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Update on temporary pavement widening and road closures for social distancing

Update on temporary pavement widening and road closures for social distancing

Bath & North East Somerset Council is writing to more than 1,000 residents and businesses updating them about the temporary measures to widen pavements and close some roads to enable social distancing and to help prevent the spread of COVID-19.

From 15 June many more shops will be reopening as the government eases some Covid-19 restrictions and the council’s priority is to enable shops to do this safely and in a way that promotes confidence in our High Streets and protects public health.

 To help pedestrians to safely social distance, pavements will be widened in

  • Camden Road
  • St Saviours Road
  • Manvers Street
  • Monmouth Place
  • Monmouth Street
  • Moorland Road
  • North Parade
  • Queen Square
  • Somerset Street
  • Terrace Walk
  • Walcot Street,
  • Westgate Buildings
  • Weston High Street.

These locations have been selected because there is a likelihood that people will step into the road as a result of the two-metre social distancing rule or a need to improve segregation between pedestrians and busy roads.

The pavement widening work will begin on Monday 8 June and will be completed in time for the relaxing of government restrictions on Monday 15 June, which allows non-essential retail shops to reopen.  

Temporary barriers will be placed along the roads to separate the pedestrian area from traffic, and tarmac ramps will be provided to ensure that people using pushchairs and wheelchairs will be able to get to and from the shops. In some locations, to create the space, the use of parking bays will be suspended.

From Monday 15th June the council will also be closing the following streets to all motor vehicles from 10am-6pm daily, as well as removing parking bays.

  • Cheap Street
  • Westgate Street
  • Saw Close
  • Upper Borough Walls
  • York Street

The parking bays in these streets will be available to use outside of the 10am to 6pm access restriction.

We have chosen these streets as widening the pavements would provide insufficient space for traffic to move safely when people are queueing outside shops. A similar restriction will be introduced in Milsom Street between 10am and 6pm although buses will still be allowed to pass through. However, barriers will block access to parking spaces in Milsom Street apart from an additional loading bay which will be available for use from 6pm to 10am.

Exemptions to these closures will be limited to emergency services and emergency utility works as well as a very limited number of other operations. The restrictions will be removed between the hours of 6pm and 10am.

The temporary access restrictions are initially likely to be pedestrian barriers; but the council, in conjunction with the Police, is looking at the possibility of installing more robust barriers within a few weeks’ time. These measures are proposed to help keep people and livelihoods safe and secure, and are a proportionate response by the council with support from the Police, to ensure that the public remain safe whilst living and working within or visiting the city

All these measures will be in place for the duration of government advice, which all councils have been directed to follow to support the recovery from Covid 19.

Councillor Dine Romero, leaders of Bath & North East Somerset Council said: “We recognise that some of the changes will cause inconvenience and would not normally be introduced without consultation, but we must act quickly to secure safety and public health. However, we will do all we can to help.

“Where parking bays are suspended we will try to provide temporary alternative disabled and loading bays nearby. These bays may not be available from the 15 June, but we will attempt to provide them as soon as we can.

“We will be reviewing the temporary measures after the first few weeks, taking into account local views and you can send your comments to Traffic_ManagementTeam@bathnes.gov.uk

The council is also working closely with the Bath Business Improvement District (BID) and the emergency services on all these measures. It has already

  • Removed the need to push buttons at 22 signalised junctions  
  • Put up road safety posters to increase drivers’ awareness that pedestrians may step out into the road as they maintain social distancing

In addition to implementing the urgent temporary social distancing measures Bath & North East Somerset Council is asking residents to put forward locations for longer-term improvements designed to reduce the use of vehicles on our roads and encourage more walking and cycling.

Councillor Joanna Wright cabinet member for Transport Services, added: “As lockdown is eased pavements are likely to get busier and queues may form outside shops. People will need extra space in order to be able to socially distance and these measures will ensure they can do that safely.

“While we know this will cause some inconvenience it also creates an opportunity to look at how we travel around the city. Some of the measures could be introduced on an experimental basis including allocating additional road space to improve cycling and walking for daily commuting and better signage across the area.

“We have launched a new Liveable Neighbourhoods website to capture people’s views on ways to improve walking and cycling and I would encourage people to take part.”

Residents can share their views on the new Liveable Neighbourhoods website https://bathnesliveablestreets.commonplace.is Since the site launched more than 1,000 people have signed up to it.

And two webinars are also planned. The first is about the traffic restrictions and will be jointly hosted with Bath BID on Wednesday 3rd June followed by a second webinar Reopening Our High Streets Safely on Thursday June 11 from 5-6pm.

The council is also working with its partners in the West of England to agree a list of transport schemes that can be introduced in the short term utilising the pending government funding.

As part of the council’s response to recovery, the council will also be consulting city centre businesses, service providers and residents on a package of public realm measures.

These will integrate work which was under way, before the Covid-19 pandemic, in partnership with Avon & Somerset Police, which will permanently strengthen the city centre’s security and public safety. This will be done through access management and enhanced street furniture in addition to improving the public realm.  Consultation, which will include consulting on the needs of disabled people, is due to start later in the year.

For further information on the temporary measures, including Frequently Asked Questions, please visit our website http://www.bathnes.gov.uk/bathsocialdistancing

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