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Frequently asked questions about the Kingsway

Find out answers to the most common questions we get asked about the Kingsway.

Why are these roads being changed?

It's part of a wider scheme to improve how the city centre looks and functions. The changes form part of a wider plan to regenerate Swansea city centre. They are a critical element of the Swansea Bay City Deal proposals which will lead to the creation of jobs within a Kingsway digital village, based around the site of the former Oceana nightclub. The digital village development will feature incubation spaces for start-up/small businesses working in the ICT, tech and creative industry sectors. Before doing this we're changing how the street looks and works; this is helping to attract new investment.

The changes include not only The Kingsway but Alexandra Road, Orchard Street and adjoining streets. The changes will enable two way-traffic to be introduced around the city centre within a much greener city centre that's more friendly to pedestrians and cyclists. 

Why improve The Kingsway?

Times change. The UK - including Swansea - is in the middle of a retail revolution - most of us are choosing to spend our money differently to how we did in the past. The new-look Kingsway is attracting people with its expansive green and welcoming areas. This is benefiting existing established businesses such as Vogue Interiors, Moda Collections and Shaws the Drapers, creating more passing trade and encouraging new businesses to locate in The Kingsway. 

In short, it's creating an improved city centre destination. The Kingsway is open for business and its improved look is attracting new visitors. Workers and those living in the city centre can enjoy new green spaces and spend money there. We see the money spent on The Kingsway as a wise investment in our city's future.

When will this project be complete?

We aim to finish most of it, and certainly The Kingsway itself, in the second half of 2020. The majority of the work on neighbouring roads is likely to be finished around the same time.

Will The Kingsway's new road be suitable for all traffic?

Yes. The Kingsway, Orchard Street, Alexandra Road, Mansel Street, Christina Street, Belle Vue Way will become two-way. On The Kingsway there will be two lanes of traffic between Christina Street and Belle Vue Way. There will be two lanes on The Kingsway, one in each direction. It's wide enough to accommodate everyday private vehicles, public transport and other commercial vehicles. Council planners, highway engineers, landscape architects and external design consultants have worked together to design a scheme which reflects the view of the community who were consulted. 

The Kingsway road width between kerbs is 6m.  This complies with Department for Transport design guidance for bus routes and heavy goods vehicles. It is typical of many other Swansea streets.

What about those who think the Kingsway road is too narrow?

The lanes are wide enough for two passing vehicles and will remain so when the road is switched to two-way traffic. The lanes are accessible and acceptable for the route's 20mph limit. They're the same width as many others in Swansea, including West Way near the Grand Theatre. 

That's easy to say - but where's the proof?

The improvement scheme has successfully undergone two road safety audits by independent specialists, including South Wales Police representatives. The planning of the improvements included consultation with bus companies, haulage firms and other professional road users. Expert design specialists were consulted. The new Kingsway is fully compliant with highway standards. It's 6m wide and this is in line with Department for Transport design guidance for bus routes and heavy goods vehicles. The road has been used safely by tens of thousands of vehicles of all shapes and sizes - and by many thousands of pedestrians and cyclists.

Why have you chosen zebra crossings in some locations rather than other options available along The Kingsway?

Zebra crossings, each marked by flashing Belisha beacons, have been chosen in locations which do not double up as a road junction; pedestrians have greater priority over vehicles enabling them to cross the road much more easily. At junction locations, where there is a need to get a sensible number of vehicles through so as not to create too much congestion and to maintain safe pedestrian movements, controlled crossings have been maintained.  

Zebra crossings give pedestrians priority, meaning that they can cross the road more quickly without having to wait for a green man to appear. However, pedestrians should wait at the kerb edge until vehicles stop before crossing. Similarly road users do not have to wait until a light turns from red to green, and can continue travel once the pedestrians have safely used the crossing.  

The Highway Code states that motorists and cyclists on the road must:

  • look out for pedestrians waiting to cross and be ready to slow down or stop to let them cross
  • give way when a pedestrian has moved onto a crossing
  • allow more time for stopping on wet or icy roads
  • not wave or use the horn to invite pedestrians across; this could be dangerous if another vehicle is approaching
  • be aware of pedestrians approaching from the side of the crossing.

In the early days of the new zebras the council arranged for additional warning signage near the crossings, issued reminders on social media and mentioned them in press releases.

