Trial sites announced for better social distancing in town centres
Gloucestershire County Council has announced four locations where road layouts will change to make it easier to walk and cycle during the Covid-19 restrictions.
Following an announcement and guidance from the Government, Gloucestershire County Council is improving walking and cycling routes around the county to help people to socially distance during the Coronavirus pandemic.
Four initial sites have been chosen in Gloucester, Cheltenham, Tewkesbury and Bourton on the Water, aimed at supporting social distancing on busy pavements, allowing people to stay at least 2m away from others. Gloucestershire has a diverse mix of places which each have their own walking, cycling, driving challenges and these four trial areas will allow the council to look at different types of schemes which could be rolled out around the county.
Social distancing on public transport means only approximately one in every four seats on a bus can be used. Government guidance asks councils to help people who are taking up cycling as an alternative way to get around instead of using public transport at this time. The council will trial a range of measures to support this as well as continue to gather feedback from district council colleagues.
Within the next week, Bath Road in Cheltenham will see a “pop-up” scheme using water filled barriers to allow safe social distancing to take place near shopping areas. Gloucestershire will follow other places in England by giving on street parking road space to pedestrians. Disabled parking bays, loading bays, taxi ranks and bus stops will be unaffected.
Tewkesbury High Street will also convert some on street parking spaces to give pedestrians and queuing shoppers more space to stay apart and stay safe. Barriers and signs will be put up next week. All residents and businesses who will be affected have received letters with more information.
Cllr Nigel Moor, cabinet member for environment and planning, said, “I’m pleased to announce these changes so quickly, and I hope they will help keep residents safe from the virus by allowing them to socially distance. These sites are only the beginning of what we have planned; drawing in the passion and expertise from across the organisation and our partners to take this forward in a meaningful way.”
These improvements will encourage cycling and walking around the county, reducing car journeys and cutting congestion. The county council recognises that reducing the numbers of cars on the road is an important part of work to reduce carbon emissions and tackle the effects of climate change.
All changes as part of this scheme will need to meet the following criteria:
- Support strong social distancing
- Promote sustainable transport and travel
- Improve air quality
- Assist in economic recovery
- Are necessary and practical
More information will be available online