In June 2020, in reaction to its social distancing guidance, The Scottish Government announced its Spaces for People initiative. Part of that initiative was aimed at placing temporary and permanent changes in busy town centre streets to create more and safer space for people walking and cycling. This included provided sufficient space to accommodate queues outside shops.
During the latest lockdown, since Boxing Day 2020, those shops and businesses that are still trading have had customers queuing outside. This is most apparent in High Street.
The trial closing of High Street to vehicles during the day has received mixed responses. Pedestrians generally were in favour of the prohibition of cars from the street however, many drivers chose to ignore the road closure making the street difficult to manage. This failed to provide the levels of social distancing required to minimise the spread of Covid-19 locally.
During last year, the closure of the street was monitored and the time period when vehicles were prohibited was reduced to 11am to 4pm, Monday to Saturday. However, over the last few months of the year, the level of traffic on the street during the prohibited hours was excessive.
A fresh look at providing both vehicular and safe pedestrian access to High Street is required.
The one-way working in Mill Street, between Shillinghill and High Street, is to be reversed. This means that access to Mill Street will be via a right turn at the bottom of Drysdale Street.
High Street will be closed to all traffic between 11am and 5pm, Monday to Saturday.
The layby on the east side of High Street will be closed to allow space for pedestrians to safely pass the queues that form on this narrow section of pavement. The layby on the west side will be reserved for loading (6am to 11am and 4pm to 6pm) and disabled parking (2 spaces 9am to 11am and 5pm to 6pm).
The taxi rank on Drysdale Street has been extended by four spaces to allow the closure of the taxi rank on Mill Street. This will be changed to 20 minute parking bays and loading bays between 9am and 5pm.
Minor changes to the end of Shillinghill and Auld Brig Road will make it easier for buses to get onto the roundabout.
The new road layout will provide access for vehicles to Mill Street 24 hours each day and will provide extra parking and loading spaces close to High Street.
Buses are being held up leaving Shillinghill and causing traffic queues at peak times.
To increase the proportion of people using active travel to come into the town centre.
The benefits of these new measures include:
There will be some impact for deliveries to the High Street, which will be restricted to the hours between 5pm and 11am each day.
The change to the one-way direction on Mill Street will be put in place using an Experimental Traffic Regulation Order. This type of Order does not require prior consultation but objections may be gathered during the 18 month period that the Order is in place.
The taxi rank in Mill Street has been underused for some time in favour of the rank in Drysdale Street. It makes sense to have taxis at one location therefore the rank in Mill Street has been extended. This rank can be monitored to gauge the frequency of taxis leaving the rank with customers with a view to re-adjusting the number of spaces should it be required.
Deliveries should be re-scheduled where practical to avoid using High Street between 11am and 5pm
Between the hours of 11am and 5pm each day parking will not be permitted in High Street.
During the hours 11am to 5pm, the street may be used for outdoor events, pavement cafes, market stalls (under licence) etc.
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