MEASURES to give pedestrians and cyclists in Tameside more safe space to travel and exercise while social distancing are being quickly implemented.
The work is taking place as part of the wider Greater Manchester #SafeStreetsSaveLives campaign in response to a Government drive to create enhanced shared spaces during the coronavirus lockdown and through recovery.
It aligns with statutory guidance sent to local authorities on reallocating road space in response to the coronavirus outbreak to encourage cycling and walking while enabling social distancing.
As more people return to work, the initiative will help with safe and sustainable travel.
Tameside Council's proposals include key worker corridors for Ashton town centre with areas temporarily coned off for cyclists and pedestrians as well as extended footpaths to enable social distancing outside supermarkets.
There are also plans for 'access only' quiet streets – based on the existing 'play streets' model - where residents can exercise on safer roads with no through traffic.
Other measures to create more space for social distancing include upgrading cycle lanes, creating temporary crossings, de-cluttering street furniture, removing guard rails and schemes to calm traffic.
The emergency changes will be matched to help ease social distancing at specific locations such as areas outside shops, transport hubs or routes to hospitals in the districts and funded through the Mayor's Cycling and Walking Challenge Fund.
Across Greater Manchester walking and cycling now accounts for approximately 33% of all journeys with cycling up 22% compared to pre-lockdown data, whilst there has been a dramatic fall in traffic volumes, congestion and air pollution.
By encouraging the use of sustainable modes of transport, Greater Manchester is looking to Build Back Better as part its recovery plans while supporting the bold ambition to be carbon neutral by 2038 and honour its commitment to becoming a become a walking and cycling city-region.
Tameside Council Executive Leader Cllr Brenda Warrington said: "We've moved quickly to begin implementing these measures, as instructed by the Government, so that our residents have safe spaces to walk and cycle when travelling to and from work and school and exercising."
Tameside's Executive Member for Transport and Connectivity Cllr Warren Bray said: "It is important that we support our communities to recover and that we build on the positive increase we have seen in the numbers of people walking and cycling in recent weeks. These measures will enable us to do both of those things."
For more information see www.tfgm.com/safestreets