Peach Street lane reduction discussed at public realm workshopBy Laura Herbert
February 25, 2013
Peach Street may be reduced to one lane under plans to transform Wokingham town centre’s roads.
Ideas to reduce congestion and improve public spaces were examined at the council’s Public Realm Strategy workshop, to gauge people’s reaction to initial suggestions.
Wokingham Borough Council is working with planners at LDA Design and ARUP to come up with proposals to transform Peach Street, Market Place, Denmark Street, Rose Street, Broad Street and The Plaza.
Sophie Thompson, of LDA Design, added: “The public realm is the space between buildings, streets, road, open spaces and parks. It really reflects quality of life and people’s experience at a place. You should expect to get to your town centre easily, walk around and enjoy the environment.
“A good public realm will encourage good social and economic regeneration.”
Concerns were raised about the suggestion to reduce Peach Street to one lane, fearing it will make queuing traffic worse.
But Joe Clarbour, of ARUP which looks at traffic movement in the strategy, said: “A lot of the congestion is caused by poorly managed loading activity and lights at crossings out of sync, giving an unbalanced priority.
“We are confident we can get Peach Street taking traffic in a single lane with existing and predicted future traffic flows.”
Other ideas looked at included reducing the width of the road in Denmark Street, increasing the width of some footpaths and removing traffic light crossings and replacing them with courtesy crossings, which rely on drivers giving way to pedestrians.
Around 25 people, including town and borough councillors, also looked at suggestions to remove red brick footpaths, install feature lighting at night to highlight Wokingham’s historic architecture and create designated loading and parking bays, at Saturday’s workshop at The Cornerstone in Norreys Avenue.
The Public Realm Strategy is not part of the regeneration of the town, but it will run alongside the scheme.
Further consultation work will take place on the strategy before it is finalised and adopted.