The way roads and streets across the Bradford District are used is set to change as Bradford Council prepares to introduce measures to support social distancing during the coronavirus crisis.
Like many cities around the world dealing with lockdown and planning for a post-Covid-19 world the Council has been looking at a range of proposals including temporarily widening pavements and cycle lanes to help people maintain two metres social distance as they shop, walk or cycle around the district, improving crossings for pedestrians, and reducing bottlenecks and slowing vehicle speeds to make the roads safer for cyclists and walkers.
Over the next couple of weeks a first round of measures will be introduced as part of the Council’s response to this challenge:
Provide social distancing measures on The Grove in Ilkley to help shoppers access local businesses.
Widening the footway under the railway bridge at Wheatley Lane in Ilkley.
Suspending, initially for 12 months, the £300 charge for an outdoor seating licence for pubs and restaurants.
Widening of non-segregated cycle lanes on roads.
Reducing speed limits in Shipley town centre and on roads near schools to 20mph to help children walk safely to school (June 2020).
Putting down temporary markings on widened pavements to help people queuing to access local shops and businesses maintain appropriate distance from others in the queue.
Reducing Hall Ings in the city centre to one lane in both directions from Jacobs Well roundabout to Bridge Street to help passengers wait safely for their buses.
Pedestrian crossings at Princes Way and Bridge Street in the city centre have been modified to automatically provide a ‘green man’ crossing signal without the need for people to push the call button. Other crossings are being considered for similar modifications although all pedestrian crossings in Bradford are fitted with detectors which automatically extend the time given for pedestrians to cross the road, which will help with observing social distancing.
Working in partnership with Capital of Cycling to loan bicycles to key workers and hiring a ‘Cycling and Active Travel Champion’ officer.
These initial measures are likely to be followed by additional ideas to help maintain and increase levels of walking and cycling when the lockdown eases. The Council is working with West Yorkshire Combined Authority and local interest groups to develop these plans.
Cllr Alex Ross-Shaw, Portfolio Holder for Regeneration, Planning &Transport, said:
“We don't know how long social distancing will be necessary but we do know that in some locations there isn’t enough space to maintain the recommended two-metre distance. People must be able to walk and cycle safely, whether it's to get to work, for exercise or essential trips to the shops.
“Some of the immediate measures we are announcing today are temporary but where appropriate may become permanent. They will not only help us to emerge stronger out of lockdown but they will also demonstrate the ways in which prioritising sustainable transport, where possible, can contribute to improving the health of our citizens and reducing the district’s carbon footprint in the years to come, in line with our Climate Emergency pledge. People are seeing the benefits of a less car dominated society during lockdown and we want to encourage that.
“We will also be pressing the Government for a Covid-19 response fund to help councils such as Bradford implement these types of measures, as well as asking for a further relaxation of the processes required to promote temporary and permanent Traffic Regulation Orders.
“We will also call on the Department for Transport to provide guidance on sign and road marking designs which can be used on the roads to help maintain social distancing measures, together with granting authorities outside London appropriate enforcement powers to maintain measures and deal with people who do not comply with these new arrangements.”
The Council and its partners are working on a range of projects to support sustainable transport, such as its 20mph zone roll-out. Ilkley town centre has been surveyed and £140,000 was included in the Council’s February 2020 budget to accelerate the roll-out of 20mph zones around schools