Call to close Norwich streets to help cyclists and pedestrians get to work amid coronavirus
PUBLISHED: 10:52 12 May 2020 | UPDATED: 11:13 12 May 2020
The coronavirus pandemic has created a pressing need to make cycling and walking safer in Norwich, say campaigners who want to see pop-up cycle lanes and streets shut to traffic.
The government has announced a £2bn investment to make it easier for people to choose alternatives to public transport amid the need to socially distance as some people return to work.
They want councils to create pop-up bike lanes, with protected space for cycling, wider pavements, safer junctions, and cycle and bus-only corridors.
Fast-tracked statutory guidance is telling councils to reallocate roadspace for significantly-increased numbers of cyclists and pedestrians.
In towns and cities, some streets could become bike and bus-only, while others remain available for motorists.
More side streets could be closed to through traffic, to create low-traffic neighbourhoods and reduce rat-running while maintaining access for vehicles.
And Green Party city councillors say it is important, with people returning to work but prime minister urging people to “avoid public transport if at all possible”,
Ben Price, Green Party councillor for Thorpe Hamlet, said: “It is tremendously important that local councils ensure people who need to travel can do so safely.
“These necessary changes should be a priority for Norfolk and Norwich councils, so that we are ready to reopen as a city without undue risk.”
And Jamie Osborn, Green Party city councillor for Mancroft, said: “These measures will not only help keep people safe from coronavirus, they will also protect children from air pollution, which has been shown to increase the risk of coronavirus.
“In addition, making it easier to walk and cycle now will have benefits for tackling the climate emergency.”
Martin Wilby, cabinet member for highways and infrastructure at Norfolk County Council, said: “As we strive to become a greener city this comes as a most welcome announcement.
“Council officers are already working to identify walking and cycling schemes within our Transforming Cities proposals that could be brought forward for early delivery, as well looking at further schemes we could potentially deliver under this latest transport initiative.”
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