An independent report which makes recommendations on whether Spaces for People infrastructure measures should be retained or removed as physical distancing restrictions lessen will be considered at next week's City Administration Committee.
Introduced at the start of COVID-19 to suppress the spread of the virus and help manage demand on public transport, Spaces for People has delivered a significant number of temporary travel interventions across the city to ease physical distancing in public places, mainly through the provision of widened footways, road closures and segregated cycle lanes.
Key recommendations noted in the report include:
In undertaking the analysis, cycle count data and the outcomes of a recent Spaces for People consultation were considered, as well as an assessment of how interventions align with existing active travel and sustainability goals. Whilst Spaces for People measures made it easier to stay a safe distance from others in public places, much of the infrastructure increases the viability and appeal of walking, wheeling and cycling for every day journeys and therefore if kept could contribute to the prioritisation of sustainable transport across the city. Future council and community schemes not yet delivered which are expected to support similar strategic aims were also factored into the independent assessment, alongside a consideration of our core paths network.
External considerations also formed part of the analysis process - an example of which is the recommendation to remove physical distancing measures on Gordon Street to avoid adversely impacting upon the accessibility of public transport provision, to and from Central Station.
Councillors will be asked to note and accept the findings of the independent review at the City Administration Committee on 16 September 2021 and to instruct council officers to progress the necessary works required to make Spaces for People measures permanent, or to remove them.
Measures which go forward to become permanent infrastructure will in most instances be undertaken by the promotion of a Traffic Regulation Order (TRO) - a statutory process which provides an opportunity for further engagement, alongside public advertisement of the Orders.
The committee paper and independent analysis report can be found here.