15 May 2020
Exeter Green Party Councillor, Diana Moore, has written to the leaders of Exeter City and Devon County Councils asking them what steps they plan to take to comply with government demands to reallocate road space to people walking and cycling.
In the letter to Cllr Phil Bialyk and Cllr John Hart, Cllr Moore has asked what measures are planned in Exeter to “encourage active travel and enable social distancing as lockdown measures are eased.”
Cllr Moore said:
“It is vital that both councils work cooperatively together, and as swiftly as possible, to reallocate road space to active travel. Creating more space for walkers and cyclists in Exeter is vital to keep people safe from infection and help prevent a return to the congestion and air pollution that plagued our city before the Covid19 crisis and subsequent lockdown.
“Clearly public transport will be unable to cope safely with high passenger numbers, so increasing active travel, especially for the 40% of urban journeys that are less than 2 miles, will be the only way to prevent gridlock in Exeter.”
Devon County Council has recently announced they are exploring a series of temporary measures to support social distancing for walkers and cyclists. However, Cllr Moore expressed disappointment at the initial proposals:
“This is a welcome start and we have yet to see how much money will be allocated to Devon County Council, but the proposals so far look somewhat piecemeal. We need a joined-up approach to enable people to cycle safely into and around the city centre and to places of work, especially, for example, the hospital from all directions. This will mean reallocating space on sections of major routes into and around the city. Special attention will need to be given to creating safe routes to schools, the college and university. I look forward to hearing from the council leaders on such a city-wide approach.”
Exeter Green Party has suggested measures in Exeter could include installing ‘pop-up’ cycle facilities to ensure physical separation from traffic; using cones and barriers to widen footways along lengths of road; reducing speed limits to 20mph city wide; using planters or large barriers to prevent through traffic in residential streets and measures to safeguard Blue Badge holders and people who use electric buggies.
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