Busiest Roads Could be Set for Safety Changes
Newcastle’s busiest roads could be set for safety changes during coronavirus lockdown. Council bosses have confirmed that they are considering temporary changes to give more space to pedestrians and cyclists, helping people maintain social distancing while exercising.
More space on Newcastle’s roads could be given to pedestrians and cyclists, in a bid to improve safety and help people stick to social distancing rules during the coronavirus lockdown.
Transport bosses have confirmed that they are looking at major changes to the city’s highways during the pandemic crisis.
Environmental campaigners have called on Newcastle to follow the lead of other cities around the world in lowering speed limits, shutting residential streets to cars, and creating extra room for pavements and bike lanes.
It is hoped that the measures could make it safer and easier for people to exercise during lockdown, while also helping NHS staff and other key workers who do not drive.
Tay Pitman, of Newcastle’s Green Party, said that sticking to two-metre social distancing on many pavements often means pedestrians are forced to walk in the middle of the road and that some drivers “wrongly see emptier roads as a chance to speed”.
She added: “Councils can use traffic cones and temporary barriers to widen pavements or create segregated cycle lanes, or put in temporary lower speed limits or traffic lights – similar to when there are roadworks.
“If we make more safe options for exercising, it could reduce the numbers of people using parks and so help reduce the spread of coronavirus while still enabling people to stay active.
“There are key workers including NHS staff who still need to get to work – they are temporarily not able to use public transport, so many are walking or cycling. It’s vital we support our NHS staff however we can. I think we owe it to them to help keep them safe on their commute too and do all we can to reduce the spread of Covid-19”.
Cities including London, Brighton, Glasgow, and Manchester are all looking at new pedestrian and bike-friendly changes during lockdown.
Peter Macdonald, of SPACE for Gosforth, said: “Helping people to walk or cycle also helps to keep air pollution down, and we know that cities with higher levels of air pollution are expected to have higher death rates during this pandemic than those that do not.