Social Distancing Ideas 1 - CYCLEWight

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Social Distancing Ideas 1

Social Distancing
Dear Councillor Stewart,
As previously said it was pleasing to hear of the Council's positive response with regards to social distancing.
The CycleWight Committee have been working through emerging guidance and thinking from elsewhere on this issue and would like to make some further comments and suggestions. We are really keen to be part of the Island’s recovery from this, and would welcome to the opportunity to discuss further.
All indications are that social distancing is likely to be a part of our lives for some time to come. In some places social distancing is already difficult with narrow footways and cycleways making it difficult for people to exercise safely and in a socially responsible way. At present people walking and cycling are able to make use of more extensive space in many areas due to the very low traffic volumes. As lockdown measures begin to be eased, it is imperative that measures are put in place to enable effective social distancing and keep people safe.
CycleWight have given significant consideration to how these changes could be made in the Newport area. Newport was chosen as the location with the most pressing need to bring in changes as it is the main shopping area, main employment hub, but also sees very high traffic volumes in normal circumstances, with limited space for pedestrians and cyclists to move through the town.
The package of measures outlined could be implemented at relatively low cost and quickly. The suggested measures draw on longer-term plans outlined in the Local Cycling and Walking Infrastructure Plan (LCWIP), which has just been approved. They would also, therefore, provide a “test-bed” for some elements of works planned in the LCWIP.
It is important to consider what the “new normal” we create will be.  Public Transport use is likely to remain at low levels, with people opting to walk, cycle or drive instead to maintain social distance. Without creating a safe space for walking and cycling these modes will be unattractive, and the end result will be higher car use, pollution and congestion, damaging our Island, the economy and people’s health. The key worker cycle hire scheme administered by the Council's Access Fund has been a huge success with over 60 bikes now lent out, which goes to show with the correct conditions there is a huge pent up demand to travel in a more sustainable way. Further afield there is a very successful scheme in Leicester. https://news.leicester.gov.uk/news-articles/2020/april/temporary-cycle-lane-creates-route-to-help-key-workers/
We would suggest encouraging continued home working wherever possible, limiting unnecessary travel and prioritising walking and cycling, especially for local trips. This will reduce demand for car travel compared with the level that might otherwise be experienced, especially at peak times. This allows the use of road space only needed for peak capacity to be given over as space for walking and cycling, and the creation of an exemplary circle, enabling more people to choose to walk and cycle. The measures below set out key ways space could be reallocated. It is important these measures take effect before the easing of lockdown and therefore it is urgent that planning gets underway rapidly.

