South Ayrshire Council is actively looking at ways in which the traffic flow could be improved and the number of pedestrians increased in Ayr High Street, to make sure Ayr town centre is the best it can be.
Following extensive consideration of the issues facing the High Street, a detailed survey will now be carried out which will include traffic counts and roadside interviews to provide up to date information on use of the High Street and what traffic management solutions will work best.
A number of options will be tested using software that can simulate traffic movement of private vehicles, buses and taxis.
The options that will be tested are:
- Reopen vehicle access to River Street from the A719 Main Street.
- Unrestricted vehicle access to High Street with right turn to New Bridge Street for all buses only.
- As above but with the bus lane at New Bridge removed to permit vehicles from the High Street to turn left onto Sandgate or right onto New Bridge street.
- Creation of a short two-way section of High Street at the junction with new Bridge/Sandgate to permit access to a new car park facility either at the rear of the Affleck Building or on the site of the old Woolworths retail unit, with bus lane over New Bridge retained.
- Reversing the current direction of traffic flow on the High Street while retaining one way traffic flow only and removing all vehicles access restrictions.
- Unrestricted two way traffic flow on the High Street.
- Full pedestrianisation of the High Street. .
Any changes will then be considered in consultation with local residents and visitors, public transport operators, local businesses and statutory stakeholders.
Councillor John McDowall, Sustainability and Environment Portfolio Holder for the Council said: "We have been working on this project for a long while as it is vital that we gather the fullest information we can before we make any decision. We must be positive that any changes we make will ensure a vibrant Ayr town centre now and in the future.
"We want to establish a traffic management system in the town which will enable us to maximise the potential of our local economy. This means a system that makes the town centre more accessible, improves the environment for businesses and is right for people living and working in and around the town.
James Knox, Chair of Ayr Renaissance said: "Improving access to the town centre is a key objective for us. Whenever we consult with retailers and businesses, the subject of accessibility to the town centre for shoppers and visitors always comes up. We have been working together on this and I look forward to finding out what realistic options are available as soon as possible."
Councillor McDowall added: "We need to study the results very carefully and balance different interests and views. Making sure that we get access right is vital for a vibrant and successful town centre.
"If any of the options show potential to improve the accessibility, and footfall without an adverse impact on the rest of the town centre, then further appraisal work will be needed to allow the Council to decide on their next steps."
The detailed survey work will take place before the end of 2014, with results available in the early part of 2015.
Further details on the traffic modelling options can be found here.