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The outbreak of Covid-19 has meant we have had to make changes to our lives, including staying apart from loved ones. As social restrictions from government ease, we are also required to make changes to ensure all our residents are kept safe when out and about in Tameside.
 
Local authorities have been provided with statutory guidance from central Government on reallocating road space in response to the coronavirus outbreak to ensure people can walk and cycle while enabling social distancing.
 
Changes to roads and pavements are essential to supporting the local economy as people gradually return to work. Having safe routes on foot or by bike are essential - particularly for those who have been unable to work during the height of the lockdown period and are now returning to work.
 
Furthermore having safe walking and cycling routes is of particular importance given that public transport is operating at a reduced capacity due to social distancing requirements. A significant proportion of Tameside residents (almost 30%) do not have access to their own transport.
 
Due to the fast pace of the situation and with updated rules from government, measures to give pedestrians and cyclists in Tameside more safe space to travel while social distancing are being quickly implemented. Although these changes are mandated, temporary measures, we are seeking to find permanent solutions to make a safer borough for everyone. We therefore want local residents to have their say on these changes so we can work together to explore long-term opportunities and make walking and cycling in Tameside an easier and safer way to travel and the natural choice for residents.
 
There are similar plans in other cities and boroughs, including Manchester, where roads are being pedestrianised to give more space for social distancing on foot. Work is already taking place as part of the wider Greater Manchester #SafeStreetsSaveLives campaign in response to a Government drive to create enhanced shared spaces during the lockdown and through recovery.
 
Across Greater Manchester walking and cycling now accounts for approximately 33% of all journeys with cycling up 42% compared to pre-lockdown data, whilst there has been a dramatic fall in traffic volumes, congestion and air pollution.
 
Tameside Council engineers have identified a number of areas that are a priority to make changes in order to support safer travels on foot and by bike. Our immediate proposals include the introduction of key worker corridors with  areas temporarily  zoned off for cyclists and pedestrians, as well as upgrading existing cycle lanes to provide protected light segregation, where applicable, which should help encourage more people to cycle as they feel safer on the roads.
 
Other measures to create more space for social distancing include decluttering street furniture to enable residents to access key locations safely. Street audits will be carried out to identify pavement pinch points initially focusing on town centres, shopping streets and park entrances.
 
There are also plans for ‘access only’ quiet streets - where residents can exercise on safer roads with no through traffic.
 
As further temporary schemes start to be developed we will include details on this webpage along with an online questionnaire.  As the schemes are being delivered initially on an experimental basis we are keen to hear your views so that we can consider whether changes need to be made, whether the scheme should be removed or made permanent.
 
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