Traffic ban for busy King Street outside Leicester City Council's New Walk Centre
Part of a busy city centre street is to be pedestrianised next month under plans to extend New Walk.
Traffic will be banned from a one way section of King Street, outside Leicester City Council's New Walk Centre complex, from March 4.
The council will spend £36,000 putting bollards up blocking King Street at its junctions with Wellington Street and Malborough Street, as it tries to improve the links between historic New Walk and the city centre shopping area.
The route is set to be refurbished in the long-term as part of the scheduled demolition of the crumbling council headquarters.
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City Mayor Sir Peter Soulsby said he wanted to make it easier for people to explore the city's historic features on foot.
He said: "King Street is the link between Market Street – which was pedestrianised a number of years ago – and the traffic-free tranquility of New Walk.
"By closing this short stretch of road to traffic, we can bring together two important pedestrian routes – and make it easier for people to enjoy all of our city and its heritage on foot.
"We will be looking at refurbishing the street as part of future development plans – and the demolition of New Walk Centre will give us a wonderful opportunity to improve the whole of the area."
Some motorists have criticised the scheme.
Driver James Dugwell, 29, from New Parks, Leicester, said: "I park down here in the on-street spaces sometimes because it's handy for town.
"I think they should leave it as it is and stop making it so hard for cars.
"If you want to link New Walk to Market Street you've still got to go over Belvoir Street which is a busy road with buses."
Others, however, like the idea.
Louis Thomas, 30, from Leicester, said: "I think it will probably be a good thing for the area, there are a lot of pedestrians so it will make it safer."
Solicitor Inderjit Habib, 27, said: "I reckon it will be nice to extend New Walk along here. This is a back road, not a main one, so it probably won't be a big problem for motorists."
As part of the plans, automatic bollards will come down to allow loading and unloading between 5am and 10am from Sunday to Friday and also between 5am and 9am on Saturdays.
Only businesses in the area with passes issued by the city council will have vehicle access at other times.
The council said closing the one-way section of the street should have minimal impact on motorists, while providing benefits for pedestrians and cyclists.
It says King Street traffic will still be able to turn left on to Marlborough Street to join the inner ring road.
The city council is carrying out the pedestrianisation after consulting with businesses in the area in November.