Award for Fishergate city centre scheme
The Fishergate Central Gateway Project in Preston has won a national award for improving the area by reducing street clutter.
The Lancashire County Council scheme was named as the winner of the CIHT/Department for Transport Reducing Sign Clutter Award.
This award recognises the best examples of schemes from around the country which have decluttered urban or rural areas through the removal of traffic signs.
The Fishergate Central Gateway project is part of a major city centre transformation scheme to create a high-quality city centre. The aim of removing various signs along Fishergate, Butler St and Corporation Street is to free up space along this main commercial thoroughfare, improving the area for shoppers.
The CIHT is the Chartered Institution of Highways and Transportation, which is concerned with the planning, design, construction, maintenance and operation of land-based transport systems and infrastructure.
County Councillor John Fillis, Cabinet member for highways and transport, said: "We're pleased with how the city centre looks following this work, and we're pleased that the technical aspects of these changes have been recognised by the knowledgeable professionals who work in this sector.
"Anyone using Fishergate previously will remember how difficult it was to walk along with railings, advertising stands, phone boxes and signs which made it a difficult shopping experience, especially when there were lots of pedestrians at busy times.
"If you take a look at photographs before and after, it is amazing to see how much it has changed and it is now so much more accessible, especially for people with prams, wheelchairs and mobility scooters.
"The lessons learnt during this project are being applied to the rest of the county as we try to cut down on unnecessary street signs."
Sue Percy, CIHT chief executive, said: "The CIHT Awards are a celebration of all the excellent work currently taking place in the sector. They demonstrate that our industry continues to produce high calibre schemes, innovative products and ways of working, that contribute to both the transport community and society.
“We would like to thank all of those who took the time to enter their projects. The quality of the entries was extremely high and those who made the shortlist should be very proud."
The judges were looking for evidence of councils demonstrating that they have met more than one of the following criteria:
• Designed a scheme which has significantly reduced the number of traffic signs and road markings
- Shown appreciation of the need to consider aesthetics in sign design and de-cluttering
- Demonstrated a commitment to reducing street clutter, but with an emphasis on traffic signs
- Designed traffic management schemes that minimise the need for traffic signs
- Taken advantage of measures to reduce traffic signs provided by the Department for Transport – for example, removing the requirement to place two regulatory signs at the start of a restriction
- Considered whether or not signs need replacing when they have been damaged
- Demonstrated savings in lighting and/or maintenance costs.
The judging panel said they were "very impressed with the three final entrants and our adjudication has been based on the extent to which a scheme’s changes reduced clutter, albeit all of them brought about a dramatic improvement in the appearance of the streetscape".
The lessons learnt during this project have contributed to the council’s countywide sign clutter policy.