Details of Devon's 'active travel' changes
The first changes to road networks across Devon as part of measures to boost walking and cycling and support social distancing have been installed. Devon County Council is continuing to roll-out its “pop-up” improvements which are being funded with an initial £338,000 from the Government’s Emergency Active Travel Fund.
Magdalen Road in Exeter means is now one-way between St Leonards Road and Denmark Road for vehicles heading towards Western Way (westbound) with a contraflow cycle lane (eastbound).
It follows road closures for vehicle that had already been implemented at Wonford Road, Dryden Road and Ludwell Lane by the council to only allow only allow access for cyclists, emergency vehicles and walkers in Exeter.
The fund is to implement temporary low cost interventions that in an era of social distancing can create an environment that is safe for both walking and cycling while public transport usage is being discouraged.
“Active travel allows people to get around whilst maintaining social distance and will have an essential role to play in helping us avoid overcrowding on public transport systems as the economy begins to restart,” a Devon County Council spokesman sys.
The council has eight weeks to complete work and if it does so can then apply for £1.3m to explore permanent schemes.
Watch Devon county councillor Stuart Hughes explain the schemes here:
Proposed routes largely mirror the proposed Exeter Strategic Cycle Network with particular focus is given to ensuring some facility is provided to those locations where staff are least likely to be able to work from home such as the Royal Devon and Exeter Hospital, Sowton, and Marsh Barton.
Exeter strategic cycle network (E9) Newcourt/Pynes Hill to City Centre
There has been the creation of pop up cycleway connecting the city centre, County Hall, hospital, Pynes Hill and Sowton. Four km quiet route created by removing through traffic on number of streets.
Wonford Road between Matford Avenue and Deepdene Park, Dryden Road between Well Oak Park and Kipling Drive, and Ludwell Lane, have seen point closures installed that allow only allow access for cyclists, emergency vehicles and walkers in Exeter.
The Magdalen Road changes also form part of the new 4km E9 “quiet cycle route”. Due to the wet weather, some of the planned road markings could not be implemented. In the interim, the start of the new contraflow cycle lane at the western end of Magdalen Road is segregated by a barrier. This will be removed when lining takes place and the temporary footway is further widened.
Cllr Hughes said: “We’ve had some positive feedback from the initial improvements that were introduced at the weekend, and it’s encouraging to see our teams following up so quickly with more of these measures. We want to encourage more sustainable and healthy travel for residents while supporting local businesses.
“These changes to Magdalen Road provide a safer environment for shoppers, walkers and cyclists and help support local businesses by providing customers with extra space for social distancing. That will be vital as the country continues to ease its way out of lockdown.
“These improvements will also connect to the initial changes we implemented last weekend, to provide a cross-city route connecting the city centre, RD&E Hospital and employment to the east of the city. Further changes will be introduced over the next few weeks as the roll-out of this programme continues.”
Other temporary measures will be introduced in Exeter over the coming weeks.
Exeter strategic cycle network (E3) Monkerton/Whipton to city centre
A 3.5km quiet route from Monkerton/Whipton to the city centre through residential areas in Whipton and Heavitree connecting housing to major employment sites in the city centre, Sowton and Exeter Science Park.
This will be developed by removing through traffic with point closures on residential streets at Clifton Road, Homefield Road, Park Place, Chard Road, Whipton Lane, Vaughan Road. One way and/or bus gates will be installed in Ladysmith Road and Hamlin Lane, with temporary crossings and a temporary cycle route on Polsloe Road
City Centre Cycle & Cowick Street – Cycle Access and Social Distancing
There will be improved pedestrian and cycle access to the city centre via South Street, Fore Street and North Street, including widening of footways with temporary barriers on key pedestrian and public transport route to the city centre, including additional space around busy Cowick Street bus stops.
Cycle parking spaces
Over 200 extra cycle parking spaces have been installed across the county, including new spaces in Exeter city centre, at the RD&E, Heavitree, Whipton, Topsham, Newton Abbot, Totnes, Teignmouth, Ivybridge, Barnstaple and Tavistock.
Town Centre Footway Widening
The scheme proposes to remove on-street parking along a 450m corridor of Queen Street enabling both the northern and southern footways to be widened. Some parking spaces will be retained.
The scheme will improve the environment for pedestrians, enabling better social distancing opportunities and while these are temporary measures, they reflect aspirations being developed under the Future High Streets Fund.
Three temporary crossings, allowing residents to safely cross highways, will be installed. They will be located on the East-West Shared Use Path at Exeter Road, Jetty Marsh Road and Ashburton Road, all where there are aspirations for these to be permanent crossings
“This will encourage sustainable travel on a safe, convenient and direct route between residential areas, education, transport hubs, employment sites and the town centre,” the council spokesman added.
BARNSTAPLE AND BIDEFORD
Extended Barnstaple town centre pedestrianisation
The current town centre pedestrianised area will be extended to provide additional road space within the core retail streets and enable district and town councils to implement social distancing measures.
The extended pedestrianised area will support improve cycling links into the town centre and will incorporate additional pop-up cycle parking facilities, although the existing public transport routes will be maintained.
Consideration is also being given to a proposal for temporary restrictions to remove traffic except for buses, cycles and emergency vehicles on the A3125 Longbridge, supporting sustainable access into the Town Centre.
Bideford Town Centre
A system of one-way pedestrian movement along narrow pavements and streets within the town centre will be implemented. To support this, temporary restrictions will be required to remove elements of on-street parking in the High Street, introduce disabled parking on both the High Street and Bridgeland Street and close the road through Manor Park in order to provide space for pedestrians, space for pop-up cycling parking and space for bus passengers to wait safely.
A one-way system for pedestrians will incorporate the Longbridge footpaths and a temporary pedestrian crossing facility on the A386 will be required to support this.
THE REST OF DEVON
Doctor surgeries, dental practices and health centres
A number of requests from doctor’s surgeries, dental practices and health centres for support for restricted parking to manage patients with Covid-19 symptoms have been received by Devon County Council, and they will be considered on a case by case basis.
A spokesman added: “We understand that these facilities need to be set up quickly, therefore we are currently promoting “advisory” interventions. Once our team has agreed to a suitable location for patient parking at your practice / centre we will provide a template notice for you to print and display, we will also advise you on sourcing and placing traffic cones.”
An allocation for local communities to provide the traffic management in town centres and those communities with large daytime retail/tourist populations has been set aside, and would be aimed at measures to assist social distancing at busy bus stops, temporary cycle parking and restricted space in crowded areas.
Devon County Council will be looking to bring forward schemes that focus on the busiest settlements and employment centres, and the proposals should be able to support local residents, the travelling public, businesses and the wider communities to keep themselves safe and active as we move toward the next step in our response to COVID-19.
These schemes will have to be 50 per cent match funded by the community, in the order of £2000 will be provided for the hire of equipment, and the council we will be contacting community representatives directly to start the conversation on what they could deliver to help promote active travel.
Anyone with an idea should share their ideas with their Town and Parish Council in the first instance, and then complete the application form and return it to email@example.com. All ideas should be received by Devon County Council no later than 19 June 2020.
The focus on urban areas though has led to feeling that rural communities are being ignored when it comes to funding for new cycling, pedestrian and traffic management schemes.