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The SIF needs to address the City’s traffic issues, comments Robert Diggle, Partner at Edward Symmons in LIverpool

wantspacegotspace.co.uk - The SIF needs to address the City’s traffic issues, comments Robert Diggle, Partner at Edward Symmons in LIverpool“I recently attended a launch event for the Strategic Investment Framework (SIF), organised by John Hall, Chief Executive of Professional Liverpool.

The SIF is the 15 year blue print for investment and development of Liverpool City Centre and its infrastructure.

The document sets out a plan for investment in financial and professional services, life sciences, creative and digital and the visitor economy.  It also extends what have been regarded as the traditional boundaries of the City Centre.

Of particular interest is that three of Liverpool’s “Great Streets” have been identified  - “The Strand”, which comprises the main arterial road running alongside the waterfront, “Water Street, Dale Street and Lime Street” in the heart of the City Centre and “Hope Street” which runs between the two cathedrals encompassing the University of Liverpool and the cultural centre which is Hope Street itself.  

The document is concise, well written, and addresses important logistical items, including the movement of transport, with particular regard to Merseyrail’s underground stations and the movement of buses throughout the City Centre.  In the chapter on the “Great Streets”, the SIF is suggesting that they, particularly Dale Street, should be designed with a focus on walking and cycling with adequate provision for bus movement.  It specifically states that the accommodation of other vehicles, i.e. cars, should be subservient to their aims.

As a City Centre professional who regularly uses my car throughout the working day to attend appointments in the Greater Mersey region, I have concerns that the continued and ongoing free movement of cars has not been addressed and indeed is potentially inhibited by the suggestions in this document.  Indeed, additional traffic delays have been seen on Tithebarn Street/Chapel Street since it was made two way in anticipation of the now defunct proposal for the Liverpool Tram, which would have travelled on Dale Street, parallel to it.

I believe free movement of traffic in Liverpool, the lack of a significant rush hour and affordable rents on commercial properties are major selling points in attracting businesses to locate or relocate  to Liverpool City Centre and which equally encourage those that have been here for many years to continue to invest in their Liverpool Office’s and remain in the City.

Creating a restriction on the use of cars around the major city centre “Great Roads” will increase travelling time, and by definition reduce productivity in the City Centre.

I do not believe this has been addressed fully and it needs to be.

The original Strategic Regeneration Framework (SRF) was produced a decade ago and was the document overseeing the significant development that Liverpool City Centre has seen, the SIF will do the same and will provide a document to benchmark the ongoing investment and success of Liverpool.  Long may it continue.”

Posted by The Editor (wantspacegotspace) on 15th February 2013 (updated 18/02/2013)

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