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Queen Street (Exeter) temporary social distancing measures

A public consultation is being held on possible temporary changes to the road layout on Queen Street in Exeter.

Temporary changes are being considered to provide wider footways that will help enable social distancing on Queen Street during the COVID-19 pandemic. This can be achieved by reallocating some space from the existing carriageway and/or use of temporary vehicle access restrictions, including an option to make Queen Street one way for private vehicles.

Please read the information and view the plans provided 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 proposals will also be on show from Thursday 26 November. The consultation will close on Thursday 10 December.


Queen Street is a busy city centre street. High numbers of pedestrians use it every day to access Exeter College, Exeter Central Station and amenities/business in Queen Street and the city centre.

With COVID-19 infections rising through autumn, concerns have been raised locally that there is insufficient space on Queen Street to follow the government’s advice on social distancing and that some people no longer feel safe to visit/use Queen Street at certain times of the day.

As Exeter emerges from the second national lockdown, temporary social distancing measures are being explored to safeguard the users and traders of Queen Street, Exeter.

We would like to get your input on the proposed options.

Queen Street proposals

The proposals focus on widening sections of footway along Queen Street to provide additional space for pedestrians to enable greater social distancing.

Proposed changes are focused at areas where existing footways are narrow, such as between Northernhay Street and Paul Street, and where pedestrian volume are particularly high, such as opposite Central Station.

To provide more room for pedestrians, some areas on Queen Street currently used by vehicles will need to be reallocated. To achieve this, some form of temporary vehicle access restrictions would be needed.

It is recognised that suitable access needs to be maintained for business and residents along Queen Street. We have already sought input from traders on Queen Street and Exeter College to understand their needs and a range of one-way options to ensure vehicle access is still possible are proposed.

One way has been proposed in the eastbound direction so as to not impact on fire engines heading out from Danes Castle station.

It is also proposed to retain two-way bus access, to maintain connectivity between Central Station and the H bus to the Hospital, across all options.

We now want to get views from the public on three options. Details of the three options that are being consulted on, as well as links to plans illustrating the proposals, are provided below.

You can also view an overview plan of each options traffic restrictions here.

Option A: One–way eastbound from Northernhay Street to Paul Street only. Two-way vehicle access maintained between clock tower roundabout and Northernhay Street.

Please refer to the plan for option A.

The key features included in this option are:

  • two-way vehicle traffic maintained between clock tower roundabout and Northernhay Street
  • a section of Queen Street from Northernhay Street to Paul Street junction reduced to one lane of traffic, enabling wider footway on the southern side of Queen Street
  • temporary signals on Paul Street/Northernhay Street/Queen Street South to enable two-way bus flow – including the following restrictions:
    • no entry restriction on vehicle access from Paul Street to Queen Street /Upper Paul Street for north-bound vehicles
    • left turn only except for buses and cycles from Queen Street South
    • straight ahead only from Upper Paul Street
  • left turn only restriction for vehicles exiting Northernhay Street
  • an additional area at the top of Paul Street to enable loading
  • the removal of on street parking between Isca Place and railway bridge

Option B: One-way eastbound from Clock Tower to Paul Street Only (two-way bus access maintained)

Please refer to the plan for option B.

This option includes all features of option A noted above as well as:

  • Queen Street made one way eastbound for all vehicles except bus and cycle
  • additional widening of the southern footway on sections between the clock tower and Northernhay Street
  • no entry into Richmond Road from clock tower roundabout, providing a wider pedestrian area to cross side arm of the clock tower

Light traffic that previously travelled west on Queen Street would divert onto other routes, most likely leading to an increase in traffic on St David’s Hill and Bonhay Road.

Option C: Option B + addition of one-way restriction on Iron Bridge (allowing northbound access only)

Please refer to the plan for option C.

Option C includes the addition of a one-way restriction on Iron Bridge, allowing northbound access only across the Iron Bridge. This would reduce the level of through traffic and rat running through St Davids.

It would also enable more space for pedestrians and cyclist on Iron Bridge and heading into the city centre. However, the restriction would mean any vehicle trips by residents in the area would need to exit via St Davids Hill/Hele Road roundabout.

Any changes to vehicle access on Queen Street will lead to some traffic redistributing across the network. Light traffic that previously travelled west on Queen Street would divert onto other routes, most likely leading to an increase in traffic on St David’s Hill and Bonhay Road.

St David’s Hill, as the parallel route is likely to see the highest increase in traffic as a result of any changes to Queen Street and this option puts forward a way of mitigating the traffic impact on St David’s Hill.

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

We take accessibility seriously and recognise that some of the information presented in the plans available on this page may not be fully accessible to someone using assistive technology such as a screen reader.

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.

Next steps and timescales

Responses will be reviewed to understand local opinion and consider any suggested changes.

Findings from the public consultation will then be presented to members of the Highways and Traffic Order Committee (HATOC) at a scheduled emergency meet in December where a decision on how to proceed will be made.