Improvement work to Seven Dials reaches final stages?

kingsmead sq improvement
It’s a major construction but the end result is not clear. Click on images to enlarge.

Work to improve the Seven Dials area of Bath for cyclists and pedestrians is reaching its final stages. Though you could have fooled me when l went to look at the construction mess that adds up to a £1.2 million pound project.

From this week traffic routes will change whilst the existing carriageway surface is replaced with stone paving.

This is expected to take around five weeks, and the project is planned for completion in early July. Though it’s not at all clear what the finished layout will look like.

kings mead square improvement
Another view of the Seven Dials work.

Vehicles using Cheap Street/Westgate Street will no longer be able to turn up towards Saw Close and will continue on across Seven Dials to Monmouth Street. Access to Saw Close, Upper Borough Walls and adjoining roads will only be possible from Westgate Buildings, entering via James Street West.

Motorists for the Theatre Royal and Bath Mineral Hospital will need to use this alternative route. Any businesses that receive their deliveries via Upper Borough Walls should inform their suppliers accordingly.

Vehicles using Westgate Street for Saw Close will need to continue to the end of Monmouth Street, turn left at the junction with Charles Street, then left again onto James Street West. They will then be able to use the alternative route for Saw Close and Upper Borough Walls.

Traffic controls will be in use where vehicles cross the central area.

The £1.2 million project aims to improve the Seven Dials area of Bath for pedestrians and cyclists. Bath & North East Somerset Council secured the money to pay for the scheme from the Department of Transport’s Cycle City ambition programme.

The aim is to improve the public space with more focus on the needs of people walking and cycling through the delivery of a ‘shared space’. At the moment far more pedestrians than cars use the area around Seven Dials but, because they don’t have sufficient space on the footway, often have to step into the road, putting them at risk.

The improvements are designed to remove the idea that motorists have priority and ensure all users can move around safely. Taking such steps to make the area more walkable and cycle-friendly is also an opportunity to invest in the city’s urban fabric.

Benefits of the scheme will include:

kingsmead sq improvement
Can you make out what’s happening?

•More space and better facilities for pedestrians. Flush surfaces across the area rather than kerbs thereby improving accessibility, particularly for people with disabilities or those using pushchairs.

•Increased access for cyclists allowing them to cross Seven Dials to take advantage of new contraflow routes being created on surrounding streets.

•Investment in high-quality surface materials that will improve the look of the area which, alongside the forthcoming regeneration of Saw Close, will make it a much more pleasant environment for local people, businesses and visitors.

•New street furniture, public seating and cycle parking.

Seven Dials, incorporating Kingsmead Square and Saw Close, is the historic west gate of the city where seven routes meet and lies to the west of the city’s main thoroughfare.