Record increase of pedestrian and bicycle usage has been recorded around the Boots Corner and high street area.
Since the Boots Corner trial began, initial results have indicated an 84% increase in footfall and a 206% increase in bicycle movements along the high street through Boots Corner. The figures have been welcomed by national organisation, Sustrans, who work to connect people and places.
James Cleeton, Sustrans England Director South said: ‘’The initial findings from the trial are extremely encouraging and demonstrate the positive impact reducing vehicles from the centre can have. An 84% increase in pedestrian movement can only have a positive impact on the local economy, air quality and create a vibrant place to spend time and travel through. We will be watching with interest to see the impact the trial has on the immediate and surrounding areas of the town.’’
The considerable increases in footfall and bicycle use – from data taken during the first two weeks of the trial – were evident on all days and at all times sampled. The data compares to samples collected before the trial changes were implemented.
The results show that the average numbers of seated pedestrians around the Boots Corner fountain area has increased by 19% (the data was collected before the arrival of the new street furniture so this figure is expected to have increased further), whilst the average number of wheelchair and mobility scooter users in the area increased by 55%. Vehicles travelling through Boots Corner is down by 85%.
There was a drop in bicycles parked by 38%. The council expected this result as the railing at Boots Corner was removed for the trial. Now that the new and incredibly popular bike stands are in place, the council expects this figure to increase in the next phase of data collection.
The council has commissioned further phases of work so that it can be confident and sure that the figures which inform the overall trial review, are accurate and thorough.
Councillor Andrew McKinlay, cabinet member for development and safety said: ‘’Overall, the data so far suggests that the trial road closure has not have a negative impact on visitors to the high street, actually the reverse. We can see that people travel into town far more by public transport, bike or on foot. These are the people who are spending money in our shops, enjoying our cafes, bars and restaurants and our wider cultural offer.
‘’The results so far build on last week’s announcement that the last twelve months have been the most successful ever for The Brewery Quarter in Cheltenham. With successful brands, including Urban Outfitters, Luke 1977, The Botanist and SLG, coming to the centre between now and Christmas, together with the arrival of John Lewis and Next, the town centre is thriving and punching above its weight.’’