Caring for our environment, COVID19, General

Wide pavements and new cycle paths could help unlock Surrey

Surrey County Council is working to help pedestrians be on the front foot and cyclists get in gear so they can stay safe and social distance while they’re out and about.

The government has given councils emergency measures during the coronavirus pandemic to temporarily create wider pavements and new cycle paths to ensure people can keep a two metre distance from people from outside their households and continue to use alternative ways to travel. The county council is waiting to hear its share of a national £250 million fund to support this.

The county council is working with Surrey’s borough and district councils to identify locations where improved spaces for walkers and cyclists would help residents to get out and about as the lockdown is gradually lifted. This includes town centres and other shopping areas, where wider pavements would give people confidence to return to the shops and support our high streets – once government restrictions allow more shops to reopen in the coming weeks. Plans are progressing in Farnham, Godalming and Reigate.

Matt Furniss, Cabinet Member for Highways, said: “There are huge economic, social and environmental benefits to creating temporary wide pavements and cycle paths. These range from helping people feel able to support their local traders, to improving mental and physical health, and reducing congestion and air pollution.

“This is a fast paced response to the coronavirus outbreak, but it links with our strategic aim of creating healthier, happier streets in Surrey. The pilot in Farnham will test how pavement widening will work, and we will change as necessary to deliver better streets for residents.

“Transport is responsible for 46% of emissions in Surrey, and tackling this is a key action in our new climate change strategy. Being more active and driving less would be a positive legacy of the sacrifices we’ve had to make due to the lockdown.”

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