As the country moves into the
“recovery” phase of the Covid-19 crisis, there is a
very strong feeling that there have been substantial environmental
benefits as a result of lockdown giving rise to less traffic
movements and that plans should be put in place to introduce
measures to increase pedestrian and cycle trips.
Statutory guidance has been issued by central government which requires Highway authorities to consider measures to increase road space for pedestrians and cyclists.
As a result DCC are considering a series of temporary measures to support social distancing for walkers and cyclists in Barnstaple aimed at reprioritising roadspace to support alternative travel options, public safety and social distancing in the town centre as a busy regional hub.
Current proposals are:
• Temporary pedestrianisation of The Strand, Cross Street, Butchers Row, Lower Boutport Street and part of Queen Street between 10am and 4pm as shown on the attached plan.
• Measures on Longbridge A3125 in Barnstaple in order to improve the footpath and cyclepath provision. The preferred option is the option A – total vehicular closure of the A3125 Longbridge.
• Installation of cycle racks in town and at outlying business parks
Rationale for proposals:
• The Department for Transport has clarified that local authorities have the powers to reallocate road space, instigate local road closures, temporary cycle lanes or expand the footway to provide more space for cycling and walking.
• The proposals are part of the measures required to ensure social distancing guidance can be adhered to.
• The pedestrianisation of Cross Street / Butchers Row has been consulted on during the development of the Barnstaple vision and is included in the Future High Streets Fund business case. The proposal is a slight extension of the scheme which makes sense under the new guidance.
• If implemented establishments along Butchers Row could potentially put tables and chairs out in the loading bays, increasing their ability to trade whilst still practicing social distancing. (relaxation of enforcement by DCC and NDC would be required).
• Once the market re-opens it will do so with the new arrangements in place making changes easier.
• The Longbridge was identified as a critical local road corridor and pinchpoint for urban travel. This impact will also be exacerbated by the emergency closure of the old iron bridge cycle crossing, which will mean diverting more cycling and walking trips via Rock Park and the Long Bridge. Vehicle / pedestrian conflict is an identified issue on the Longbridge. The new temporary measures therefore provide an opportunity to test some solutions to the problem.
The issue is urgent as the High street is anticipated to open on the 1st June and DCC are working to a timetable of implementation to coincide with this.
The Council has received funding of £86k to be used for the re-opening of our town centres and so some funding will be required for signage etc.
Decision type: Non-key
Decision status: Recommendations Approved
Notice of proposed decision first published: 25/06/2020
Decision due: 20 May 2020 by Chief Executive
Contact: Ken Miles, Chief Executive Email: email@example.com.