Cheltenham borough council has reported that a trial of part pedestrianisation of its High Street has seen pedestrian and cycle traffic increase significantly.
Since the Boots Corner trial began, initial results have indicated an 84% increase in footfall and a 206% increase in bicycle movements along the high street through Boots Corner, the council claims.
Increases in footfall and bicycle use – from data taken during the first two weeks of the trial – were evident on all days and at all times sampled. The data compares to samples collected before the trial changes were implemented.
According to the council, the results suggest that the average numbers of seated pedestrians around the Boots Corner fountain area has increased by 19% whilst the average number of wheelchair and mobility scooter users in the area increased by 55%. Vehicles travelling through Boots Corner is down by 85%.
The council has commissioned further phases of work so that it can be confident that the figures which inform the overall trial review, are ‘accurate and thorough’.
Councillor Andrew McKinlay, the council’s cabinet member for development and safety said: ‘’Overall, the data so far suggests that the trial road closure has not have a negative impact on visitors to the high street, actually the reverse.
We can see that people travel into town far more by public transport, bike or on foot. These are the people who are spending money in our shops, enjoying our cafes, bars and restaurants and our wider cultural offer.â€?
Commenting on the scheme, James Cleeton, Sustrans England Director South, said: ‘’The initial findings from the trial are extremely encouraging and demonstrate the positive impact reducing vehicles from the centre can have.
“An 84% increase in pedestrian movement can only have a positive impact on the local economy, air quality and create a vibrant place to spend time and travel through. We will be watching with interest to see the impact the trial has on the immediate and surrounding areas of the town.’’