Pop-Up Cycle lane for key workers in Leicester - Source: Ride Leicestershire
Many cities across the UK and around the world have already introduced temporary ‘pop-up’ cycle lanes and widened pavements in order to aid social distancing and improve safety for key-workers travelling to and from work and people taking their daily exercise. Unfortunately, similar measures have not taken place in Bristol.
In large parts of the city, pavements are extremely narrow and it is impossible to adhere to the 2-metre social distancing rule without stepping into the road, which poses a serious risk for pedestrians. Furthermore, there has been a significant increase in the number of people who have started cycling either for their daily exercise or to commute to and from work. Unfortunately, Bristol lacks a fully segregated, joined up cycling network and many people feel intimidated and unsafe when cycling on the road. There are also reports of an increase in driver speeding, which of course is a huge danger to people on bikes.
In the last month, traffic volumes across Bristol have greatly reduced as people have been furloughed, or are working from home, or are self-isolating. This means there is a lot of spare capacity on our normally congested road network. We propose that in several locations around the city, pavements could safely, easily and cheaply be widened and cycle paths created by using traffic cones, barriers and mobile signage for example. As a starting point, we would like to see one of the traffic lanes in front of the busy and crowded Bristol Royal Infirmary converted into a widened pavement and cycle lane. Other suitable locations include Gloucester Road and other local high streets, Avon Crescent, Prince Street Bridge, The Portway and The Downs.
It is likely that social distancing will be in place for quite some time to come. It is also likely that public transport use will remain low after lockdown as people worry about the risk of infection. Therefore, to avoid total gridlock on our road network, it is imperative that the council take steps now to facilitate as many people as possible walking and cycling.
We the undersigned demand the council quickly establish ‘pop-up’ cycle lanes and temporarily widen pavements across the city in order to aid social distancing and improve safety for key workers and people taking daily exercise during the Coronavirus COVID-19 global pandemic.