Transport in the time of Coronavirus
Since writing last week there has been ever more evidence of changes to repurpose roads appearing around the world. We are at a point which nobody expected to happen, given opportunities to embed the Active behaviours that are being exhibited by people all over the U.K. into travel habits. Remember there are thousands of staff employed by Public Health England tasked with bringing about the very behaviour changes that we are seeing now, families out cycling together on quiet roads, people running once a day and more. I am in the same position as all of us, living a very reduced life and taking all the steps I can to stay safe, reduce chances of COVID spreading and protect our NHS, and hope any readers, their families and friends can come through this period in good health. Really there are some broad themes that occur and I’m going to just link the Road Danger Reduction Forum (RDRF) writing on the subject, I hope they dont mind, as much more detail than I wrote last week are covered on it so have a look. There is also the LCC work on this matter, again you might say ‘ah but thats London’ however remember every London Borough has its own Council, and every Council is working separately on transport so youll find that Camden are miles ahead of RBKC for example.
It does seem odd that many Countries are able to get things on roads changed so quickly, but then when you look into the process of how road changes are made here its no surprise. Anything that happens here takes a multi-stage implementation that is law bound by the Road Traffic Regulation Act 1984. The process that Authority has to go through includes several stages to make a Traffic Regulation Order, they have to advertise in local press 2 weeks in advance, make public aware and invite consultations, at the same time as designing the changes to be made. Thereafter objections have to be considered, design changes made before final notice is given to the changes happening on the ground, still with me? good now you can see why everything is so protracted rather than our Officials making decisions that benefit the whole and enacting them. Anyway the Experimental Traffic Regulation Order is the outcome which we aim to see implemented. Pleased to report that our BCP Officers are making the case for many of the actions outlined in the RDRF piece, with some of the Engineers I’m in conversation with providing details to the process in house. There are authorities within Manchester showing first signs of providing light segregation for cycles to allow for better social distancing, and safer passage away from vehicles. Also today I’ve seen Brighton are making moves towards these changes as I write, I know we are in a ‘lockdown’ phase but work has to go on, TCF scheme still needs planning!
There are also streets like this one Queensbridge Road Hackney which is currently closed to through motor traffic, while other work is being done. That provides safe residential streets which users are enjoying, and with assistance from authorities may continue to be filtered for Active Travel after COVID has passed. Hackney look to be one of the first Councils to be introducing modal filters with the actions of Cllrs there. So we invite you to send us streets around BCP that you feel would benefit from this sort of treatment,This Website has been created to create discussion.
There are many examples of this sort of traffic management in BCP already, in a similar way to how some of our parks are treated. Example is Kings Park, a large area which is closed to through traffic. It means that all journeys there are either originating or terminating. Park life is maintained for recreation with all the associated benefits such as better air quality, easy movement for pedestrians and more. Next time I write will be on TCF schemes for BCP and road designs for junctions, we have made significant progress on this in recent years, this is a good time to now in advance be sharing the best practice ways to go forwards. Im sorry to say Im hearing about lots of bike thefts from Garages and sheds so keep you kit safe too. Share your cycling pictures of quiet roads here or FB, It would be great to see how others are managing this time. Jason