A consultation has launched on proposals to make Stevenson Square a go-to destination, with more space for walking, cycling and people with disabilities and with the potential for special events to be held.
The council’s aim is to hold a conversation about creating a more accessible public space that supports thriving businesses, in keeping with the unique look and feel of the Northern Quarter, which links into the ongoing £13.4m Northern Quarter walking and cycling scheme.
Feedback from all road users will be collected and taken into consideration before a final design for the area is decided upon.
Servicing will be maintained, says the council, to ensure that businesses can continue to operate and that emergency services are able to access the area.
The public are being consulted on what types of features and events they would like to see in the square, which could include public art, planted areas, outside café culture and dining, themed markets, live music and space for people to connect.
The new consultation follows initial engagement carried out in 2019, for the wider Northern Quarter walking and cycling scheme.
Local businesses and residents expressed strong support for pedestrianisation of Stevenson Square at that stage, a desire which needs to be balanced against feedback from all road users and the need for key public transport routes to be maintained, for the benefit of passengers.
Discussions will take place with bus companies, to support their important services.
Work on the Northern Quarter walking and cycling scheme, which will create a continuous walking and cycling route between Victoria and Piccadilly stations, is progressing at locations including Thomas Street, Dale Street and Ducie Street, with support from the Mayor of Greater Manchester’s Challenge Fund for walking and cycling.
Also opening for consultation this week are revised plans for the Withy Grove section of the Northern Quarter route.
In line with feedback from an initial round of consultation, changes have been made which will upgrade junction safety for people travelling on bikes and on foot in the Shudehill area, while seeking to minimise danger for these road users as they cross over Metrolink lines.
“During the pandemic and in line with government guidance, Stevenson Square has been transformed into a people-friendly, shared space without motorised traffic,” said Councillor Angeliki Stogia.
“Now we want to make sure that this square, which has so much potential, plays the fullest possible part in the future life of the city centre in a way which is in keeping with the unique character and edginess of the Northern Quarter.
“To help make this happen, we want you to tell us what features a future Stevenson Square needs, to ensure that it comes into its own as one of the most exciting places to be in our city centre as we recover from the pandemic.”
Greater Manchester’s Walking and Cycling Commissioner, Chris Boardman, said that having “more public spaces in Manchester city centre to socialise, shop, sit, relax, meet friends and hold events is integral to pandemic recovery and just makes for nicer places to be.
“The temporarily closed Stevenson Square is thriving as a space for people travelling on foot and by bike – I hope that as many people as possible get involved to tell us their views on what they want to see in future.”
The consultation, which is at manchester.gov.uk/consultations, will run until Friday 23rd April. Online engagement events will be held on Tuesday 13th and Wednesday 21 April (both 6.30 – 7.30pm).