The first of a number of new measures planned in communities across South Gloucestershire to help pedestrians and cyclists move around whilst social distancing was put in to place in Filton yesterday (Thursday 28 May).
Transport habits have changed in light of the coronavirus pandemic and as lockdown restrictions are eased over the coming weeks, we want to make it as easy as possible for people to safely walk, cycle or access schools. We are looking at measures we can introduce to support more walking and cycling in and around our town centres and local communities and we also want to help kick start the economy by enabling easy and safe access to shops and businesses.
Our high streets will look and feel different as the lockdown is lifted over the weeks and months ahead. Shops, restaurants and cafes will need to trade outside immediately in front of their premises. We will need to provide extra space for people to get around safely and be able to maintain social distancing, whether on foot or by bike. There is only limited space available, so on-street road space for cars will need to reduce, however we will continue to maintain our network of council car parks and their associated free parking.
For this first scheme, part of the existing road space has been cordoned off to form a wider shared pedestrian and cycling lane, at a notorious pinch point on the A4174 in Filton, between the Abbeywood roundabout and Emma Chris Way. The pavement narrows under the railway bridge and without these new measures it would make social distancing very difficult if people were to pass each other there.
The wider lane has initially been installed using temporary traffic management and a robust barrier will be added next week.
Cllr Steve Reade, Cabinet Member for Planning, Transport and Strategic Environment, said: “This period of lockdown has given us a once in a lifetime opportunity to look at how we use our roads and pathways and how we can best adapt for changes in use as more people opt to get around by walking and cycling, adopting new travel and activity habits whilst being subject to social distancing.
“The change in Filton is the first of a range of measures we are looking to take to keep people safe, and because of the speed of their introduction they will be subject to regular constructive review.
“As a Council we have a strong ambition to increase walking and cycling across the district, with around £6 million already being invested on a range of initiatives and schemes – many of which stem from feedback and suggestions we receive from residents.
“We will look to announce additional schemes in due course.”
We have also been assisting schools in our area to reopen to pupils safely from 1 June by installing signs and spraying stencils to remind people of social distancing rules and to help manage vehicles at drop off and pick up times.
We are currently working on a number of potential schemes across South Gloucestershire and further details of these will be announced over the coming weeks once they are confirmed. These will help support our high streets, support the return to school, enable essential journeys to employment, and social distancing measures at public transport hubs and interchanges.
The funding for this work comes from central Government through the West of England Combined Authority (WECA).
We have also adapted our Local Transport Priority List (Assess and Decide) process for considering requests from residents. We welcome any useful suggestions from the public. If there are any interim measures we can implement to easily help people maintain social distancing we will put these in place as soon as possible. Visit www.southglos.gov.uk/local-transport-priority-list