Norfolk is a large, rural county and parts of it are not served well by public transport. In these areas, people do not have a choice but to drive to the city. It is imperative that these trips are managed so the quality of environment upon which Norwich’s economy depends is not spoiled by the pressure and pollution of traffic.
Park and Ride is part of the answer, helping to speed people into the city on buses. Multi-storey car parks close to the inner ring road is another and restricting people’s ability to drive across the city centre is a third. This will allow city life to flourish in quiet and clean streets with pavement cafes, event spaces, bike share parklets and biodiverse trees and planting.
Since the pioneering example of London Street, over 50 years of incremental pedestrianisation has lessened the dominance of cars in central Norwich. It is important to move carefully and incrementally so displacement effects are assessed and where necessary ameliorated. The two most recent pedestrianisation schemes in St Georges Street and Westlegate give confidence that damaging congestion and loss of trade will not result when changes are carefully planned.
The next stage, contained in the Transforming Cities programme, will address the flows of traffic driving eastbound from Barn Road and the Grapes Hill roundabout through Exchange Street and St Andrews Street to Prince of Wales Road and across Foundry Bridge by the station. Traffic has also been restricted in St Benedict’s Street in response to the Covid-19 crisis.