary measure. Initially it will be in place for 18 months but it can be cancelled at any point if it is causing disruption.

The closure is to promote social distancing on one of our busiest streets for traffic and pedestrians. In ordinary times, pedestrians squeeze along the narrow pavements with their shopping bags and pushchairs. They frequently spill out into the road, as do the drivers of mobility scooters, where they compete with cars and vans for use of the narrow street.

This congestion has always been hard to resolve because shops need deliveries, town centre residents require access to their homes and people coming into town to shop or eat need to park.

Now the experimental closure to motorised vehicles is underway. We must see how it works.

There is strong support for increased pedestrianisation of streets in the town centre and just as much opposition. Many people want to join up Tower Street and Church Street pedestrian zones. This makes a lot of sense. It would create an almost continuous pedestrian route from Galdeford Corner to Ludlow Market, broken only by the Bull Ring traffic lights.

Most town councillors wanted High Street to be closed on a temporary basis. That will choke off circulation of vehicles around the town centre and it does not have widespread support. Church Street provides a pedestrianised alternative. It can get very crowded. We will need to observe how that works in our social distanced age.

The limited road closure of King Street is being introduced at a time when traffic levels are low. Shops are receiving fewer deliveries because footfall is a lot lower than we would experience in a normal summer, especially during such good weather. We will need to see what happens as the town gets busier and, hopefully, when it returns to something like normal later in the year.

I am sure there will be a lot of comments about this experiment. You can add them below, comment on Facebook or more formally by taking part in the Shropshire Council consultation on the experimental traffic regulation order.

Images: Councillor Philip Adams.
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