Highways plan for Commercial Street

Plans are being drawn up to introduce unrestricted vehicular access to Commercial Street – heralding an end to the long-running days of pedestrianisation in Lerwick town centre.

The proposals have been drafted by town planners, in conjunction with retailers and town centre organisations, following recent efforts to breathe new life into the street.

Commercial Street View
Under the controversial “Advanced Proposals for Regeneration In Lerwick 1” plans vehicles could be given free access to Commercial Street.

It follows talks last year aimed at introducing a 20mph speed limit in parts of the town together with traffic calming measures. However, there are no plans to reduce the speed limit beyond the statutory 30mph level, under the new proposals.

The plans follow moves by a group of like-minded late-night motorists who have formed to create a group aimed at ensuring visitors to the street are spared the tiresome need to walk any distance greater than five feet.

The mostly youthful band of brothers, who have displayed a propensity for loud music, reclined driver’s seats and baseball caps, have made representation to the council to help drive home their message.

So far, they have gained relative success, with councillors holding a rush meeting in the town hall yesterday to discuss the instant abolition of the controversial bollards, which have restricted vehicular access in recent times. It is understood the motorists’ love of loud music would also do away with the need for town centre retailers to pursue a recent suggestion to play piped music along the street.

Staff at the SIC’s planning department are hurriedly drawing up a street redesign. Details are limited at this stage, but it is understood the street’s well-known surface-level slabs will be ripped up in favour of a new through-road.

The restricted width of the access from Church Street means no pavements are being planned. They could, potentially, be introduced where the street widens at the front of The Shetland Times Bookshop, but a makeshift layby, or vehicular “pitt-stop” as one source put it, is being planned for there instead.

The Market Cross, meanwhile, is to feature a major redesign which will see it reinvented as a proper, bona fide, mini-roundabout. There is nothing to suggest it will have a “compass” installed on top of it.

At the other end of the street, the plans are understood to have met favourably with management at the Fort ChipShop. There, a special hatch is being incorporated as part of a major extension, to offer a drive-thru for passing motorists.

The eatery is understood to have employed a major public relations consultant to help deal with a massive influx of inquiries as the news emerges.

The proposals have met with controversy among some town centre sources. One said the loss of the pedestrianised zone “flew against the face” of the need to conserve the town’s old character. He said the growing focus for more sustainable, public transport, was being lost.

“I think it’s a disgraceful step in the wrong direction, beyond a joke,” he said, before being knocked over by a lime green Citroen Saxo with extra fat tyres.


Add Your Comment
  • Michael Garriock

    • April 1st, 2015 14:31

    There’s many a true word is spoken in jest.

  • Stuart Hannay

    • April 1st, 2015 14:47

    Thank goodness someone has seen sense at last. Perhaps our rural leisure centres could follow this lead and create more spaces just outside the front entrance to enable those going in to do exercise to save energy by not having to walk across the car park.

  • Ali Inkster

    • April 1st, 2015 14:52

    This makes sense it must be an April fools.

  • Lesley Turner

    • April 1st, 2015 15:05

    How many people will need to be run over before common sense prevails again?

  • Lesley Turner

    • April 1st, 2015 15:07

    Yes, ok, you got me. Fool that I am!!

  • Thomas Goodlad

    • April 1st, 2015 15:42

    Joking aside, what is the difference between driving through Tesco’s car park and Commercial Street.

    One is just as hazardous as the other for pedestrians !

  • stephen shirmer

    • April 1st, 2015 17:21

    Can we have vending machines selling beer on commercial street , this will definitely bring more people into town ! and more cars.

  • David Spence

    • April 1st, 2015 18:09

    Nothing would give me greater pleasure than shopping on the two lane street, quietly browsing the shops having bunch of NED’s creating a thumping noise of bass and rap-cr*p music blaring out to the pleasure and comfort to all the tourists trying their best to engage with the local business and/or having a lovely bowl of tattie soup with restit mutton lol

    I would also suggest that the Lerwick Port Authority, purely for aesthetic purposes, to reinstate the waterfront to where the sea was crashing up against the fort and surrounding coastline. This, I am sure, would make the street more scenic and could be, possibly, rebranded the Venice of the north? lol

  • clare green

    • April 1st, 2015 20:58

    Trouble is there will be those who will think it actually is a great idea……

  • Ali Inkster

    • April 1st, 2015 21:53

    Since the bollards were erected outside the Clydesdale bank there is now a daily procession of vans going the whole way through the street from the cross to the fort, What used to take 2 minutes can now take 45.
    As for pedestrianisation, it’s all fine and well on the few days a year that it’s not blowing a gale and chucking it down. Why does the council recognise the need for extra car parking at tesco so folks can use their cars to shop but at the same time restrict access to local shops? Evidence from south where the climate is a lot more conducive to wandering between shops, councils are opening up previously pedestrianised streets to try and attract back business. Should we really wait until the last few shops on da street go out of business before we learn our own lesson. Fantasies about street cafes and tourists sitting enjoying the sun at tables outside are just that fantasies, A few hardy souls and the occasional fine day do not make for a good business plan.

  • John N Hunter

    • April 2nd, 2015 11:31

    If Living Lerwick really wanted to bring life back to the street they need to get more parking. Every so called “improvement” to the street has reduced parking space and vehicular access. What about a multi storey car park at the old swimming car park?

  • Fraser cluness

    • April 2nd, 2015 12:00

    Perhaps if the owners of the cars that park everyday – all day in the short term parking space would not do that then people needing short term parking to ‘nip to the street’ wouldnt need to park on the street. These spaces are for short term customers who as i said are short in time and just need to nip to one or two shops and get out quickly too. Its about the time you have to shop not that your being lazy. Without naming and shaming you can see ther same cars parked near the Clysdale bank nearly every day, all day. Thats stopping up 5 or more shoppers getting to the street each car that hoggs a space all day, moving the problem of cars onto the street or around the cross. Not many things we as customers cant get elswhere so to be honest we dont realy need to go to the street at all, so anything that makes it easier or more pleseant should be used. Thats why they made spaces for short term shoppers, the days of spending a day shopping there have long gone.

  • Haydn Gear

    • September 9th, 2016 10:50

    Instead of all those boring jobs people do make EVERYBODY a traffic warden. They must all carry mobile music contraptions and wear basebal l caps. That should bring harmony to the islands.


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