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Right turn ban from Grand Arcade car park to allow more alfresco dining on Cambridge's streets

Drivers are to be banned from turning right when they exit the Grand Arcade shopping centre car parks in Cambridge.

Cambridge City Councils said the new measure is set to be trialled with the aim of making Bene’t Street and Trumpington Street more pedestrian friendly.

While many motorists already leave the car park by heading left to Downing Street, some choose to turn right down Corn Exchange Street to access Bene’t Street and on to Trumpington Street. The trial will involve preventing this right turn by putting in place temporary barriers.

Bene't Street
Bene't Street

As more shops and businesses reopen and more people return to the city centre the council is keen to support businesses on Bene’t Street, Guildhall Street, Wheeler Street, Peas Hill and Trumpington Street by encouraging a more pedestrian friendly area and use of outside space.

The trial results will be used to inform potential longer term measures to restrict vehicle access to these streets between certain times, to allow the available road space to be used for outdoor tables and chairs and other temporary ‘pop up’ activities and events, the council said.

A survey of businesses in these streets is under way to assess business interest in using the available road-space and also on their delivery access requirements and how these could be accommodated.

Cllr Rosy Moore, executive councillor for climate change, environment and city centre, said: “As more businesses reopen in the city centre we want to do all we can to support them and to help people feel safe.

“We have already put in place a number of temporary measures and we are working closely with other partners to look at what more we can do.

“This trial is about assessing whether we can make part of the city centre more pedestrian and business friendly by reducing the amount of traffic.

“It is only a trial and no permanent arrangements are being proposed at this time. We will see what kind of impact the temporary change has on pedestrians, businesses and motorists before we think about any longer term proposals.

“Our whole approach to the city centre is to do all we can to protect the safety of everyone who lives, works or visits there and we will continue to work with businesses, organisations, colleges and residents to prioritise that.”

Cambridge Business Improvement District (BID) is supportive of the trial measure.

Ian Sandison, chief executive of Cambridge BID said: “We have long championed better use of our public spaces and we support this trial.

“The Peas Hill area has a great range of bars, restaurants and cafes, many of which have no outside seating so the current social distancing rules are affecting their viability. This trial will explore the appetite of the city and these businesses to use this space more flexibly.

“We are working with all businesses in this area to ensure their delivery and access needs are met during this time. Pedestrianised areas of cities have longer dwell times and this supports businesses in these areas.”

The council said it will monitor the impact of the trial and its effects on city centre and car park users in case changes need to be considered. Any longer term proposals will be consulted on, it promised.

Traffic coming down Corn Exchange Street from Downing Street will not be affected by the trial which is set to start on Monday (August 24) and last for at least six weeks.

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