Middlesbrough Town Centre Connectivity

Closing Date: 16th August 2024

Location: Middlesbrough

Travel

Buses are often delayed in Middlesbrough town centre causing unreliable and longer journeys. Walkers, wheelers, and cyclists also face challenges, particularly travelling from Middlehaven in the north to Middlesbrough Town Centre due to the barriers created by the A66 and railway line. We want your ideas for making bus, walking, wheeling, and cycling journeys easier in the town centre, and improving safety. This could include moving bus stops, improving signage, and delivering dedicated spaces for people walking, wheeling, and cycling.

For an enlarged version of the map, please click here.

Middlesbrough Town Centre is the bustling heart of the town. It offers a vibrant range of opportunities to socialise, shop, work, study, and unwind. With its variety of shops, cafes, and businesses there are many reasons to visit. The railway station and bus station are centrally located. Education is also a key part of Middlesbrough Town Centre with institutions including Middlesbrough College, Teesside University, and the Northern School of Art attracting students from across the region. The area is a mix of the town’s history, such as, the Town Hall and views of the renowned Transporter Bridge alongside newer developments.

Middlesbrough town centre is already being transformed with investment to ensure it meets the needs of local people, businesses, and visitors. Recent improvements include the Captain Cook Square Leisure Hub and enhancements to the historic quarter around the rail station. Further investment is planned through the Towns Fund. This regeneration will increase visitor numbers, attract businesses to the area and drive economic growth.

More plans for Middlesbrough’s growth are underway through the Middlesbrough Development Corporation aimed at revitalising the town centre, Middlehaven and the Zetland Historic quarter. To tie these areas together, transport will play a key role to unlocking opportunities in places like the Boho zone, Middlesbrough Station, the Northern School of Art, Centre Square and Teesside University.

We think that there are opportunities to make journeys in Middlesbrough easier and more enjoyable, and empower more people to take the bus, walk, wheel or cycle, especially for shorter trips.

Current Transport Issues

Lots of people live, work and study in the town centre, and we know that buses can be held up when travelling through which causes longer and less reliable bus journeys. It can also be difficult to make onward connections between bus travel and the rail station. Walking, wheeling, and cycling links are also not as integrated as they could be. There are issues with getting from Middlehaven in the north to the town centre south as the A66 and the railway lines create barriers with limited crossing points. We want to improve bus, walking, wheeling, and cycling journeys to connect these areas better and to give people more choice in how they want to travel.

We have identified the following issues in and around the town centre:

  • Buses are often delayed travelling through the town centre which affects journey time, punctuality, and reliability. Delays in Middlesbrough can result in onward reliability issues for bus services travelling through to Redcar, Stockton, Hartlepool and Darlington which impacts many more people across Tees Valley.
  • Lots of people getting on and off at the bus stops can slow buses down, causing delays. At times, there is also overcrowding for people waiting at the bus stops, creating safety issues.
  • Passengers cannot easily change between bus and rail journeys.
  • The elevated A66 and railway line create barriers for those wanting to walk, wheel and cycle from Middlehaven to the north through the town centre.

We want to deliver improvements to help improve bus, walking, wheeling, and cycling journeys in and around the town centre and make these more attractive ways to travel for more people.

Opportunities

Here are some opportunities that may help address the issues in this area:

  • There is an opportunity to think about bus routing in the town centre to improve peoples’ journeys.
  • Consider moving bus stop locations, to make them more accessible for residents, students, workers, and leisure users.
  • Review and improve how people can easily interchange between bus and rail travel.
  • Consider introducing “super stops” which are combined bus stops with improved facilities and waiting environment where there is most demand.
  • We could look to improve bus stops to make them nicer to wait at and provide real time information at key locations to ensure passengers are informed of delays.
  • Introduce cycle priority measures such as cycle lanes and cycle crossings.
  • Improve road crossings for pedestrians including safer crossings and formalising crossings.
  • Improve paths for walking, wheeling, and cycling to make it easier to travel through and across the town centre.
  • Use lighting and planting to make walking and wheeling through the Town Centre feel a safer and more pleasant experience.

Other types of transport opportunities could include:

  • Introduce measures to give buses priority over other vehicles, such as dedicated bus lanes, traffic light systems that give buses priority at junctions and queue jump lanes.
  • Improve the layout of junctions and roads.
  • Implement intelligent traffic management systems to reduce overall congestion and improve traffic flow.
  • Improving road safety with traffic calming or reducing speed limits.
Benefits

These may offer the following benefits:

  • Reduced town centre congestion.
  • Faster and more reliable bus journeys, not just in Middlesbrough but across Tees Valley.
  • Improved bus stops including better information for passengers.
  • Buses can bypass waiting traffic, so they can move ahead more quickly resulting in more reliable journey times.
  • Buses could move through junctions more efficiently and red-light waiting times could reduce.
  • Reduced congestion and queuing could result in more reliable journeys for all vehicles.
  • Safer, joined up and more attractive walking, wheeling, and cycling paths including wider paths, segregation from vehicles and new foot paths, cycle paths or shared space.
  • Safer walking, wheeling, and cycling crossings.
Impacts

We recognise that there may be some impacts, these could include:

  • Some bus stops may be moved.
  • Signage would be installed to make sure the new bus stop locations are clear.
  • Bus stops would be improved for waiting passengers by providing better information and shelters.
  • Vehicles may need to give way to buses.
  • Existing grass verges may need to be reduced.
  • We may need to review the existing on-street parking.
  • Cars and other vehicles may have to wait slightly longer at traffic lights or junctions.
  • May reduce available space for other road users.

Have your say on Middlesbrough Town Centre Connectivity

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Timeline

Stage 1 - Sharing ambitions and vision for transport improvements across Tees Valley. Summer 2023
Stage 2 - Public engagement looking at key issues and opportunities around potential transport solutions. Summer 2024
Stage 3 - Specific consultations after transport plans are further developed with public feedback taken onboard.

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