THE public is being asked for their views on whether general traffic should be allowed to use Cardiff’s Castle Street as a thoroughfare again, joining buses, taxis, cyclists, delivery and emergency vehicles which are currently the only traffic allowed on the road.
The public will be asked for their views on the following two options:
Option 1: This involves remodelling traffic lanes and would see one lane of traffic in either direction for all motor vehicles. A westbound bus lane would also be installed, as would wider pedestrian pavements and a segregated, two-way cycleway. The modelled levels of NO2concentrations in the air on Castle Street for this option is 32 µg/m3.
Option 2: Staying as is, with the temporary configuration with only buses, taxis, cyclists, emergency and delivery vehicles allowed to use the street. The road would be configured with 1 lane in either direction, greater pavement width on the southern side and bus-gates to be installed to stop private vehicles using the road. The modelled levels of NO2concentrations in the air on Castle Street for this option is 21 µg/m3.
The consultation pack on this scheme is available on the Keep Cardiff Moving website: Castle Street – Keeping Cardiff Moving
Before the COVID Pandemic and when Castle Street was being used by all traffic, air-pollution was recorded as being above the legal limits (µg/m3)for NO2. Air quality monitoring indicated levels as high as 51 µg/m3on the street. Consequently, Cardiff Council agreed to implement a Clean Air Plan for the city centre to quickly improve air quality levels by reducing the space for private cars and increasing the space available for buses, active travel and pedestrians.
Baseline modelling has also been undertaken into impacts of the changes to congestion levels and air quality in other parts of the city. Whilst option 2 does show that there will be some traffic dispersal, the effects do not cause a negative impact in terms of the overall air quality levels across the city. This modelling does not take into consideration expected changes in people using more sustainable forms of transport and commuting behaviours post-pandemic.
Cllr Caro Wild, Cabinet Member for Strategic Planning and Transport, said:
“Congestion and air quality levels remain a major concern for residents in the city and we are continuously trying to make improvements that enable more people to use active travel and public transport.
“We have limited space available on Cardiff’s roads and pavements and we need to make sure this space is used in a fair way that supports a sustainable city.
“The options for Castle Street are important for us to get right, and we genuinely want to hear from people about how the different options affect them in their daily lives.
“We know that for some people car access is important, and whilst both options do not stop cars from accessing car parks, option 2 would stop people from using their cars from using the street to cross the city.
“For others, ensuring buses can move more quickly around the city centre may improve their daily commute, or they may feel more comfortable walking with fewer cars in the city centre. We have produced a helpful consultation pack so people can understand the different impacts.”
Modelling data shows that both the options put forward for consultation will significantly improve air quality across the city centre, and not just on Castle Street. This will ensure the council is compliant with the law and the legal direction on air quality that has been set by the Welsh Government.
As part of the scheme new, clean-air-monitoring equipment has been installed on and around Castle Street. Traffic flows will be proactively managed through SMART technology which will collect live data on traffic volumes across the road network. This will be fed back to a central control unit to better manage traffic flows and to ease congestion.
The results of the consultation will be fed back to Cabinet in early summer when a decision will be taken on the future of the thoroughfare.
To take part in the consultation please visit the Keep Cardiff Moving website or follow the council’s social media accounts. Residents living on or near Castle Street will receive details on the consultation in the post
Following the public consultation, the detailed design will take place, the tender undertaken and the majority of the build could be complete by the end of2021.