Emergency measures to protect the health and wellbeing of people in Lewisham during the Covid-19 pandemic could soon lead to big changes on our streets.
Lewisham council is planning to create safe spaces for people walking and cycling in the borough and will roll out a package of temporary measures.
“Helping the public socially distance safely is our top priority,” says the council.
It wants to “ensure people can walk or cycle in a safe environment when (Covid-19) restrictions start to ease”.
“Under 50 per cent of Lewisham’s households own a car so it is essential we provide safe walking and cycling routes for people to make their everyday journeys.”
The council is planning to:
- Create more space for pedestrians near local shops and facilities at pinch points across the borough.
- Put in place schemes to maintain quieter residential streets on common traffic ‘cut-throughs’. People will walk and cycle more if they feel safe on roads.
- The borough will be for rolling out over 30 ‘modal filters’ to limit certain traffic and will ask the public for further location suggestions.
- Main roads will be investigated to look at installing temporary cycle lanes and wider footways to help people travel by bike or by foot in safety.
- Safer spaces will be created across the borough outside school entrances to enable parents and pupils to socially distance at pick-up and drop off time.
The council is asking residents who have a real in depth knowledge of Lewisham’s streets to ‘Suggest a Scheme‘.
The council will monitor all suggestions and prioritise those which will help in meeting the objectives of the programme as long as they are within the available budget.
The main aim of these temporary measures is to help the public maintain social distancing guidelines and to improve pedestrian and cycle safety during the pandemic, and the recovery period.
However, the council stresses that there may be an appetite in communities for some of the emergency measures to be retained on a more permanent basis.
It will aim to support these where possible as the measures implemented will be in line with its longer term policy objectives.
The data and public feedback gathered during the period of the temporary traffic order (TTO) will be used to decide whether to run an extended trial through an Experimental Traffic Management Order (ETO).
These ETOs would run for at least a further six months under the new traffic conditions established after the lifting of the government restrictions. This would form a statutory consultation period, during which time changes could be made to the scheme.
The ETO could be in force for 6-18 months.
Further data collection and consultation with residents would take place during this period to evaluate how the scheme has operated and if any of the measures should be made permanent.
A formal decision will then be taken on this by the council’s Mayor and Cabinet.
If you are interested in sustainable travel issues in the borough and want to get involved, you might be interested in joining Lewisham Cyclists, who have regular meetings with Lewisham councillors and provide invaluable resources for the community on this subject.