Temporary/experimental highway changes for Newport Town Centre – outline concepts
Key principles:
•         Assumes phased removal of lock-down requirements, with some town centre activities starting up but significant social distancing requirement retained.
•         Ensure people have the ability to maintain social distance when moving around the town.
•         Provide adequate spacing for waiting outside shops implementing limited access arrangements.
•         Take into account priority routes identified in LCWIP.
•         Enable new and less confident cyclists to cycle easily and safely around town to substitute short car trips or public transport use.
•         Minimise traffic volumes and speeds in the town centre to ensure a safe environment, particularly with unusual pedestrian movement patterns.
•         Ensure connectivity with main cycling routes to facilitate increased cycle commuting and personal business trips.
•         Ensure car parks are used effectively and that safe routes for socially distant movement between them and key locations is maintained.
•         Minimise pedestrian wait times at crossing, particularly those with limited waiting space.
•         Encourage minimising car trips, while maximising accessibility of town centre facilities.
•         Transport hierarchy (with pedestrians at top) never more important to be followed.
Newport
Mill Street
•         Point closures (to motor vehicles)
• Junction with Foxes Road
• Ca. 100m south-east of junction with Crocker Street
• Junction with High Street
•         All one-way restrictions revoked to enable access and two-way through cycling
Crocker Street
•         Remove on-street parking
•         Amend one-way restrictions and signage to exempt cyclists
•         Add traffic cylinders/water filled barriers to demarcate contra flow cycle lane where widths permit
•         Prohibit (motor vehicle) left turns from Crocker Street into Holyrood Street to stop use of Crocker Street as a through-route, limited traffic volumes to enable safe walking and cycling
Little London
•         Point closure (to motor vehicles) underneath flyover (possibly further north if Bargeman’s Rest does not reopen)
•         Remove on street parking at width constrained locations
•         Remove chicane barrier at start of cycle track (pinch point restricts social distancing and provides hazard to safe cycling)
High Street
•         Remove all on-street parking spaces (except disabled parking provision)
•         Use traffic cylinders/water filled barriers to demarcate extra pedestrian space using carriageway/parking, leaving narrow traffic lane to ensure slow speeds. Barriers to be permeable to allow for flexible pedestrian crossing of street
•         Close junction with Holyrood Street to motor vehicles to allow for freer pedestrian movements around this junction
•         Close junction with Quay Street to motor vehicles to allow for freer pedestrian movements around this junction
•         Provide new cycle parking at south end of Quay Street on redundant carriageway
Holyrood Street
•         Remove on-street parking
•         Use traffic cylinders/water filled barriers to demarcate extra pedestrian space using carriageway/parking, leaving narrow traffic lane to ensure slow speeds. Barriers to be permeable to allow for flexible pedestrian crossing of street - this creates extra space for people shopping and also moving to/from car parks in the area.
St James Street
•         Make both direction through St James’ Square bus/cycle only (Pyle Street to High Street)
•         Work with Southern Vectis to implement voluntary 10mph speed limit and ensure awareness of pedestrians needing to use the carriageway
•         Extend pedestrian green phases at High St/St James St to stop people gathering to wait for lights.
•         Remove parking on upper St James Street
•         Use traffic cylinders/water filled barriers to demarcate extra pedestrian space using carriageway/parking, leaving narrow traffic lane to ensure slow speeds. Barriers to be permeable to allow for flexible pedestrian crossing of street
•         Consider the need to create additional parking provision on Node Hill 6th form site
Church Litten
•         Make section between M&S/Morrisons car park entrance and South Street bus/cycle only to reduce traffic volumes
•         Use traffic cylinders/water filled barriers to create contraflow cycle lane along length of street to improve permeability for people cycling locally.
•         Extend green pedestrian phase significantly on junction with South Street to reduce pedestrian congestion
South Street
•         Use traffic cylinders/water filled barriers to demarcate extra pedestrian space using carriageway between Morrisons and Cinema, leaving narrow traffic lane to ensure slow speeds. Barriers to be permeable to allow for flexible pedestrian crossing of street
Promotional campaign to
•         Highlight new temporary routes and the benefits of cycling and walking to help combat spread of coronavirus without crippling extra traffic.
•         Encourage people to drive to closest car park to entry point then walk – highlight other restrictions needed to ensure safe pedestrian use of town.
•         Encourage Newport users to leave the car at home, walk or bike to town.
•         Encourage continued WFH.
•         Discourage use of the High Street as a route – expect extra congestion as traffic light timings adjusted to stop pedestrians congregating in tight spaces.
Signage to direct people to closest car park(s) from vehicle entrance route to town
Broader area initiatives
Reduced speed limits to ensure pedestrian/cyclist safety over a broad area of Newport (20mph
Cowes-Newport Cycle Track
•         Ensure all vegetation is cut back to leave clear space either side of the track allowing maximum usable width to enable effective social distancing
Safe cycling/walking route to the hospital
Investigate using college grounds to provide safe, socially distant route between town/cycle network and St Marys
Please note: The above measures are not an exhaustive list, but an indication of some key measures which, implemented together will keep Newport moving, and safely. Similar work could also be delivered in other locations around the Island, and we would be happy to discuss further.
Delivery
Some elements of the above can be delivered using existing powers the Local Authority has. Other elements will require traffic regulation orders. Ideally central government would grant new powers to local authorities to enable these sorts of measures, but should this not be the case then we believe much or all of the above could be delivered using Experimental Traffic Orders or Temporary Traffic Orders and hence delivered rapidly.
The Access Fund is well positioned to take on much of the promotional and behaviour change elements needed and has already begun to adapt its activities based on coronavirus impacts.
CycleWight and others stand ready to do our part to help plan and implement changes and would be pleased to be able to support the Council in planning and delivering this work.
Yours sincerely,
Tim Thorne


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