Madeira Drive is to reopen to vehicles early next week, with a new cycle lane being built soon after.
Cars will be able to drive the length of the road one way from the Palace Pier to Duke’s Mound.
For the moment, cyclists can use the existing cycle lane and have the option of cycling eastbound in the general traffic lane.
A new two-way 4m wide cycle lane is being constructed in the coming weeks, which will replace the existing cycle lane and free up more of the pavement for pedestrians.
Parking on the north of the road will be restored, with disabled parking on the south and some general spaces near Yellowave also opened.
The reopening comes almost exactly six months after the road was closed to all general traffic in April, to allow space for people to exercise at a safe distance from others while traffic levels were low.
Disabled drivers were allowed access to the road throughout the closure.
After traders along Madeira Drive complained that customers were finding it impossible to park nearby, the council allowed traffic to return to a short section by Duke’s Mound in the summer.
And last month, councillors agreed to reopen the whole stretch to one-way motorised traffic.
Chair of the Environment, Transport and Sustainability committee, Amy Heley said: “I’m pleased we have found an option that will allow everyone to travel in Madeira Drive safely while supporting our local businesses. This demonstrates our willingness to listen and adapt our plans to changing circumstances and needs of different users.
“I’m looking forward to seeing Madeira Drive as a space that can be continued to be enjoyed by all users. Cyclists will have use of a spacious and protected cycle lane; pedestrians can walk freely on the upper promenade and those who do need to use a vehicle will still be able to do so.
“I’m also pleased that there will be an increase in parking for Blue Badge holders.
“We are still in the middle of a pandemic, and there is an ongoing need to physically distance ourselves, but we also want everyone to enjoy safe and accessible travel around our city and to improve infrastructure for active travel.”
The work will be done in two phases. Phase one, which is currently underway and will be completed early next week, will mean:
Vehicles will be able to travel eastbound along the full length of Madeira Drive, exiting at Duke’s Mound. New lining and signage will assist drivers with the new layout
Cyclists can use the upper promenade cycle facility or cycle eastbound on the carriageway
All parking spaces on the north side of the carriageway will be available to motorists
Parking bays on the south side of the carriageway will be suspended, with the exception of spaces available to Blue Badge holders and close to Yellowave.
A second phase of work, due to be carried out in the coming weeks, will:
- Reallocate road space to Install a 4m wide protected cycle lane, to ensure the lane is wide enough for all types of bikes
- Increase the number of Blue Badge bays from 14 to 25
- Change the orientation of parking and Pay & Display spaces for easier use
- We will be working to minimise disruption during phase two of the scheme which may also be subject to some minor amendments and checks before implementation.
The changes have been made under an Experimental Traffic Order which means the scheme can be developed further if required.