Waterfront traffic could be reduced

ONE of the busiest roads in Ipswich is to be reduced to a single lane in an attempt to bring the Waterfront and town centre closer together.The Key Street/Salthouse Street/College Street route heading west is to be turned into a single lane road with separate space for cycles and pedestrians.

ONE of the busiest roads in Ipswich is to be reduced to a single lane in an attempt to bring the Waterfront and town centre closer together.

The Key Street/Salthouse Street/College Street route heading west is to be turned into a single lane road with separate space for cycles and pedestrians.

However an earlier proposal to close it to general traffic altogether and turn it into in a “green route” for buses, cycles and taxis has now been abandoned.

The lane reduction will be accompanied by changes to roundabouts at either end of the route - at Duke Street and outside the Novotel - although it is not yet known what these will be.

Council officials are hopeful they could be introduced without causing too much extra congestion.

But borough highways spokesman Paul West accepted it would be important to tempt drivers out of their cars.

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He said: “A great number of the vehicles using the roads around the waterfront are only making short journeys.

“A real problem we have in Ipswich is that many large employers are based on the west of the town centre and people from the east of the town drive around the Waterfront to reach their office car parks.

“We need to persuade those people to leave their cars on the east of the town and either walk or catch a bus to their offices.”

His counterpart at the county council, Guy McGregor, said there would be some reduction in the amount of road space available but capacity would not be reduced by half.

He said: “We have to do something to make it easier for people to walk from the town centre to the Waterfront and vice-versa.

“The Waterfront is a wonderful asset for the town - but not enough people know about it and with the roads so difficult for pedestrians it is little wonder that they don't walk there.”

Mr McGregor said work to convert the road into a single traffic lane would be carried out within the next four years hopefully alongside proposals to improve access for the town generally for public transport, pedestrians and cyclists.

He said: “We probably won't hear whether the government is backing that scheme until the year after next. This Key Street change will go ahead anyway - but it would be better if it was a part of a bigger scheme.”

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