Active travel to aid social distancing
Additional pavement widening, new plans for temporary cycle routes, and the creation of low traffic neighbourhoods, are all part of Haringey Council’s funding bids to Transport for London (TfL) to aid social distancing.
Work around widening ‘pavement pinch-points’ was initially rolled out on 1 May in response to the growing need for adequate social distancing in the borough’s busier hotspots, including in town centres. The first two phases of the work saw nearly 20 sites widened and the removal of some on-street parking.
The council is now bidding for funding to support similar permanent and non-permanent measures and is also keen to support local businesses to re-open by enabling safe social distancing for residents visiting them and providing space for them to effectively trade and operate.
The council also recognises the need for emergency cycle infrastructure and is putting together plans for emergency cycle route improvements, to be funded the Department for Transport’s emergency active travel fund (external link).
As people begin to return to work, a rise in the number of people using public transport is expected. However, Transport for London (external link) is advising that London’s public transport could potentially only run at a fifth of pre-crisis levels to support social distancing.
In response to this, the council has been working on proposals to give people safe alternatives to travel around the borough through ‘active travel’ such as walking and cycling.
As part of this, the council is working on funding bids for improvements to Cycle Superhighway 1 (CS1) (external link) and to accelerate the work being done on the planned Cycle Future Route 2 – which will run from Tottenham Hale to Camden, at least with temporary measures.
East-west and north-south temporary routes are also being worked on, including Quietway 10 which would ultimately run from Bowes Park to Farringdon. The council is also bidding for new money to install new cycle parking across the borough.
Funding bids for new ‘low traffic neighbourhoods’ are also being prepared by the council in Tottenham and the Green Lanes / St Ann’s area, to reduce ‘rat-running’ – using measures such as planters, bollards, barriers and signs to discourage car use and encourage walking and cycling. The council is also bidding for speed management measures and looking at reductions of speed limits to 20mph.
Haringey’s School Streets programme is also being reviewed in response to the need for social distancing and the council is working with schools to establish what measures need to be in place to enable re-opening.
The council will be bidding for funds to deliver these measures through TfL’s Streetspace programme (external link) and, if successful, will implement them as quickly as possible over the summer.
This work will run alongside the council’s newly launched Commonplace Map (external link) – an interactive map that will allow residents and business owners to identify cycle routes and low traffic neighbourhoods to assist social distancing in the borough. Residents can also email suggestions to: firstname.lastname@example.org
Supporting active travel is a long term ambition of the council, as laid out in its Borough Plan and Transport Strategy. This work will also support wider initiatives to improve air quality and support the health of residents as per the council’s Climate Change Action Plan.
Cllr Hearn, Cabinet Member for Climate Change and Sustainability at Haringey Council, said:
As people return to work, even a 10% increase in car use could cause gridlock across London, and for many, using public transport will be difficult, owing to reduced capacity to ensure social distancing.
That is why we are working in partnership with TfL to provide more active travel options through temporary walking and cycling facilities in Haringey as part of a funding bid. This will help Haringey residents travel, whilst ensuring that the necessary social distancing measures are in place.
We will also aim to bring forward east to west and north to south cycling routes, so that more residents can be confident that cycling is a safe, clean and efficient way to get around and have also identified low traffic neighbourhoods to discourage use of cars.
I want to sincerely thank those residents for the time and effort they have put into detailed and thoughtful suggestions of how to respond to this pandemic. We appreciate how much this matters to the community and how important it is that we have safe, socially distant, green travel to prevent our roads being overrun with cars.
We recognise the urgency of this work. We have considered all suggestions for our immediate and longer-term plans for a better Haringey and these have helped inform our approach.
Cllr Chandwani, Cabinet Member for Neighbourhoods in Haringey Council, said:
Coronavirus has changed the way our high streets are operating. Retailers are rightly adhering to social distancing guidelines, but this is leading to queues outside which are reducing pavement space and creating ‘pavement pinch-points’.
We have listened to concerns from residents and where possible and safe to do so, we are temporarily extending pavement spaces outside shops to enable people to walk safely down our high streets.
We have widened almost 20 ‘pavement pinch-points’ around the borough. Our dedicated highways team is continually assessing our high streets and various spaces to identify new areas that may also require adjustment during this time. We look forward to working with TfL, as part of the funding bid, to further support social distancing.
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