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Watch how Friargate and Ringway in Preston city centre to look after £14.7m revamp

Posted on - 19th March, 2021 - 7:00am | Author - | Posted in - Friargate, Politics, Preston City Centre, Preston News, Redevelopment, Roads, Transport
Aerial view of the new Ringway and Friargate junction Pic: Lancashire County Council
Aerial view of the new Ringway and Friargate junction Pic: Lancashire County Council

Prestonians and visitors are being invited to give their views on designs for a new scheme which will reconnect Preston city centre to create a better leisure and shopping experience and encourage sustainable travel.

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As part of the successful Transforming Cities Fund bid, Lancashire County Council has been awarded £14.7m to regenerate the Friargate North and Ringway area in line with other modern cities.

The funding will also be used towards a range of improvements in and around the city to promote public transport, walking and cycling, encouraging people to consider other methods of transport.

The clip below shows how the area may look after the works

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The council is asking local people to get involved in the online public engagement, which runs until 26 April.

This will help with the final details of the design for the Transforming Friargate North and Ringway scheme.

It follows consultations as part of the city’s Masterplan development, and since then the council’s design and construction team have been working with a range of people to help them fine tune the plans to make sure they work for Preston.

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Encouraging an increase in journeys made by low carbon, sustainable modes is a key objective of the Fund as well as supporting priorities such as:

  • Improving access to work and delivering growth;
  • Improving mobility and encouraging the use of new mobility systems and technology;
  • Tackling air pollution and reducing carbon emissions;
  • Delivering more homes; and
  • Delivering apprenticeships and improving skills.

The fund will provide a range of advantages to people who work and live in the Preston City Region.

These include: reduced travel time and carbon emissions as well as improved reliability, safety, air quality, and accessibility to employment across the region.

The schemes planned under this funding stream should also encourage significant housing growth plans by incentivising more sustainable travel.

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It will also help Preston work towards its local ambition to make choosing sustainable travel modes, such as walking, cycling and public transport, easier and more attractive.

The measures being considered for the area include:

  • A new signal-controlled crossing point, public realm improvements and bus interchange stops at the Friargate/Ringway junction. Vehicle access at the Ringway-Friargate junction will be removed to enable this;
  • Pedestrianisation of Friargate between Ringway and Marsh Lane with access for service and delivery vehicles at restricted times of the day;
  • Creating a pedestrian and cycle friendly space with high quality paving, trees, and other features such as public seating, space for outdoor events and al fresco dining opportunities;
  • Closing part of Corporation Street to general traffic and creating a bus gate to give priority to buses at the junction. This will allow buses, Hackney carriages and authorised vehicles through freely whilst discouraging other vehicles, similar to arrangements on Fishergate currently
  • New cycle paths along Ringway to help cyclists connect between the University, the railway station, the bus station and beyond as safely as possible.

County Councillor Keith Iddon, Cabinet Member for Highways and Transport said: “This is a revolutionary scheme for Preston which is designed to encourage footfall between the university and the Harris Quarter by regenerating the area and joining up both sides of the city.

“By bringing it up to date with other modern cities, we aim to put this area on the map as an attractive destination for residents and visitors to enjoy, generating more potential customers for businesses particularly along the northern end of Friargate.

“Like the southern end of Friargate, removing traffic all day except for a short window for deliveries will create a safer environment for pedestrians and cyclists.

“By encouraging traffic to choose more suitable routes we will enhance the experience for local residents and shoppers.

“We are providing new cycle facilities and segregated lanes connecting to the wider cycle network to help more people to come into town on their bikes. New bus stops for buses diverted from Friargate will maintain bus accessibility in the area.

“Transforming Friargate North and Ringway will have wide ranging benefits for Preston by increasing sustainable travel options and regenerating the public space for all to enjoy.

“Other cities which have introduced similar cycle and pedestrian friendly measures are already enjoying benefits such as healthier communities, reduced local air pollution, lower road traffic accident levels and a boost to their economy by increased visitor spending.

“We hope to make Preston a healthier, safer and greener place for people to live, work and visit.”

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There are three main parts to the scheme and below are some of the benefits for each.

Regeneration of Friargate North

  • Like the southern end of Friargate, removing traffic all day except for a short window for deliveries will create a safer environment for pedestrians and cyclists
  • Improved street scene with high quality paving, seating and tree planting will create a pleasant environment for people to sit, relax, shop and enjoy
  • Regeneration of the street will encourage more people to use it, and help to generate more potential customers for businesses in the area
  • Opportunities for businesses to provide outdoor seating for eating and drinking
  • New spaces for outdoor markets and live events

Transforming Ringway Junction

  • Reconnecting the city either side of Ringway by upgrading the crossing facilities for cyclists and pedestrians
  • Opening up and improving the look and feel of this area will make it an attractive place to visit for leisure and shopping
  • New secure cycle parking and facilities to encourage more people to come into town on their bikes
  • New bus stops at the junction to service this area and make it easier for people to get here by bus
  • Encouraging people who are just passing through to choose more suitable routes other than directly through the city centre will enhance the experience for local residents and shoppers

Changes to Corporation Street and other local traffic routes

  • New segregated cycle lanes along Ringway and Friargate, connecting to the wider network, will help more people travel safely by bike
  • These will be supported by a smart signal technology package to optimise traffic flow
  • New bus stops for buses diverted from Friargate will maintain bus accessibility in the area
  • Discouraging traffic from using the university campus as a through route will make a more pleasant environment for students and local residents

Councillor Matthew Brown, Leader of Preston City Council, said: “These proposals for greener and more environmentally sustainable movement around our city is vital for future development and essential for the well-being of our residents.

“Encouraging walking, cycling and the use of public transport aim to contribute to healthier communities and a more attractive visitor experience over time.

“It’s vital that we hear the views of residents, visitors and businesses on the range of proposals now in this public engagement phase, so I would encourage everyone to take part.”

Design of these works will continue over the next 12 months, with the construction of the works planned to be complete by spring 2023.

The council’s design and construction team are talking to local businesses, and groups so that the needs of all users are considered.

You can have your say on the final details of the design at www.lancashire.gov.uk/fnr

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