Throughout the country and around the world, local authorities fear that citizens will avoid public transport as they emerge from lockdown, and take to their cars instead – causing big spikes in congestion and pollution. It appears that air pollution exacerbates the effects of the Coronavirus on those infected.
Here are some suggestions for North Yorkshire County Council (NYCC) and Harrogate Borough Council (HBC).
1) School streets
Close school streets to motor vehicles at the start and end of the school day. Locations could include Arthur’s Avenue, Green Lane, Oatlands Drive, Halstead Road, Gladstone Street and Beechwood Grove.
2) Temporary protection for existing cycle lanes
Add temporary cycle lane protection (e.g. planters as barriers). To free up space, streets could be made one-way. Suggested locations:
- Hookstone Road/Drive
- Oatlands Drive
3) New temporary protected cycle lanes
Create new temporary cycle lanes with protection (planters or similar as in 2 above). Suggested locations:
- Leadhall Lane
- Leeds Road/West Park/Parliament Street
- Knaresborough Road (including the missing link in the bike path immediately after High Bridge Knaresborough, and Starbeck to the Empress roundabout)
- Skipton Road between the Empress roundabout and New Park roundabout
- East Parade
- Victoria Avenue
4) Close some town centre roads to traffic
This could include James Street, Cambridge Road and Albert Street. Deliveries restricted to early morning/late afternoon.
5) One-way & parking restrictions
Making streets one-way and restricting parking to one side would make space for temporary cycle lanes. Suggested locations:
- Cold Bath Road
- Beech Grove
6) Filtered permeability
Stop through traffic on residential streets with bollards or planters, to make the places where we live much safer and more pleasant. Suggested locations:
- Leadhall Road/Green Way junction
- St James Drive/Stray Rein
- Tewitt Well Road/Langcliffe Avenue E
- St Hildas Road/Wayside Crescent
- Beech Road/Hookstone Avenue
- the Mallinson estate
- West End Avenue, Park Avenue, The Oval and Park Drive (see image below).
7) Parking on residential streets
Restrict parking to one side where possible.
A clear message from the councils that people should not park on pavements as this narrows them and makes social distancing impossible. Hookstone Avenue is one location where pavement parking is a problem.
(Overgrown hedges also narrow pavement width and residents should cut them in September after nesting season).
General 20mph speed limits in built-up areas.
9) Car-free weekends
Saturdays, Sundays and/or Car-Free Fridays.
10) Improved crossings
Make lights on crossings change to green for pedestrians as soon as the button is pushed. Add safe crossings of Oatlands Drive and Wetherby Road for people travelling along Slingsby Walk on foot and on bikes.
Request to councils
These are proposals we would like the councils to consider in a proactive, serious and urgent way.
When the councils have decided which measures they wish to take, they should commit to them and ensure their success with a campaign to explain why they are necessary; and they should urge people to make local journeys by active travel.
Statutory duty to give more space to active travel
Since these proposals were written, the Department for Transport has made an important announcement requiring councils to do many of the things we’re asking for.
On Saturday 9th May 2020, Secretary of State for Transport Grant Shapps announced the prioritisation of active travel as we emerge from lockdown and new Statutory Guidance was published.
The government…expects local authorities to make significant changes to their road layouts to give more space to cyclists and pedestrians. Such changes will help embed altered behaviours and demonstrate the positive effects of active travel…Measures should be taken as swiftly as possible.Grant Shapps, Secretary of State for Transport
Measures in the Statutory Guidance include:
- Installing pop-up cycle facilities with physical separation from traffic. ‘Lanes indicated by road markings only are very unlikely to be sufficient to deliver the level of change needed’
- Use cones and barriers to widen footways
- Encouraging walking and cycling to school through ‘school streets’
- 20mph speed limits
- pedestrian and cycle zones on specific streets
- modal filters (filtered permeability)