From next Monday, changes to Staple Hill High Street will be introduced on a trial basis to help people to shop in a safe environment and keep to social distancing guidelines as we emerge from COVID-19 restrictions.
As we begin to recover from the coronavirus pandemic and lockdown restrictions are eased, roads and high streets are becoming busier. South Gloucestershire Council says that staying safe and saving lives by keeping to social distancing is more important than ever to help protect the most vulnerable and reduce the rate of infection.
“We have a statutory duty to make it as easy as possible to follow rules for social distancing in public places and we are working on several projects to make public places safer.
“The changes involve installing traffic signals on the High Street and reducing the road to one lane of traffic across the junction with Page Road, which will enable us to create additional space for pedestrians and cyclists to use.
“Traffic will be separated from the pedestrian and cycling areas with barriers and a temporary crossing will be in place. Parking bays on the north side of the High Street, a bus bay and the current, signal-controlled pedestrian crossing will be suspended for the time being.
“Page Road will be closed to through traffic between the free car parks and there will be no direct access to the High Street for motor vehicles. We will signpost the routes to free car parks on Page Road from the High Street.”
The council says that following feedback from residents and discussions with local councillors, it is also closing Signal Road and Charnell Road to through traffic from Monday to prevent congestion on nearby roads and to improve access to the Bristol & Bath Railway Path for cyclists and pedestrians.
Tonight Cabinet Member for Planning, Transport and Strategic Environment, Cllr Steve Reade, said: “These changes are part of our emergency response to the COVID-19 pandemic in order to help stop the spread of the virus and save lives in our local communities as lockdown eases.
“We have a statutory duty to make it as easy as possible to follow rules for social distancing and we are supporting the local economy by giving shoppers the confidence to start using their High Street again by providing space to queue and pass each other at a safe distance while enabling businesses to trade outside where possible.
“Further schemes across South Gloucestershire will be announced over the coming weeks.”
The council welcomes feedback on the trial at www.sustrans.org/space-to-move
We understand that plans for social distancing measures in Hanham High Street are being worked on although nothing has been finalised as yet.