Cycling and Covid-19: Space for Distancing Campaign Update 30.05.20

Lots of you have been asking for an update on any plans for improved walking and cycling infrastructure in Nottingham and Nottinghamshire in response to Covid-19. Specifically, following the Government announcing emergency funding and telling local authorities to “to reallocate road space for significantly-increased numbers of cyclists and pedestrians” on 9th May [link].

Thanks to everyone who wrote to their councillors to ask them to make more space for people cycling and walking to keep people safe and avoid future transport chaos.

Update as of 30/05/20

In places which are forging ahead, announcing plans and getting things built, that change seems to be driven by politicians taking ownership. So, we were keen to hear from elected politicians, rather than officers (council employees). Pedals wrote to the political leaders and Transport portfolio holders of both Nottingham City Council and Nottinghamshire County Council (the two local authorities which are responsible for transport).

Nottingham City Council

Read our email and subsequent follow-up email.

On Thursday 28th May, we had a positive meeting with Cllr Adele Williams, Portfolio Holder for Transport and Adult Care. We wanted to make the case for taking action quickly, as other cities have done, before the opportunity to influence behaviour is missed. We stressed the need for Nottingham to make a statement and align itself with other progressive cities which are getting plans announced and built.

We’ve been told that there are “bold” and “transformational” plans coming together and to expect an announcement soon. It was a useful and encouraging meeting, though obviously we want to see things happening sooner rather than later. It feels like things are coming to a crunch point with non-essential shops being allowed to reopen from June 15th, meaning more people will be making more journeys, the roads will be busier roads and the paths more crowded. We need to avoid a situation where people who’ve started cycling during lockdown are scared off the roads by returning motor traffic.

Nottinghamshire County Council

We have not received a response to our email, and subsequent follow-up email. A shame, as we were hoping for some positive political leadership on this, as this has been key in places doing good stuff.

We have been told via the Cycling and Walking Advisory Group that Nottinghamshire County Council “have a working party considering possible measures for short-, medium- and longer-term implementation.” and heard from supporters that they have been directed to submit suggestions using an online form.

We are working on a Pedals’ response based on revised guidance from the Department for Transport.

Next steps

  • You can add specific suggestions to the website,
  • Be ready to contact your councillors to express support for measures (when they are announced and assuming they are good). This is really crucial in building support for better walking and cycling schemes and combatting potential backlash.
  • Encourage friends and family who are new to cycling or considering it to join Pedals so we can grow our campaign (it’s free).

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