RESIDENTS are being given the opportunity to reclaim Tameside's streets as safe places to play and exercise.
Quiet Streets is one of Tameside Council's Safe Streets Save Lives initiatives to help residents maintain social distancing while taking part in activities outside their home.
It enables residents to apply to have their street temporarily closed to traffic to allow for pursuits in a secure environment — bringing the community together while keeping at safe distance during coronavirus restrictions.
Activities could include: cycling, scooting or running; dance or exercise classes; or play sessions with children enjoying skipping, hopscotch or other games in the fresh air outside their home.
It's completely free to become a Quiet Street and a downloadable guide and templates are available to help people through the quick and easy process. It may not be possible to close some roads, such as A or B roads.
Quiet Streets are being created across the UK to give households who have limited access to outdoor areas a safe space on their doorstep. The pandemic has meant more people are using outdoor public spaces to exercise, but this makes social distancing more difficult.
It's suggested that roads are closed for several hours at a time to give all households the opportunity to benefit while maintaining social distancing. The closures could happen regularly, such as once or several times a week. Residents can choose what they would like to do, as long as everyone adheres to current guidelines for meeting people outside. At the moment this means maintaining a two metre distance from anyone not in your household or part of your exclusive social bubble, and making sure you are in a group of no more than six people. On 4th July, this changes to 'one metre plus' – staying at least one metre apart while observing precautions – and two households being able to meet outdoors regardless of size.
Tameside Council Executive Leader Cllr Brenda Warrington said: "We want to do everything we can to enable our residents to reclaim their streets as safe spaces to exercise and play while keeping socially distanced. Quiet Streets is a resident-led initiative that provides a quick and easy process to create a traffic-free space that will support those with limited or no access to gardens or large open spaces.
"Fresh air, activities and exercise are vital in keeping body and mind fit and well and by working together we can create healthier and safer communities."
The council is keen to help communities reduce levels of pollution and car usage and, once social distancing rules are lifted, will be working with residents to create play streets, a similar UK initiative focusing on bringing everyone together to facilitate play and build stronger, safer and happier communities.
To see information about the other initiatives or to give your feedback please visit www.tameside.gov.uk/travelsafe
How Quiet Streets Work
- Notify affected households: a notification letter is available to download at www.tameside.gov.uk/quietstreets or paper copies can be sent. It's also a great opportunity to set up a WhatsApp or Facebook group for your community and see if anyone is interested in helping steward the Quiet Street.
- Apply to the council using a notification form, available to download. The council will respond as soon as possible.
- Remind your neighbours before your first Quiet Street session, again reminder notes are available to download.
- While you can't stop people parking on the street, a note could be left on windscreens asking owners to make other arrangements when the road is being used as a Quiet Street.
- Someone will need to be available to put up "Road Closed" signs, and potentially diversion signs, to steward any vehicles through the street should they need to pass through and to make sure everyone is maintaining a social distance. Roads can be blocked with easily moveable objects such as wheelie bins or rope.