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Improvement District (BID) Ltd
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Watford BID supports major High Street upgrade plans

News
20/07/17

Watford BID has been working with intu Watford and Watford Borough Council, as well as Laing O'Rourke, The Project Centre and Hertfordshire County Council on plans to improve the section of the High Street from Clarendon Road to Market Street and revise the way it is used by pedestrians and vehicles.

The aim is to create a high-quality safe environment for pedestrians by reducing traffic flow. This includes reviewing how buses and taxis use the stretch of road and how to minimise on-street parking. The work will complement and coincide with the work being carried out on the intu Watford extension, which opens in September 2018.

The intu Watford extension will include a new Debenhams store, cinema, bowling alley and 16 retailers, as well as 10 restaurants that will front onto the High Street. The restaurants will offer alfresco dining on the High Street, and the shopping centre itself will be accessible through the familiarly known “meeting alley” directly from the High Street.

This will significantly improve the leisure and night time economy of the town centre not to mention increasing footfall (particularly families) and dwell time to intu Watford and the town centre overall.

The High Street is currently an extremely busy part of the town and we often see a conflict between pedestrians and general traffic, including buses, cyclists and lorries.

A traffic survey of the High Street to Market Street was conducted last February between 7am and 7pm. It showed 953 vehicles using the area on a Saturday and a staggering 1066 vehicles using the High Street on a Wednesday. The survey also showed that a significant number of these road users were in contravention of the ‘Pedestrian zone’. On both days ‘light vehicles’ (cars) accounted for over 50% of traffic, with the figure being higher on the Saturday.

The ease in which customers can safely move around town will be vital to the town’s success. It is proposed to integrate the High Street works with the intu Watford extension by:

  • Creating a high-quality pedestrian-friendly environment, coordinated with the improvements made to The Parade in 2013/14.
  • Reducing traffic flow from Clarendon Road to Market Street, including reviewing how buses use the stretch between Clarendon Road (Watford Palace Theatre side) and Market Street and minimising on-street parking

The key changes in the proposal are:

Roads and access

  • A narrowing of the carriageway down to 4.75m between Clarendon Road and Market Street
  • Contra-flow cycle lane within the carriageway
  • Rising bollards to be installed at either end of the proposals between Clarendon Road and Market Street to operate evenings and weekends to ensure only buses and commercial vehicles have access
  • Blue badge parking (approximately five spaces) to be relocated from the High Street between Clarendon Road and Market Street and expanded to 10 new bays in Church Street

Bus routes

  • A diversion of some bus routes so they no longer pass through the High Street between Clarendon Road and Market Street
  • Buses will be limited to picking up and dropping off passengers in the High Street between Clarendon Road and Market Street but will not be able to stop for other reasons
  • Bus stops B, C and D to be merged into single bus stop
  • An extension in the length of bus Stop F

Taxis

  • Relocation of four taxi bays from the High Street to Wellstones (where five will be installed)
  • Existing part time feeder taxi rank on New Street to become full time
  • A new direct taxi call-in service to be provided by Intu
  • It is intended that construction works will start on site by March 2018 and be completed by September 2018 in time for the opening of the new retail facilities.

    More information

    The High Street Project is now available on the Councils web site under Major Projects.

    Click here to view the projects.