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Queen Street and Iron Bridge, Exeter

A public consultation is being held to seek views on making the temporary changes to road layouts on Queen Street and Iron Bridge permanent.

Please read the information below and have your say using our online questionnaire. If you wish to access plans while completing the questionnaire, we recommend opening the questionnaire in a new window or tab.

The consultation will run from Wednesday 15 September to Wednesday 13 October.

Visualisation of Queen St, with wider footway and street furniture (benches/planters) on southern side and vehicle carriageway wide enough for a car to pass a cyclist.


Queen Street is a busy city centre street with thousands of pedestrians accessing the many amenities and business in the city centre and Queen Street, including Exeter College, Exeter Central Station and the Royal Albert Memorial Museum (RAMM).

To enable a wider footway to improve facilities for pedestrians and support social distancing during the COVID-19 pandemic, the section of Queen Street between Paul Street and Northernhay Street was made one way to private vehicles in early 2021 (eastbound so as to not impact on fire engines heading out from Danes Castle station).

Queen Street is served by a number of bus services, including connectivity by the H bus between Central Station and the RD&E Hospital, and is a popular route for taxis from St David’s Railway Station to the city centre. Therefore, two-way access on Queen Street for pedestrians, buses, taxis and cycles has been maintained throughout.

To mitigate the impacts of any displaced traffic on the community around St David’s Hill, the Iron Bridge was also made one way (westbound) to vehicles. Two-way access for pedestrians and cyclists has been maintained.

Following feedback on the appearance of traffic management used on some of the initial emergency active travel measures, wooden boxes with seasonal planting have been used to help the changes further enhance the appearance of the temporary barriers.

An overview of the traffic circulation arrangements can be seen here.

Explanation of the plan

Two-way vehicle traffic between Clock Tower roundabout and Northernhay Street, with left turn only restriction for vehicles exiting Northernhay Street. The single lane section on Queen Street between Northernhay Street and Paul Street is eastbound only for private vehicles. Buses, cycles and taxis can however travel both directions. There is no entry to northbound traffic at the top of Paul Street. St Davids Hill is two-way, with Iron Bridge one-way westbound to vehicles.

Impact of changes

The impact of the changes on transport have been monitored through regular traffic counts, with the most recent in June 2021 when citywide traffic levels are close to normal levels.

Overall traffic volumes have reduced in the city centre and on Queen Street and by a third across the historic Iron Bridge. The number of people cycling on Queen Street and Iron Bridge has increased and pollution levels on Queen Street, monitored outside the RAMM, have reduced. We do however recognise that vehicle trips for some people have been made longer.

An overview of the changes across different areas is shown below.

Criteria Queen Street Iron Bridge St David’s Hill
Vehicle volumes
(June 2021)
Reduced by a quarter Reduced by a third Little change
Pedestrians Wider footway
Cycling Increased Increased Increased
Air Quality Improved (RAMM) Not measured Not measured

We have received a number of comments on the temporary measures, with often very different views. Nevertheless, the reduction of traffic in the city centre, increased cycling and improved air quality are all consistent with the recently adopted Exeter Transport Strategy 2020-2030. The temporary changes have also significantly reduced vehicle flows over the Iron Bridge, a listed structure with a weight limit.

We would now like to hear your views on what should happen next to the temporary changes.

If a permanent scheme were progressed, the likely changes would include:

  • permanent signals to control traffic and pedestrian crossing points on this section of Queen Street
  • widening of footways or cycle provision on Iron Bridge – any changes to Iron Bridge may be coordinated with future maintenance work to reduce disruption to users
  • the temporary area of widened footway on Queen Street being upgraded to provide a wider level area of footway.

Options for this are set out below:

Option 1 – single lane for vehicles and very wide pavement that can be used by pedestrians and cyclists

  • 3.5m single lane vehicles
  • 6.5m wider footway that can be used by pedestrians and cyclists

Option 2 –  road space for a vehicle to pass cycles heading in either direction and 5.6m footway for pedestrians only

  • 4.4m lane, where a vehicle could pass a cyclist
  • cycle movements, in both directions, would be in the carriageway and controlled by traffic signals
  • 5.6m footway for pedestrians only

Option 3 –  single lane for vehicles and cycle lanes in both directions and 4.0m footway for pedestrians only

  • Single lane width for vehicles
  • 1.5m advisory cycle lane in both directions
  • Footway would be approximately 4.0m wide, the least of the 3 options

An overview of the possible arrangements for Queen Street between Paul Street and Northernhay Street can be seen here.

Have your say

Please let us know your views by completing the online questionnaire.

If you would like further information, please get in touch using the contact details below:

Address: Transport Planning, Lucombe House, County Hall, Exeter, EX2 4QD

If you need guidance or an alternative format to access any of the consultation information, please email with details of any preferred format and the assistive technology you use.

What happens next

Responses will be reviewed to understand local opinion on the temporary measures and consider any suggested changes.

If a permanent change were supported, Traffic Regulation Orders would then need to be advertised and consulted on, with a final decision on progressing any permanent change to be made by elected councillors at a future committee meeting.