Over the last 5 months you may have noticed new pop-up barriers for wider pavements and cycle lanes that have been put in place to take the strain off public transport and help people safely social distance while getting around. According to Cycling UK, 11,000 people have reached out to councils across England to support these temporary barriers, paving the way for these to become a more permanent change.
Those 11,000 people are not alone in taking up active travel to keep themselves getting around efficiently, safely and healthily during the lockdown. Amazingly, bike sales went up by almost 60% in the 13 weeks up to 3rd July! In the Capital alone, the Centre for London reported that 1/3 of Londoners will cycle more after lockdown, with 46% saying that walking, running and cycling will now be a bigger part of their routine than it was before.
“The government has stated that cycling and walking have an essential role in helping to avoid overcrowding on public transport, as they allow people to travel while maintaining social distancing.”
Back in January, the government pledged £25million for the Safer Streets fund, which was open for applications during lockdown before the 5th June. Blackpool, Rutland and Bedford are just some of the areas that have been awarded funds to radically improve roads and streets to allow people to make other transport decisions, such as cycling or walking.
Some councils missed out on this funding, but if that was your local area, don’t despair! The added pressures of the lockdown for more cycleways and the need to allow for social distancing when travelling, has meant that other, similar schemes have stayed open.
Nobody knows an area better than its locals do and some councils may not know the exact areas that need looking at if they don’t travel through them every day. if you want to see more pedestrianised streets and safe cycle routes around where you live, you may be able to get your voice heard!
Here are a few schemes we suggest looking into…
Widen My Path
This site will take you to a local area where you can add your suggestions about where changes need to be made. You can also back up other people’s comments, showing that a particular point is felt throughout the community.
Write a letter to your Council
By following this link you can find draft letters to write to your local council to add pressure and achieve the change you want to see in your local area.
You may have children and worry about their safety on the way to school. Or perhaps the areas around your local school get extra busy during pick up and drop off times, causing delays and adding to air pollution. School Streets organises 20mph zones and low emission pick up and drop off zones to try and tackle these problems.
This organisation works with social housing providers to make sure their residents can have access to the multiple benefits of cycling and walking in the area. In partnership with the Scottish Federation of Housing Associations, Living Streets Scotland and Sustrans Scotland, they work to deliver cycling, parking, buggy sheds, mobility aids and street furniture like rubbish bins and benches near estates to increase access to walking and cycling in local areas. One landlord, Elderpark Housing Association received £25,000 from the fund to make improvements for their residents!
Being able to get around in a cheap, healthy and safe way should be available to us all and if you think your local area can improve, you might just be able to achieve the changes you want to see.
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