Many of us have used lockdown as an opportunity to enjoy the cleaner air that much less traffic has provided and improve our health through exercise, particularly walking, jogging and cycling.
As lockdown restrictions are eased one of the things that will remain different for some time is travelling. With use of public transport restricted due to social distancing, continuing to walk and cycle and maintain the air benefits we are currently enjoying, is an important part of the recovery process.
The council is applying for funding to make temporary and permanent changes to our footpaths and roads to help with more greener travel options and maintain social distancing. Two early examples of changes already in place are below.
Ealing Council has installed temporary measures outside the Lidl in West Ealing to help customers maintain social distancing while queuing to do their shopping.
Using temporary cones and ramps to help those with impaired mobility and parents with buggies, a wider footway has been created.
While not all locations are suitable for widening, for example where the carriageway is too narrow or at bus stops so it cannot be coned off, council officers are considering locations to install temporarily widened footpaths.
“This location was identified by Councillor Linda Burke, a local ward councillor,” said Councillor Julian Bell, leader of Ealing Council. “And I thank her for highlighting it. We are keen to explore options to do the same in other areas of the borough, so please let me or your local councillor know if you have suggestions. All suggestions will be passed on to the transport and highways team to investigate if it is suitable.”
Space for walking and cycling
A permanent section of pathway widening has just been completed in Pitshanger Park.
The path between Perivale Lane and Woodbury Park Road (off Pitshanger Lane) has been an official cycle route for many years but was narrow and not suitable for both pedestrians and cyclists.
Widening, resurfacing and new fencing have been completed and dangerous speed humps have been removed during the lockdown period. Some hedge-trimming will also be taking place.
Bollards have been placed to keep cyclists from cutting corners or going too close to gates.
Reopening on Saturday 2 May, the pathway is ready and fit to be safely enjoyed by pedestrians and cyclists along its whole length.
‘Keep up with the positive changes’
Councillor Bell said: “Research by Transport for London shows that just a third of the car trips made by Londoners are for more than three miles. That means that two-thirds are under that distance.
“The lockdown measures have made us all rethink and change our habits, with many taking up more walking, jogging and cycling. It would be a real shame to go back to the levels of traffic congestion and air pollution we had pre-lockdown. So let’s keep up with the positive changes and reduce congestion, improve our health and clean up our air.”