Cardiff council has revealed plans to make big changes around the city to help people social distance in public places.
Extending pavement space into the road, creating temporary cycleways, and removing street furniture such as benches are just some of the options being considered immediately by the council as part of the ongoing Covid-19 response.
One of the biggest changes will be made on Castle Street in the city centre, where the traffic lane next to the castle will be removed so the walkway can be extended into the road for both pedestrians and cyclists to use.
Elsewhere, the first neighbourhood shopping area in the city which will be adapted for safety reasons is Wellfield Road, where car parking on either side of the road is to be removed to allow the pavement to be extended for the public to use.
Cardiff council said it has been working hard behind the scenes to bring forward a number of pilot schemes designed to keep the public safe and able to socially distance in public spaces.
Caro Wild, cabinet member for strategic planning and transport at Cardiff council, said: “With social distancing expected to be the ‘new normal’ for some time to come, this does pose a significant challenge both for residents and the local authority.
“The pavements in the city were not designed to allow a two metre distance between other people, so public space will have to be adapted to ensure social distancing can be maintained as the city gradually starts to re-open for business.”
The council is also considering carrying out a speed awareness campaign and re-designing public spaces around neighbourhood shopping centres.
Cllr Wild added: “It is important everyone understands that the city can’t be transformed overnight to ensure social distancing guidelines are followed. This is a significant task and we have to be confident that any temporary measures we do put in place are safe for the public to use.
“Wellfield Road is the first neighbourhood shopping area pilot scheme which we are looking to adapt. Once these measures are in place and the necessary assessments are carried out, we will look to bring in other schemes in different areas of the city and work is also underway on creating a ‘safer city centre’ too.
“We will be working with partners in the city centre to ensure any methods we introduce can work for businesses, residents and people travelling to work.”
Other road traffic schemes are also being looked at in the city including bringing forward agreed clean air proposals in the city centre on Castle Street.
Cllr Wild said: “Before the Covid-19 outbreak, the council published and consulted on our 10-year strategic transport vision for the city. This included clean air plans for Castle Street.
“We will now bring forward some of these schemes which will help ensure the safety of the public during the recovery period.
“First up is the traffic lane next to the Castle on Castle Street which will be removed so that the walkway can be extended into the road for both pedestrians and cyclists to use.
“This will run from the Cathedral Road/Cowbridge Road junction, over Canton Bridge, along Castle Street, Duke Street and up to the North Road-Boulevard De Nantes junction.
“We will also be bringing forward the agreed transport improvement scheme in Wood Street and Central Square which will involve pedestrian safety improvements, restrictions on through traffic while ensuring access is maintained for residents and businesses, as well as the development of a new cycleway on Wood Street.”
Further schemes are also being planned to ensure people can safely use sustainable transport to get around the city during the recovery period and further details will be given on these schemes in the weeks ahead.