Car-free weekend in Milsom Street

At last one small step in the right direction with news that Milsom Street is going to be closed to traffic for a whole week-end in September.

Though this move to create more pedestrian friendly areas in our traffic-choked city has to be dressed up in an ‘event’ – and its only for one week-end.

l quote the B&NES press release in full.

“Love Milsom Street takes place throughout two days on Saturday 21 and Sunday 22 September and will see the street closed to all vehicles. The closure is set to give businesses increased footfall, as well as the opportunity to offer pop-up trading stalls and extra seating on the street.

Two mini parks the size of a single car parking space, known as ‘parklets’, will be temporarily installed to provide seating and planting.

The event is part of the Love Our High Streets project funded by the West of England Combined Authority (WECA), which aims to revitalise and rethink the way local high streets are used.

It coincides with national World Car Free day on the Sunday and European Mobility Week on 16 – 22 September, a campaign to promote sustainable travel across Europe. To carry out the closure Bath and North East Somerset Council is working with local businesses, Bath BID, Visit Bath and local landlords.

Councillor Paul Crossley, cabinet member for Community Services, said: “This is a fantastic community event that not only raises the profile of this historic street and attracts more visitors, but also supports our priority of tackling the climate emergency. Having a car-free weekend will highlight our commitment to bring clean air to Bath, as well as draw more visitors in to fully appreciate what Milsom Street has to offer.”

IMG_0287

Councillor Joanna Wright, cabinet member for Transport added: “‘Love Milsom Street’ presents a unique opportunity to celebrate the businesses local to Milsom Street whilst testing the environmental benefits of restricting traffic to one of Bath’s most prominent and historic high streets. The event which coincides with international car free day and EU mobility week will help to promote sustainable transport across Bath and raise awareness of the Climate Emergency. The success of this event will hopefully pave the way for more regular closures of Milsom Street in the future.”

Businesses from Milsom Street and Milsom Place have been involved with the event from the early stages. Paula Leech, Area Manager of Kiehl’s, said: “I love the concept and am very much looking forward to this collaboration and possibly future ones.”

West of England Mayor, Tim Bowles, said: “This is a great example of how our Love our High Streets project is helping to revitalise local communities by giving high streets and town centres a real boost. The future of our high streets isn’t just about shops, it’s about our businesses, community activities and the way that spaces are used. This is another example of how the West of England Combined Authority is making a difference in our communities.

“Making Milsom Street a vehicle-free zone for the weekend also supports our ambitions for clean and inclusive economic growth in the West of England, as set out in our Local Industrial Strategy.”

The street will be closed from 05:00 on Saturday 21st September to 23:59 on Sunday 22nd September. 

Diverted traffic will be rerouted along George Street, Gay Street, Old King Street, John Street and Quiet Street. All parking will be suspended from Milsom Street during the closure and the Park and Ride bus service will be diverted to Queen Square. The bus stop will be located on eastern side of the square.

IMG_1463
Market goers in Milsom Street around 4.30 pm Wednesday evening.

This will be the first time Milsom Street has been closed outside of the Christmas period. Last December footfall rose by 20 per cent when the street was closed during the Christmas Market.”

I have just come back from a holiday in South America which ended with a stay in Brazil’s amazing coastal resort – Rio de Janeiro.

The famous Copacabana beach is two and a half miles long and is fronted by a very busy two-way road system.

IMG_1893

 

Every Sunday one section of that is closed to traffic to enable people to enjoy a huge extra space beside the sea.

The Milsom Street event is dipping a toe in the water. Let’s see the Council take the plunge and make it permanent.