Bath prepares for daily road closures and pavements widened
Further details have emerged about when pavements will be widened and central roads closed in Bath to prepare the city for a new socially distanced way of life.
Work in advance of more shops opening on June 15 will begin on Monday, June 8.
The work is designed to help maintain social distancing practises when non-essential shops open in Bath.
Pavements that will be widened on some 13 streets include Camden Road, Manvers Street, Monmouth Street and Moorland Road.
Restrictions will be in place from 10am to 6pm.
The government guidance is for people to stay two metres apart whenever possible, so transformative changes to High Streets are expected to allow safe shopping, which will limit the spread of coronavirus.
Find all the details below.
Bath and North East Somerset Council is writing to more than 1,000 residents and businesses updating them about the temporary measures to widen pavements and close some roads to enable social distancing and to help prevent the spread of COVID-19.
From June 15 many more shops will be reopening, as the government eases some lockdown restrictions.
Which pavements will be widened?
To help pedestrians to safely socially distance, pavements will be widened on:
- Camden Road
- St Saviours Road
- Manvers Street
- Monmouth Place
- Monmouth Street
- Moorland Road
- North Parade
- Queen Square
- Somerset Street
- Terrace Walk
- Walcot Street,
- Westgate Buildings
- Weston High Street.
These locations have been selected because there is a likelihood that people will step into the road as a result of the two-metre social distancing rule or a need to improve segregation between pedestrians and busy roads.
The pavement widening work will begin on Monday June 8 and will be completed in time for the relaxing of government restrictions on Monday June 15, which allows non-essential retail shops to reopen.
Temporary barriers will be placed along the roads to separate the pedestrian area from traffic, and tarmac ramps will be provided to ensure that people using pushchairs and wheelchairs will be able to get to and from the shops.
In some locations, to create the space, the use of parking bays will be suspended.
Which streets will be closed?
From Monday June 15 the council will also be closing the following streets to all motor vehicles from 10am-6pm daily, as well as removing parking bays.
- Cheap Street
- Westgate Street
- Saw Close
- Upper Borough Walls
- York Street
The parking bays in these streets will be available to use outside of the 10am – 6pm access restriction.
Why those streets?
Bath and North East Somerset Council has chosen these streets as widening the pavements would provide insufficient space for traffic to move safely when people are queueing outside shops.
A similar restriction will be introduced in Milsom Street between 10am and 6pm although buses will still be allowed to pass through.
However, barriers will block access to parking spaces in Milsom Street apart from an additional loading bay which will be available for use from 6pm to 10am.
Are any cars allowed down closed streets?
Exemptions to these closures will be limited to emergency services and emergency utility works as well as a very limited number of other operations.
The restrictions will be removed between the hours of 6pm and 10am.
What kind of barriers will there be?
The temporary access restrictions are initially likely to be pedestrian barriers; but the council, in conjunction with the police, is looking at the possibility of installing more robust barriers within a few weeks’ time.
More details will come on this later.
How long will these measures be in place?
All these measures will be in place for the duration of government advice, which all councils have been directed to follow to support the recovery from the coronavirus crisis.
Councillor Dine Romero, leader of Bath and North East Somerset Council, said: “We recognise that some of the changes will cause inconvenience and would not normally be introduced without consultation, but we must act quickly to secure safety and public health.
“However, we will do all we can to help.
“Where parking bays are suspended we will try to provide temporary alternative disabled and loading bays nearby.
“These bays may not be available from the June 15, but we will attempt to provide them as soon as we can.
“We will be reviewing the temporary measures after the first few weeks, taking into account local views and you can send your comments to [email protected]”
The council is also working closely with the Bath Business Improvement District (BID) and the emergency services on all these measures.
It has already
- Removed the need to push buttons at 22 signalised junctions
- Put up road safety posters to increase drivers’ awareness that pedestrians may step out into the road as they maintain social distancing.
Future changes to reduce number of vehicles on roads
The council is asking residents to put forward locations for longer-term improvements designed to reduce the use of vehicles on our roads and encourage more walking and cycling.
Councillor Joanna Wright, cabinet member for transport services, admitted social distancing changes could be inconvenient.
But she said layout alterations also offer a chance to think about a future for Bath with fewer vehicles on the roads.
She added: “Some of the measures could be introduced on an experimental basis including allocating additional road space to improve cycling and walking for daily commuting and better signage across the area.
“We have launched a new Liveable Neighbourhoods website to capture people’s views on ways to improve walking and cycling and I would encourage people to take part.”
Residents can share their views on the new Liveable Neighbourhoods website here.
For further information on the temporary measures, including Frequently Asked Questions, please visit the councils website here.