Westminster Council has published plans to provide new and additional space for cyclists and pedestrians in the heart of the capital to safely support the easing of the lockdown and get the economy moving again.
The council has been working to develop these temporary proposals in conjunction with local groups, residents and businesses. Work started last weekend on the installation of low cost, temporary measures across all areas of the city.
The move will see new widened pavements, increased pedestrian areas and cycle lanes. Oxford Street, Regent Street and Piccadilly will see measures to widen pavements, change traffic lanes into pedestrian walkways, install signage and guidance on social distancing. The council will also begin establishing pop-up cycle lanes across the city.
Some of the other key measures and areas include:
– ‘School streets’ introduced across the city where cars are banned from roads surrounding playgrounds for short periods of time during the day to reduce traffic and pollution
– Improvements around major railway stations such as Victoria and Charing Cross
– Signage and guidance in markets to encourage social distancing as they can fully reopen from 1st June
– More cycle racks and better links to the existing cycle networks
– A new range of street signage will be introduced which highlights the need for social distancing in public areas
- A new Shop Local campaign and interactive web map is encouraging people to think local when purchasing, as visitor numbers are unlikely to recover to pre-COVID-19 levels for some time
Additional work to reopen the city is in the pipeline and will be in place by the start of July ahead of the anticipated opening of the hospitality sector.
The council is working in conjunction with local residents, businesses and landowners to develop its approach. In just over one week, the city council has received over 500 requests from residents and businesses for temporary measures from right across the city and each one has been carefully considered on their merits.
Councillor Rachael Robathan, leader of Westminster City Council, said: “These bold plans are designed to ensure we are doing all we can to support the careful and safe reopening of Westminster for residents, visitors and workers as the lockdown eases. This is essential in order to kickstart the economy, whilst always putting safety first.
“There is no book to read in advance on how a major world capital recovers from COVID-19. We need to make sure people can get to a workplace, a restaurant, a café or an attraction efficiently and safely as the ravages of this virus recede. We hope most of these temporary schemes will work first time, but if they don’t, we won’t be afraid to say so and try something different. What’s important is that we all work together to breathe new life into our fantastic city.”