Mind the gap!

Across the UK local authorities have been responding to the pandemic by improving our streets for walking and cycling.

There is more to do and with the release of the Emergency Active Travel Fund in England, now is a good time to urge your council to make temporary and permanent changes to your local area.

Campaign update

Our Rachel and Matthew discuss examples of how councils have reacted to the outbreak to make streets safer for walking and cycling, and look at ways we can keep momentum.


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Examples of interventions around the country


Closure of Madeira Road on the city's seafront was one of the first high-profile interventions in Britain. 



We caught up with Cllr Caro Wild, Cabinet Member for Strategic Planning & Transport, about the measures introduced in the Welsh capital.



A £5M fund was set up to create more space for walkers and cyclists. Widening pavements, decluttering street furniture and traffic calming measures on residential streets will be implemented as part of the #SafeStreetsSaveLives campaign. 

In Deansgate a stretch of road between King Street West and Blackfriars Street has been closed to traffic, to allow more room for pedestrians and cyclists as lockdown restrictions begin to ease.

How will it work? 

Surface guard barriers have been installed to prevent traffic – including buses and taxis – from entering the stretch of Deansgate, with exceptions given for emergency vehicle access and time windows for loading, between 6am and 8am Monday to Saturday. The space will also be used for events and markets, to generate local business activity and increase footfall.

What are or might be the long-term applicability? 

Although the initial changes are taking place on a temporary basis, under an “experimental” traffic order, it is hoped that the changes will become permanent – following an open consultation with residents, local businesses and other parties affected.

Councillor Angeliki Stogia, executive member for the Environment, Planning and Transport said the changes to Deansgate, said that the changes to Deansgate, as well as other areas such as Princess Street and London Road in the city centre “will aid the economy in its recovery, boost air quality and contribute to the city’s ambitious target of becoming zero-carbon by 2038.”

Edinburgh has benefitted from the £10M fund given by Scottish Government to help local authorities in Scotland. In Edinburgh this will result in road lane closures and the implementation of temporary cycle lanes. 

London has seen the launch of Streetspace – a campaign by the Mayor to widen pavements across the city. The idea is this will accommodate a possible ten-fold increase in cycling and five-fold increase in walking when lockdown restrictions are eased. Low-traffic neighbourhoods will be created across London to enable more people to walk and cycle as part of their daily routine too. Hackney Council has already implemented widening of pavements in key locations in the borough.  

Sheffield The Mayor of Sheffield City Region Dan Jarvis and Active Travel Commissioner Dame Sarah Storey have asked for flexibility in funding, to allow South Yorkshire to use the £166million allocated to the region through the Transforming Cities Fund to be used to make space for walking and cycling quickly during the pandemic. 

Leicester has introduced temporary cycle lanes and traffic lights have been altered to give priority to pedestrians and cyclists.  

Bradford is reducing speed limits in town centres to 20mph, widening footways, Widening of non-segregated cycle lanes on roads, Pedestrian crossings have been modified to automatically provide a ‘green man’ crossing signal without the need for people to push the call button. Working in partnership with Capital of Cycling to loan bicycles to key workers and hiring a ‘Cycling and Active Travel Champion’ officer.