Following two years of enthusiastic public calls for permanent pedestrianisation after the Northern Quarter thoroughfare was turned into a temporary plaza during the pandemic, Stevenson Square is set to become largely closed to traffic in favour of its immensely popular current layout, which has grown the area’s reputation as Manchester’s coolest outdoor space for social dining.

Providing ample outdoor seating for some of the city’s best bars and restaurants and increasing footfall in neighbouring independent shops, future plans for Stevenson Square come in response to the ‘incredibly positive’ results of the initial change, which the council acknowledge ‘signal a shift in how people want to interact and engage’ with Manchester city centre.

While Lever Street will remain open for buses and Hackney carriages in recognition of the need to balance access between pedestrians and public transport, the new blueprint aims close off around three-quarters of the square to vehicles. In addition, the plans include a removal of pay-and-displays, relocation of loading bays, the installation of a two-way cycle lane and widened footpaths to prioritise pedestrians.

Councillor Tracey Rawlins, Executive Member for Environment and Transport, said:

“We are pleased that the vast majority of the space in the square has been preserved for pedestrians and cyclists, and we will be working with businesses to ensure they can maximise the benefits of these changes.

“For the Council our bigger picture is being at the forefront of a switch towards walking and cycling in the city centre and turning places like Stevenson Square into vibrant and economically strong neighbourhoods.”

Check out the Manchester City Council website for a full breakdown of the scheme.

Wolf McFarlane
Published on:
Wed 27 Jul 2022