1. Environmental
May 22, 2020updated 19 Jul 2021 2:56pm

How are other UK cities responding to the crisis?

By Jonn Elledge

This blog has reported extensively on “Streetspace”, London’s plan to reallocate road space from cars to pedestrians and cyclists. But, even though you wouldn’t always know it from the media, there are other cities in the UK. What are they doing to handle the crisis?

Here are three examples.

Birmingham City Council’s emergency transport plan suggests turning parts of main roads into cycling or bus lanes, and turning on-street parking into space for pedestrians. It’s also looking at turning parts of wider, quieter pavements into cycle lanes.

In addition, the council is hoping to identify two parts of the city to pilot “active, low traffic neighbourhood” schemes, and limit private car access to “transform” the city centre.

The council’s cabinet member for transport has also written to the government requesting the authority to introduce 20mph speed limits on all but main roads.

Bristol is planning to totally pedestrianise its historic Old City, in the area around St Nicholas Markets. The plans, mapped by the Bristol Cable here, will connect up several other already pedestrianised areas.

In addition, the city is planning to wide pavements in suburban shopping districts such as Clifton and Bedminster, and to close Bristol Bridge to private cars.

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Glasgow has created a new east-west cycle route along the Broomielaw, on the north bank of the River Clyde. Not everyone in the city is a bike fan, though: residents of its affluent West End have literally phoned the police about cyclists who are using the pavement.

Before the crisis began, Glasgow was actually planning to extend opening hours for outdoor seating at the bars and restaurants of the city centre – exactly the sort of thing many other cities are considering introducing to enable such businesses to reopen safely as lockdown eases. Alas, the plans have been delayed by the fact that lockdown is preventing the city council from meeting to sign the plans off.

There are many more cities than this out there, of course, so this is probably a theme we’ll be coming back to. Feel free to drop me a line with tips.

Jonn Elledge was founding editor of CityMetric. He is on Twitter as @jonnelledge and on Facebook as JonnElledgeWrites.


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