Bus gate to open in Watford town centre

Lower Watford High Street - Bus Gate Image

Temporary road closure and bus gateway works taking place in Lower High Street from 28 February to 3 March...

Town centre-users are being made aware of the temporary road closure and bus gate works by Watford Borough Council and Hertfordshire County Council, at the lower end of the High Street from Monday 28 February to Thursday 3 March, and the new restrictions in place upon completion.

The four-day temporary road closure will stop all traffic from using the length of High Street from its junction with King Street north westwards, to its junction with Market Street (a distance of approximately 245m) except for access. An alternative route will be available via King Street, A411 Exchange Road, Wellstones and Market Street.

The bus services 8, 10, 306, 318, 319, 320, 321, 347, 352, 398, 500, 520, 832, 951, R2, W1, W2, W18, W19, W20 & W30 will use King Street Stop Q for boarding and alighting. The other bus services 602 & 635 will use King Street Stop Q for alighting and Beechen Grove Stop O for boarding. Alternative taxi ranks located in George Street and New Street will continue to be available.

After the works are completed, the new bus gate restrictions will continue to allow only loading vehicles, taxis, bikes and public transport to pass through High Street from King Street with signs warning motorists, and automatic number plate recognition (ANPR) cameras eventually being introduced to enforce the restrictions.

The new scheme has been introduced to help reduce traffic, improve safety, enhance the air quality and support people to walk, shop and cycle locally. It will be trialled for up to 18 months, with residents, businesses and disabled drivers being asked to provide their feedback during the first six months. This will enable tweaks and changes to be made to the scheme where necessary.

Plans are also being developed to provide up to an additional 20 blue badge parking spaces in George Street, Church Street, King Street and Wellstones by converting some taxi bays and other unused space, and making some improvements to help access and increase the sense of safety on routes to the High Street.

Elected Mayor of Watford, Peter Taylor, said “The High Street has been off limits to general traffic for over 12 months. During COVID the roadway was blocked off to manage pedestrian issues and marshals made sure that only permitted vehicles had access. The reduction in traffic has made the town centre a safer, less polluted and healthier environment. We want to keep these benefits and build on them to develop a more attractive and healthy town centre. We are also increasing the number of blue badge bays to improve access for people with disabilities. We want a town centre that can be accessed and enjoyed by everyone.”

Cllr Ian Stotesbury, Portfolio Holder for Transport and Sustainability said: “We are committed to creating a high street that works for visitors, that actively encourages walking, cycling and using public transport. The majority of the 1000 residents who gave us feedback in our recent sustainable transport survey see this as a priority. We must do all we can to reduce traffic across our town and make areas safer and more pleasant for walking and cycling and this should help achieve this."

Letters and leaflets have been sent to addresses in the area and signage will be erected warning drivers of the restrictions on the lower end of the High Street.

Published: 15th February 2022

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