The first of a number of new measures planned in communities across South Gloucestershire to help pedestrians and cyclists move around whilst practising social distancing was put into place in Filton yesterday (Thursday 28th May).
Transport habits have changed in light of the Covid-19 (coronavirus) pandemic and as lockdown restrictions are eased over the coming weeks South Gloucestershire Council says it want to make it as easy as possible for people to safely walk, cycle or access schools.
Consideration is being given to measures that can be introduced to support more walking and cycling in and around town centres and local communities.
The council also wants to help kick start the economy by enabling easy and safe access to shops and businesses.
A council spokesperson said:
“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 (leading to Filton railway station). 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.”
The council has also been assisting schools in our area to reopen to pupils safely from 1st 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.
It is 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.
The funding for this work comes from central government through the West of England Combined Authority.
Residents wishing to suggest further schemes that would help people maintain social distancing may do so via www.southglos.gov.uk/local-transport-priority-list
UPDATE (Tuesday 2nd June 2020)
Statement issued by South Gloucestershire Council at 12.10pm:
Following feedback from residents, businesses and road users, we are today removing the temporary measures put in place on the A4174 Station Road in Filton.
We have listened to comments about the trial measures, which were implemented to allow more space for cyclists and pedestrians as lockdown restrictions are eased and people start to return to work. We understand the concern around increased congestion and are removing the cordoned off road space between the Abbeywood roundabout and Emma Chris Way to a normal traffic lane.
Signs warning cyclists and pedestrians to take extra care along this section of the A4174 so they can remain two metres apart will be put up as soon as possible.
We are continuing to look at ways we can help people to safely walk, cycle or access school and welcome suggestions for your local area. Visit our website www.southglos.gov.uk/local-transport-priority-list