Across West, London steps are being taken by Councils to deal with the impact of the retreat from the COVID-19 lockdown and its impact on our streets. Special measures have been drawn up and implemented to widen pathways and cycleways in many boroughs.
In Hounslow work on Cycleway 9 has been accelerated and the temporary suspension of parking in key areas has allowed for wider pedestrian access. Other proposals include “school streets” with timed resident-only access, the closure of roads at Dukes Meadows and Lionel Road South amending bus lane hours to 24/7. All of these proposals and more will be subject to a public consultation which ends on June 30th and the most achievable projects will be implemented by the end of the year.
Cllr Hanif Khan, Cabinet Member for Transport and Corporate Property, said: “The Council has a duty to ensure that people can get around the borough safely while following the Government’s strict social distancing guidelines to help reduce the spread of coronavirus.
“Temporarily suspending parking to provide more space for pedestrians at town centre sites, bringing forward sustainable transport schemes we have already approved, trialling projects at other areas where concerns about safety and through traffic have been raised previously, are all necessary to help keep people healthy and safe. There could well be varying forms of social distancing for many months to come, so it’s important we take action to best manage it. In some cases, these trial changes may also bring wider benefits, such as improved air quality, and some we may want to keep in place for the longer term.
“Many of these projects were already in train, but we know there will be lots of creative ideas out there on other things we could do. We’re really excited to start a borough-wide consultation with our diverse communities to encourage those ideas and we look forward to hearing from as many people as possible.”
In Richmond, temporary measures have been put place at key pinch points from Richmond through to East Twickenham, as part of plans to assist residents with safe distancing from one another as they go about essential journeys on foot and bicycle.
Richmond Bridge has an advisory one-way pedestrian flow on separate pavements across the bridge. Clear markings are visible on the path but a few residents have yet to understand the changes. Paths have been widened in Richmond Town centre and parking spaces have been suspended to allow more space for pedestrians to maintain social distancing.
The road outside Kew Gardens has seen the parking removed and a physical separation installed. This will lead from Richmond to join up with Cycleway 9.
Ealing Council is applying for funding to make temporary and permanent changes to their footpaths and roads to help with more greener travel options and maintain social distancing.
Councillor Bell of Ealing said: “Research by Transport for London shows that just a third of the car trips made by Londoners are for more than three miles. That means that two-thirds are under that distance.
“The lockdown measures have made us all rethink and change our habits, with many taking up more walking, jogging and cycling. It would be a real shame to go back to the levels of traffic congestion and air pollution we had pre-lockdown. So let’s keep up with the positive changes and reduce congestion, improve our health and clean up our air.”
Pavements in some of the busiest streets in Brent are to be temporarily widened to help residents stay safe and slow the spread of COVID-19 by social distancing.‘Pinch points’ have been identified for additional safety measures, which will see more than 760 metres of barriers put down around busy stretches of pavement to help protect the community.New signage, reminding people of the 2 metre rule, will support the police and enforcement officers who will be focusing on many of these hotspots. In some locations, bus stops may be temporarily moved and parking suspended to allow more space for walkers.These measures will be focused on stretches where the width of the pavement and foot traffic is most likely to make it difficult for people to stay two metres away from others.
Whilst Councils have been empowered with special measures many of the temporary steps have been implemented already. Which councils in addition to Hounslow will be brave enough to make them permanent?
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