Zebra crossings operate well on other Swansea roads, including the city centre's West Way, Wind Street and The Strand. They have been on Britain's roads since the 1930s.

Please take care when using The Kingsway and other roads whether you are a motorist, cyclist or pedestrian. The Kingsway's speed limit is - and will remain - 20mph.

What direction will traffic move in when the scheme's complete?

A two-way system will replace the existing one-way arrangement on The Kingsway, Orchard Street, Alexandra Road, Belle Vue Way, Grove Place, De La Beche Street, Mansel Street and Christina Street. Cradock Street will stay one-way, but will run from south to north, opposite from the direction before the change takes place.  On Orchard Street and The Kingsway, each street will have one lane running in each direction along most of its length. This will be a significant change, especially for The Kingsway which previously had four lanes of traffic.

The space gained from the reduction in road space is allowing for more public space with improved pedestrian and cycling routes, green landscaping, and a new "pocket" park at The Kingsway Circle.

Will The Kingsway remain open as a through-road?

Yes. The Kingsway will remain open as a through road, however we would encourage this to be used for local traffic only. For example, if you are travelling to the city centre from High Street direction then you would use The Kingsway. However, if you wished to avoid the city centre we'd encourage you to go via Princess Way to Oystermouth Road/Mumbles Road. Although you could use The Kingsway, using the alternate route will help reduce congestion and pollution on The Kingsway. The Mansel Street corridor offers a direct route for motorists heading in the Uplands direction.

Can I park my car on The Kingsway itself?

No. But you'll still be able to access the NCP multi-storeys on Kingsway and Orchard Street, and smaller car parks near Marks and Spencer and nearby in Park Street, the latter being blue-badge only. There won't be any on-street parking on The Kingsway, with the exception of legitimate loading. There will be clear road markings and signage to enable that this is strictly enforced at all times. There will be improvements to on-street parking spaces on Cradock Street which is home to retailers such as The Light Company and Moustache, a stone's throw from main shopping centre. 

City centre car parks

What's the point of making roads such as Alexandra Road and Mansel Street two-way again?

This will make it more straightforward for motorists travelling from an area such as High Street Station towards Uplands and beyond. It will also cut the amount of traffic using The Kingsway, reducing congestion and pollution. This will help make that road a much more welcoming environment for pedestrians and cyclists. It will make it more attractive for investors and will become a much nicer place to live and work. 

Are the new traffic lanes wide enough along The Kingsway and Orchard Street?

Yes! The new roadway is wide enough for two passing vehicles. The lanes are highly accessible and perfectly acceptable for the route's 20mph limit. The roadway is fully compliant with highway standards.
The lanes are designed to be of a width that will help limit speeds to 20mph. They are the same width as many others in Swansea, including West Way near the Grand Theatre. 

Is it enough to have only two traffic lanes along The Kingsway and Orchard Street?

Yes. This scheme also brings changes to the Mansel Street/Alexandra Road corridor which will become two-way. That will mean that traffic heading from the railway station area towards Uplands and Sketty need not use The Kingsway; this will mean less traffic using the new two-way Kingsway and Orchard Street.


Cycling

How can cyclists use the new-look Kingsway?

They're free to use the road - which is 20mph all along - but can also use the large shared route next to the kerbline on the northern side. This is designed as a broad pedestrian area and occupies the former carriageways on the sunnier side of the street. As it's a shared space - pedestrians and cyclists - we ask for a "share with care" approach by all, rather as it is on the walkway between the Civic Centre and the LC, on the Clyne Valley cycle path and at other locations. It is important to note that the footways right next to the buildings on both sides of the street are for pedestrians only.


Biodiversity 

How will you ensure the area doesn't look like a concrete jungle?

There's lots of green space and trees. More than 170 new trees are being introduced as part of this £12m makeover - they've transformed the look and feel of the area. It's one of Swansea city centre's biggest ever tree-planting operations. The project is doubling the number of trees in this area of the city centre, is adding large grassy areas and is getting lots of plants and shrubbery. The planting scheme will benefit Orchard Street, Mansel Street, Christina Street, Grove Place, The Kingsway, Alexandra Road, Belle Vue Way and De La Beche Street. In the project area, there were 110 trees at the start of the transformation. We're planting more then 170, with 53 of the original ones remaining, 57 are being removed as they were either and/or diseased, causing surface damage risking trips and falls, originally planted too close to buildings which could have led to undermining building foundations and also blocked light from properties. A small number were removed as they were located too close to the roadways which could have led to vehicle damage and third party injury. By the end of the programme there'll be around 220 trees - an increase of 100%. One of the council's priorities is to protect and enhance Swansea's environment for future generations and building new green infrastructure into our projects is a high priority when the council makes decisions.

