More space for social distancing on two of Birmingham’s busiest high streets

Published: Thursday, 7th May 2020

Birmingham City Council will introduce measures to increase space for pedestrians on two of the city’s busiest high streets, Erdington High Street and Kings Heath High Street, over the coming days.

The UK lockdown has seen significant changes in travel patterns, including an increase in people walking and cycling and less cars on the road. However, some challenges have also arose in terms of maintaining social distancing in busy local centres.

Council officers have been out to assess areas where there is high pedestrian activity and difficulties in achieving safe social distancing, with Erdington High Street and Kings Heath High Street identified as a high priority.

With a large number of essential shops and services still open, Erdington High Street was experiencing issues with people social distancing safely due to narrow pavements and on-street parking. Parking will be temporarily removed from various sections of the High Street to temporarily widen pavements.

Similar challenges were faced by Kings Heath High Street. A demonstration project for air quality improvements – including pavement widening and suspension of parking bays – had already been developed and is now being progressed.

Residents will see the agreed temporary measures, in both locations, implemented over the coming days.

The measures will be monitored, and additional measures or alterations will be made where required. Birmingham City Council is continuing to assess other local centres across the city and further measures will be announced over the coming weeks.

Councillor Waseem Zaffar, Cabinet Member for Transport and Environment said: “The pandemic has highlighted the need to provide more safe spaces in our local centres for walking, cycling and social distancing.

“We are grateful to members of the local community who have contacted us with their suggestions and have been out to assess local centres as quickly as we can. 

“These two schemes are just the start. We will continue to monitor travel patterns as lockdown restrictions are eased to review where further action is needed. This will look at safety issues, but also how to encourage and enable people to walk and cycle, so car-free travel is seen as a viable option for many trips, especially in local areas.”

“Longer term, we want to see a low-carbon recovery in Birmingham in line with our vision for a sustainable, green, inclusive transport network that supports economic growth, tackles climate change and promotes the health and wellbeing of all citizens.”

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