Preston’s main shopping street will be turned into a tree-lined boulevard in a bid to make the city centre more shopper-friendly.
Lancashire County Council has unveiled its vision for the new Fishergate Central project which will see £3.4m spent on an overhaul of the high street and neighbouring Corporation Street.
It will include semi-mature trees being planted from the junction of Fishergate and Lune Street down to the city’s railway station and down
Corporation Street to its junction with Ringway.
Traffic lights will be removed and the road re-surfaced to create “a shared space” where pedestrians will have right of way over motorists.
County Coun Tim Ashton, the authority’s cabinet member for highways, said: “I have been coming to Preston for 40 years and Fishergate has always been threatening to me as a pedestrian.
“I never quit felt comfortable coming down there and I always wanted to do more.”
Work has already started on the first phase of the 18-month project at the junction of Ringway and Corporation Street where improvements, including adding granite paving slabs and widening the pavements, are
It will continue onto the junction of Fishergate and Lune Street by
the summer when traffic lights at all the major junctions will be taken out and Fishergate narrowed to a single lane.
The final phase from Mount Street to the city’s train station will begin in early 2014 and be completed by July 2014.
Shaun Capper, the council’s assistant director for highways, said it had agreed to create a single bus stop outside the city’s train
station after talks with bus operators and would create a small step on the area of the new surface used by cars to allow blind people to know they are crossing.
He said there would be a number of new shelters installed outside the train station and bus stops outside the Fishergate Centre would be removed.
On the traffic lights, he said: “The lights encourage uncertainty, by removing them you take away the need for people to race for a green light and that will encourage people to slow.
“We trialled switching off the lights for a three-hour period at the start of the year and observed the traffic flowed much more freely.”
The plans will be on show for members to the public to have their say from 10am today at the former hairdressers shop at the Butler Street entrance to the Fishergate Centre.
The shop is open from 10am to 2pm each day until Saturday.