COUNCIL bosses have unveiled plans for a £1million shake-up of Sunderland’s city centre road system.
The city council’s planning and highways committee will tonight be asked to approve a plan which would see sweeping changes to traffic flow and road layout in Borough Road, Fawcett Street and Toward Road.
It is aimed at making the area safer for pedestrians, improving access for buses and delivery vehicles and reducing complaints about the lack of short-stay on-street parking in the city centre.
The scheme would see Borough Road opened up to eastbound traffic between its junctions with Fawcett Street and Toward Road, meaning traffic leaving the city centre is no longer forced along the one-way system around Fawcett Street and John Street/Frederick Street.
The council has earmarked £500,000 funding for the work, with a further £340,000 from the Better Bus Fund and £140,000 from Nexus’s part of the Local Transport Plan grant.
A report to go before the committee tonight says: “improvements should have a positive impact on the environment to the benefit of the local economy”.
Thirty organisations were consulted on the plans – including the Sunderland City Centre Traders’ Association, who told the Echo it would be a huge boost.
Chairman Harry Collinson said: “It was really good for them to find out what is happening and have a look for themselves, rather than just looking at a map of the city centre.
“I think it is great, with big decisions like this, that the council wants to get it right and is listening to the traders – it affects us all.
“I just hope it will improve traffic flow around the city.”
Relocating the city centre bus stops could have a significant knock-on benefit, added Harry.
“They are going to be moving a few bus stops, which should increase footfall to businesses in secondary locations,” he said.
“We are hoping businesses will fall into shops they did not even know were there.”
WHAT the plan involves:
•BOROUGH ROAD: Carriageway widening to be carried out to accommodate two-way traffic between Fawcett Street and Toward Road, with all vehicles permitted eastbound, and cyclists, buses, taxis and private hire vehicles permitted westbound.
All vehicles to continue to use Borough Road westbound between John Street and Fawcett Street.
The bus stop in Athenaeum Street to be moved to the north side of Borough Road between Fawcett Street and John Street.
The bus stop on the south side of Borough Road between Toward Road and John Street to be lengthened to make it easier for busies to get in and out.
•FAWCETT STREET: Western pavement to be widened, with bus stops and shelters moved to cut pedestrian congestion and improve the environment.
Eastern pavement to be narrowed and the carriageway widened to improve access for through traffic and buses.
Eastern pavement to include six new parking places, restricted to disabled drivers from 8am to 6pm, and the existing loading bay to be moved and lengthened to 20m.
Loading-only bay to operate all days 8am to 6pm. Parking places and loading bay to be open to all vehicles from 6pm to 8am to promote the evening economy.
•TOWARD ROAD opposite TAVISTOCK PLACE: Four on-street metered parking places to be created on the west side of Toward Road, costing 50p for 30 minutes Monday-Saturday, 8am-6pm.
Former bus stop lay-by on the west side to be modified to provide a 15m-long loading bay and three new disabled parking places to operate all days, 8am-6pm.
All new parking places to be free from 6pm to midnight.