Northern Quarter’s Stevenson Square will no longer be fully pedestrianised - here’s why

Here’s what you need to know about the upcoming changes to Stevenson Square in Manchester city centre.
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Stevenson Square will be partially reopening to bus traffic at the end of the month, Manchester City Council has confirmed.

From 30 December 2022, the road connecting Lever Street to Spear Street will once again be open to buses, hackney carriages and, as a trial, blue badge holders. The Northern Quarter square, which is home to a number of popular bars, became entirely pedestrianised in 2020 during the coronavirus pandemic. As a result, the businesses in the area used the space for outdoor seating and continue to do so today.

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Around three-quarters of Stevenson Square will remain pedestrianised following the changes. The decision to reopen part of the square to some vehicles came following a series of consultations with businesses and the Highways Access Group, which has been advising the council on inclusivity.

Councillor Tracey Rawlins, Executive Member for Environment and Transport said: “We have always sought to balance the needs of everyone in Manchester, whether that is cyclists and pedestrians or those who need to use public transport. This compromise will ensure the vast majority of space in Stevenson Square will remain for pedestrians and cyclists whilst making part of the road available for public transport.

“I hope this will set the tone for how we can create integrated neighbourhoods which prioritise active travel and help the council work towards its aim of becoming zero carbon by 2038.”

What happens now?

Work to prepare the Stevenson Square will begin on Monday 19 December. The bus stop on the south side will be removed and double yellow lines will be introduced to prevent parking or loading. Rhino barriers will be in place for a couple of weeks while the sign and line work is being completed.

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Any vehicles stopping there as of the morning on 30 December will face a penalty charge notice.

There will be more work done to make Stevenson Square more accessible for pedestrians and cyclists, including a two-way cycle lane through the Square, new pedestrian and cyclist crossings at the junction of Oldham Street/Hilton Street, and Newton Street/Hilton Street, as well as widened footpaths giving over more space for pedestrians.

You can see the full list of traffic changes on the council’s website.

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