Measures to ease traffic problems on Fishergate are to be introduced ahead of another bank holiday weekend.
The early May bank holiday saw traffic chaos in Preston city centre, with drivers reporting two-hour queues to get out of the St George’s Centre car park.
Now Lancashire County Council has introduced new restrictions, which will come in force tomorrow.
These include stopping traffic turning right from Butler Street to Fishergate and restricting traffic on the lower section of Fishergate to buses and delivery vehicles.
The measures are being introduced following meetings between representatives of Preston’s business community and senior members of the county council’s administration.
An experimental traffic order has been put in place to prohibit traffic from turning right from Butler Street on to Fishergate, from Friday 27 May.
The order, which lasts for up to 18 months, will make it an offence for vehicles to turn right at the junction. If the measure is successful, the order will be made permanent.
In the longer term, a further experimental traffic order will be introduced in the Autumn which will restrict access on Fishergate from Theatre Street to Corporation Street to buses and delivery vehicles only. Cars leaving the St George’s car park will have to use Chapel Street to exit the city centre.
Speaking about the measures, county councillor John Fillis, cabinet member for highways and transport, said: “The Fishergate improvements have been a resounding success, making it a much more attractive place to be and attracting new businesses to the area. However, we have to acknowledge that at peak times the road network has struggled to cope with the volume of traffic.
“I am hopeful that these measures will introduce will have a positive impact but there are other factors that can help improve the situation. I’d like to encourage people to think about all of their parking and travel options, including the park and ride, which could reduce congestion at key times.
“The traffic arrangements on Fishergate rely on a certain amount of co-operation and give and take between drivers and pedestrians, and I’d like to ask everyone visiting Fishergate to bear that in mind.”
John Boydell, Chairman of Preston City Centre Business Improvement District, said: “We are pleased that Lancashire County Council has reacted positively to the concerns of business and that we’re now in an ongoing dialogue over measures to improve traffic flow in and around the city centre.
“There is common ground to seek the advancement of the city as a great place to work, live and visit, and we will continue to monitor the effectiveness of these measures to ensure Preston city centre remains vibrant and attractive to visitors, shoppers, businesses and investors”.