Tree planting programme on the Kingsway


Business

How do we know that the new-look Kingsway will be good for business?

The emphasis of the new-style Kingsway is on creating the look and feel of the area. Improving the setting of places can attract more footfall and encourage people to stay longer; this brings a greater opportunity for local businesses to benefit from visitors buying local goods and services on The Kingsway and adjacent streets such as Cradock Street, Union Street, Portland Street, Park Street and the Picton Arcade. These streets already offer a wealth of goods and services.  

The new-look streets have been designed with improved dedicated footways along each side to provide good access for users of all abilities. The shared cycle/pedestrian footway is great for leisure cyclists and families, whilst the new green spaces provide quality spaces for those living and working in the area to sit and enjoy a takeaway lunch from one of the many local quality food outlets.  Some hard spaces have been created for cafes/restaurants such as The Dragon Hotel to provide outdoor seating to enjoy the sunnier side of the street. All this brings vibrancy and a feel good feeling to the street which can only be positive for local business.

There are two inbound bus stop bays on the new Kingsway. This enables city centre visitors to pass through Kingsway first rather than having to wait to get off at the bus station. Business has ease of loading with on-street loading bays for use by commercial premises only. There is parking very close by - on-street and in NCP multi-storeys on Orchard Street and The Kingsway, and ground-level car parks near Marks and Spencer and in Park Street. The latter is for blue badge holders only.  

As it is right now, the private sector is already offering a good range of services on and around the Kingsway. They include Vogue Interiors, Moda Collections, Shaws the Drapers, Specsavers, Andrew Price, Tilleys, Nationwide, Halifax, The Hanbury, The Potter's Wheel, The Bunkhouse, Adecco, The Dragon Hotel, The Optic Shop and others. The feel-good factor is encouraging a lot of interest in the street already with many rundown or vacant buildings benefiting from investment. This is adding further diversity and range of offer to the street and adjacent roads.


Students

Why is it important to have new student accommodation in the city centre?

Students bring new life, ideas and entrepreneurialism. They also bring spending power which, in turn, will encourage businesses to invest and set up. Some Swansea students may be business-minded and choose to stay and invest their money in the city, and even take space in the proposed digital village which has planning permission to be developed as 71 and 72 Kingsway on the former Oceana nightclub site. 

What's the large student accommodation building going up at the Kingsway junction with Christina Street?

This development, known as Coppergate, offers accommodation for 310 students. Public transport connections are strong for both the city's universities - and students have easy access to city centre shops, attractions and other services. The development reflects a changing UK pattern in university life towards purpose-built student accommodation. Locally, it also reflects a significant growth in student numbers in Swansea along with the council's aims to increase city centre living opportunities in order to enhance the city centre's vitality and viability. Recent research suggested that the economic impact of the higher education sector in Swansea is more than £600m a year.

www.primestudentliving.com/swansea/


The former Oceana site

What's happening at the site of the former Oceana nightclub?

There's a great plan for it - a block of new-style office space for growing tech businesses and entrepreneurs. It's a sector already starting to flourish in Swansea (TechHub Swansea) and there's significant demand for work space targeted at the emerging new-style digital businesses which benefit from being located together in collaborative working areas. The Oceana site will bring entrepreneurial young professionals into the city centre, people with spending power. The project's working title is the Digital Village, also known as 71 and 72 Kingsway. It has planning permission.


Future work

When will these roads be dug up again?

We have no plans to make further changes. To avoid large scale excavation in future, new ducting has been laid to cater for potential extension of fibre networks which deliver super high-speed internet services. This will complement recent investment in fibre by Openreach. We have worked closely with utility providers such as Openreach, Wales and West Utilities and Dŵr Cymru Welsh Water to ensure that any planned work has been carried out during the project period. This joint working with Openreach has already brought benefits by investing in its infrastructure with fibre upgrades to provide super high speed broadband, and BT's new InLink units which provide free phone calls, internet services and mobile device charging should you be caught short of power when out and about! Of course, despite our best endeavours we can't guarantee that further investment and future new connections won't require some future interventions.

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