Bolton Council is clamping down on motorists using pedestrianised areas in a bid to make the town centre safer for shoppers and visitors.
While there is currently a pedestrian zone in the town centre, some motorists are putting the lives of shoppers at risk by ignoring signage.
To tackle the problem the council will introduce a number of new traffic measures via an experimental order, starting on November 7.
The move responds to concerns expressed by businesses and Greater Manchester Police about the need to make the town centre more pedestrian friendly.
Temporary barriers will be installed on Corporation Street at its junctions with Bridge Street and Market Street. This will reduce the amount of traffic driving past The Market Place Shopping Centre, an area of high pedestrian footfall.
The hours of the pedestrian zone, which includes a number of streets in the town centre, are currently 11am to 4.30pm.This will be extended to 9.30am to 5pm. Delivery vehicles can load and unload between 5pm and 9.30am.
Deansgate (from its junction with Crown Street to Mealhouse Lane) and Bridge Street are currently in the pedestrian zone.
Under the new scheme these roads will be open to motorists and a new one way system will come into effect from Deansgate onto Bridge Street and out onto Bow Street.
This means vehicles will not be able to enter the area at the junction of Bow Street and Bridge Street. Motorists will only be able to park to load and unload in designated areas on Bridge Street. Those caught flouting the ban will be issued with a fixed penalty charge notice.
A new bus lane will come into force at the junction of Bradshawgate and Deansgate. The lane will be restricted to buses, taxis and cyclists, which the council will monitor via a bus lane camera.
New road markings and signs will be installed around the town centre informing people of the new restrictions and letters are being delivered to businesses in the pedestrian zone.
Businesses, residents and visitors are being asked for their views on the temporary scheme before a decision is taken on whether to make it permanent.
Bolton Council’s Executive Member for Regeneration, Councillors Ismail Ibrahim, and Executive Member for Environmental Services, Councillor Akhtar Zaman, said in a joint statement: “Unfortunately, the number of vehicles entering the pedestrian zone during shopping hours appears to be on the increase, making it more difficult for everyone to move around safely and putting people’s lives at risk.
“Our town centre transport strategy responds to the concerns of the police and businesses about pedestrian safety and aims to improve the flow of traffic, making it easier and quicker for public transport to travel around the town centre.
“We will review the consultation responses before deciding whether to make the Order permanent.”
Town Centre sergeant, Paul Ellis, added: “I welcome the implementation of the new traffic management scheme for the town. We have received a large number of complaints about traffic issues in the town centre, from both businesses and users. We have addressed these issues with the council, and they have worked hard to deliver a new plan that will create a safer environment for pedestrians, and reduce congestion at peak times.”
The period for comments ends on May 7, 2012. To give your views e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org or write to Highways and Engineering Development Services, The Wellsprings, Bolton, BL1 1US.