Impact Assessment – Queen Street and Iron Bridges/St David’s Hill, Exeter
Queen Street is a vibrant city centre street, providing access to the Royal Albert Memorial Museum and the main route from Exeter Central Railway Station to the High Street. Due to the presence of Exeter College on and in the locale of Queen Street, there are vast numbers of students moving between campuses, adding to the busyness of the Street. Weekday movements levels are typically 10,000 pedestrians per day, 6,000 vehicles per day and 1,000 cyclists per day. The latter is one of the highest flow of cyclists on any road in Devon.
To enable a wider footway to improve facilities for pedestrians and support social distancing during the COVID-19 pandemic, a temporary scheme (funded through the Department for Transport’s Active Travel Fund (Tranche 2)) was delivered in February 2021. Under the temporary scheme, narrowing of the vehicle carriageway to a single lane and a restriction to westbound access on Queen Street, between Northernhay Street and Paul Street was introduced to provide more space for pedestrians. Iron Bridge was also made one-way for motor vehicles (westbound only) to mitigate any impact on the neighbouring community of St David’s Hill.
Devon County Council is proposing to make the traffic circulation and access changes permanent. The footway on the southern side of Queen Street would be widened from 2.1 metres to 3.4 metres. There would be two-way bus, taxi and cycle access along Queen Street, with the carriageway between Northernhay Gate and Paul Street wide enough to allow westbound flow for these vehicles alongside eastbound only all-traffic (instead of ‘shuttle working’ in the temporary scheme). On Iron Bridge, appropriate regulatory signage would be implemented to make the one way eastbound, except cycles, permanent.
A final decision on progressing any permanent change is still subject to decision by elected councillors.