With people advised to maintain a safe distance when outside of their home, there have been some complaints that this is difficult to do so. Many of the pavements in London don’t allow for people to walk at the same time, while allowing for the recommended social distance to be maintained.
This is why many people will have been pleased to see footpaths in Greenwich town centre being widened. This has been viewed as an act that that will help to accommodate travel when the post-lockdown period in London begins.
Greenwich town centre was recognised as a priority for improvements, because of its narrow pavements. A lot of the work is being carried out behind the scenes by the Mayor’s Office, and Transport for London, as habits are set to change when people move forward after the lockdown.
More space is needed on public pavements if transport capacity drops
There is a risk that the capacity of the capital’s public transport will drop to a fifth of the levels set pre coronavirus. This will significantly change people’s behaviour and daily routine. There is also a strong chance that many people will start walking more or take up cycling. This will create a need for wider pavements, and safer cycling routes.
In addition to the town centre, there will likely be other work carried out in and around Greenwich, with Eltham and Woolwich town centres also likely to see changes.
A statement made by the local council reads; “Our plans for Woolwich are mainly focussed on tackling pinch points on Calderwood Street, Thomas Street, Wellington Street, Woolwich New Road, Vincent Road and Willmount Street. Woolwich is the fourth busiest bus hub in London, with 18 bus routes, and presents a big social distancing challenge.”
Shops will also implement measures which will reduce pavement space
A possible change in Eltham town centre could see footway parking suspended. This would utilise the wide footways, and it should also create space which allows customers to queue to enter stores. It needs to be remembered that shops will need to incorporate social distancing measures too. This will likely result in queues, and this means more people will be on the streets and pavements.
The local authority has also announced it will close off the footway parking through the use of barriers, although disabled bays and necessary loading bays will still be in operation. It is also likely there will be added protection for cyclists with the cycle lanes on the High Street.
The local council is set to make a bid for funding to TfL to provide money to better accommodate cycling and walking in the borough.
The local authority said; “Whatever measures we put in place will be focused on limiting the spread of the virus and helping all our residents travel safely around the borough. We’ll be prioritising walking and cycling while public transport capacity is limited.”
While the news has been greeted positively by the East Greenwich Residents Association, EGRA, who said the work was a “great start and a huge boon to pedestrians,” there is an acknowledgment a lot of work must be undertaken. The same group states cyclists will still be “condemned to sharing a very narrow space with vehicles in the town centre and Romney Road”.
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