Healthy Streets PZ has finalised the first steps in delivering a bold new vision to make the town a thriving place for the future, with proposals to pedestrianise Market Jew Street due to be introduced on 3 September.
Part of a wider ambition to regenerate the local economy at the same time as tackling the climate crisis and ensuring a sustainable future for the town, the Healthy Streets scheme will reduce through traffic and create new pedestrian areas in the town centre, develop new accessible routes, promote walking and cycling and provide other more sustainable forms of transport.
Delivered in phases over the next 12 months, the trial scheme, which is being developed by Cornwall Council in partnership with Penzance Council, Penzance BID and Sustainable Penzance, also includes proposals to modify the Branwells Mill Gyratory system, reduce traffic on Western Promenade Road, and extend the 20mph zone.
“This is a very exciting moment for our town and we want to ensure that the scheme meets the needs of all parts of our community “ said Councillor Nicole Broadhurst , the Mayor of Penzance.
“After talking to local businesses and blue badge holders we had already decided to move the introduction of the scheme to September to avoid the peak summer season, and to amend the timing of the traffic restrictions in Market Jew Street so they come into operation at 11 am rather than at 10 am. Last week we met with representatives of disAbility Cornwall and iSightCornwall and we are now looking at how we maximise the scheme to improve access to the town for everyone in our community .
“This is the first stage in a wider vision to create the Penzance we want for the future. As the scheme is being carried out under an Experimental Traffic Regulation Order (ETRO) process, any parts which are not working as expected can be modified at any time during the trial. We will be monitoring the scheme closely and welcome any feedback from the local community”.
Aimed at encouraging more people to visit and stay longer in Penzance by improving the overall environment in the town centre and supporting safe social distancing , the proposals for Market Jew Street will see traffic restrictions in place between 11 am and 4pm from Monday to Sunday from Thursday, 3 September. .
As well as creating a pedestrian and cycling zone in Market Jew Street between these hours, other key measures include:
- No waiting or loading on Market Jew Street between 1100 and 1600 Monday to Sunday
- Retaining bus access in both directions
- Moving the uphill (westbound) bus stop to outside Domino’s Pizza where the footway is wider. The existing limited waiting bay in this location (for use outside of the restricted hours) will be slightly reduced in length to accommodate the bus stop. Additional limited waiting and loadings bays are being introduced throughout the street to accommodate extra waiting and loading outside of the restricted hours.
- Taxis will continue to be able to drive uphill but will have restricted access downhill
A contraflow bus and cycle lane is also being introduced at the western end of Market Jew Street.
Some modifications to Branwell’s Mill gyratory system are also being made in this phase to complement the pedestrianisation measures in Market Jew Street and re-enforce the traffic restrictions. These include removing one of the lanes of traffic, with changes to road signs; road markings and lane allocations. As well as provide increased space for pedestrians this will offer greater opportunities for pedestrians and cyclists to travel between the Coast Path and the railway and bus stations into the town centre.
As the proposals will result in the removal of some traffic from Chyandour Cliff, Market Jew Street and Wharf Road, changing the overall environment in the area, highways officers are not anticipating congestion to be a significant issue. However traffic levels will be closely monitored and action taken if required.
Following meetings with disability groups a number of measure are being added to the scheme to improve accessibility in Penzance, including increasing daytime parking for Blue Badge holders, creating more accessible routes into the town centre, tackling the use of existing disabled parking spaces by non blue badge holders and also investigating the impact of A boards and other street furniture on people with sight impairment.
Specific actions include:
- Providing additional blue badge parking in the lower Clarence Street car park (these will be on the raised section providing flat access to Causewayhead and the town). .
- Reviewing the route from the car park to Market Jew Street and carrying out modifications if appropriate
- Reviewing the existing street furniture and any potential trip hazards on Market Jew Street to identify any “quick fixes” which could be carried out as part of the trial scheme.
- Reviewing the provision of tactile paving and checking that the rotating tactile cones at signal controlled crossings are working properly.
- Carrying out an audit of disabled bay and parking space usage in the town centre and working with partners to ensure that restrictions on their use are properly enforced
- Working with Penzance BID, the Town Deal Board and other partners to introduce a Shop Mobility scheme** ( this is not part of the trial scheme)
“We have had a very positive response from local businesses to the changes introduced to the original proposals to meet their concerns “ said Jessica Morris, Penzance BID Manager. “Overall representatives of the disability groups are in support of the wider scheme and what it is trying to achieve and we have invited them to visit the site with us in September, once the restrictions have come into operation, to see how it is all working.
“We are pleased they have welcomed our commitment to work towards the re-instatement of the shop mobility scheme, and for their support for the plans to provide additional crossings on Western Promenade Road and the introduction of a 20 mph zone in future phases of the project . We share their ambition to provide accessible facilities for all and will be continuing to work with them as this, and other schemes in the town, are developed. “
Following confirmation of the proposals for the first phase of the scheme, a formal notice outlining the full details will be published in the local paper on 28 August, with the restrictions coming into operation on Thursday, 3 September.
Further work is continuing on developing the second and third phases of the scheme -Western promenade access restrictions and the introduction of a 20mph town centre zone including Alexandra Road – following feedback from local residents. As the two schemes are complimentary it is currently planned to introduce them as a single phase in October rather than in two separate phases. Further details will be provided as the schemes are developed.
“The Healthy Streets concept, which is being used in towns and major cities across the world, is that “a street that works for people is a street that is good for health ” said Rachel Yates, from Sustainable Penzance. “We want to create a place where everyone feels welcome and relaxed, where traffic levels are reduced and people can walk and cycle safely while enjoying clean air. We need to see a dramatic reduction in carbon emissions over the next five years and this scheme also fits with Penzance and Cornwall Council commitments to promote green and active travel under their climate action plans to help Cornwall become carbon neutral by 2030.
“The introduction of this first phase of Healthy Streets PZ is a major milestone in our plans to create a sustainable and thriving Penzance by starting to provide a town which is truly accessible for all “.
Cornwall Council’s portfolio holder for transport Geoff Brown said: “Cornwall Council is keen to support and enable this community led scheme to promote green travel, reduce carbon emissions and help revitalise the town. We are all working together to help tackle the climate emergency and improve the environment for everyone.”