Pop up walking and cycling routes coming to North Somerset

More space will be dedicated to walking and cycling in North Somerset to help people socially distance and support economic recovery.

The move recognises the important role active travel will play in the next phase of Covid-19 and supports the rise of people rediscovering cycling and walking.

Temporary changes to four areas are currently planned in response to the emergency situation – Marine Parade and Meadow Street in Weston, Clevedon seafront and Nailsea High Street.

Marine Parade will continue to stay closed to traffic and signs will go up this week to officially designate the road for walking and cycling only. This will reduce pressure on the promenade allowing people to safely socially distance when exercising.

North Somerset Council’s executive member for transport Cllr James Tonkin said: “We are making these changes for local people to help them stay safe while exercising outdoors. Please, if Marine Parade is not one of your regular exercise routes, do not to make unnecessary journeys. We are asking everyone to explore around their homes rather than travelling and creating further social distancing problems.”

Possible changes to Clevedon seafront are being considered and details will be released in the coming weeks. To support the economic recovery as lockdown eases and to allow more space for people to queue, road space on Meadow Street and Nailsea High Street will be given over to people walking and cycling. This will help small independent businesses to operate safely once they are able to reopen, while still receiving deliveries.

Cllr Tonkin added: “Creating more space for walking and cycling will help the economy while allowing local people to socially distance. It also gives significant health benefits as cycling and walking improves wellbeing, reduces congestion, improves air quality and reduces carbon emissions.

“We are also looking at other opportunities to improve our walking and cycling networks and hope to announce more in the coming months.”

Funding has been identified from the £250m pledged by government for local authorities to make space for cycling and walking. Other sites being considered include further busy daily exercise locations, retail spaces and approaches to schools to help support social distancing as lockdown measures are relaxed. All sites will be monitored to ensure they are effective.