Highway measures to support social distancing during recovery
Published Friday, 12 June 2020
High streets across the borough are getting ready to welcome residents and visitors back as more and more shops and business prepare to re-open as rules allow.
Residents are being encouraged to support their high street and local businesses, particularly those businesses which are local and special to our communities as they help make high streets the vibrant centres of our communities, welcoming to all.
A series of measures, including ‘keep your distance’ signs in town centres, are being installed to support the local recovery phase as high street shops re-open. Our summer planting programme is just concluding, and soon you will see the colours of summer across our borough and though our high streets.
The work across the borough is designed to support residents and businesses with a safe return to work, shops, leisure and schools, by helping them use alternatives to public transport and maintain social distancing whilst travelling, visiting town centres and schools.
“The need for social distancing is widely understood and supported but in places where lots of people will pass through, in busy high street areas for example, then we are installing signage to remind pedestrians of the importance of this message. We have also been looking at practical, physical measures which we might install, such as some widened footways. Whilst the installation of signage is coming forwards relatively quickly, the engineering schemes will take longer to install” said Councillor William Huntington-Thresher.
Councillor Huntington-Thresher added, “We all have a part to play here and we have been liaising with the town centre BID companies and the Business Task Force to share our plans. As businesses carry out their own plans, we know they are working with each other, which is fantastic and needed, especially where queues will form outside their premises. We will all need to be patient and considerate as we travel around the borough and wider with more frequency, be that walking, cycling, riding or driving.”
Measures to help with social distancing in the borough will include:
- Providing additional space for people to access goods, services and public transport while socially distancing; this includes space for queuing at shops, stations and bus stops and for those passing these queues on foot. Additional crossing points or space around crossing points may also be required.
- Helping schools in respect to social distancing on the streets in their vicinity.
- Enabling people to walk or cycle to town centres and stations, or even into central London, by linking temporary to permanent cycle networks, by providing cycle parking, and maximising space for those walking whilst minimising impact on protected groups.
- Supporting businesses in the town centres by maintaining local delivery and servicing.
- Support the requirements of buses and freight; in particular service disruption or ‘bunching’ on the bus network can lead to high volumes of waiting passengers on the pavement at busy bus-to-rail interchanges, even with fewer passengers on each bus.
The initial work is being funded using the £295k government grant given to local authorities to help town centres return to trading safely.
Editor’s notes: The news follows the agreement of the Environment and Community Services PDS meeting earlier this week on Monday, with the report outlining detailed proposals.
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