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Lambeth council to spend £75,000 on emergency infrastructure

Joe Robinson
28 Apr 2020

Measures will include improving cycleways and widening footpaths

The London Borough of Lambeth has become the first council in the UK to announce emergency transport spending to improve cycling and walking infrastructure, reclaiming space from motor vehicles.

The council announced that it will be spending £75,000 to improve cycleways and widen pedestrian pathways to help ensure social distancing and safety during the coronavirus pandemic.

Within the proposals set out by the council are plans to temporarily introduce cycle lanes on key routes through the borough and upgrade existing cycleways.

Additionally, the council will be converting some roads into access-only for motor vehicles while other areas will be converted into 'low traffic neighbourhoods' to reduce motor traffic.

Pedestrian walkways will also be widened across the council, notably in Herne Hill, Tulse Hill and Loughborough Junction, to help guarantee social distancing.

Explaining the new plans, strategy manager Simon Phillips said the emergency changes are being made to reflect the habits of how people are now using the streets of London.

'The Covid-19 pandemic has resulted in profound changes to travel patterns and how people are using streets in Lambeth and beyond,' explained Phillips.

'This is likely to continue even after the current emergency period has passed. There is an immediate need to enable physical distancing in order to limit contagion and prevent a second surge, and this cannot always be safely accommodated within existing transport networks and infrastructure.'

Across the channel in France, the region of Il-de-France announced last week that it would be investing €300 million in new cycling infrastructure across Paris with certain parts set to be ready as early as May.

Widespread calls have been made across the UK for councils and government to introduce temporary infrastructure for cyclists and pedestrians during the coronavirus pandemic.

CEO of Brompton Will Butler-Adams co-wrote a letter to parliament calling for them to do more to encourage key workers to travel by bike, notably by converting some roads into temporary bike lanes. 

He also claimed that improved cycling infrastructure would keep people away from public transport, potentially reducing the risk of a second wave of infections.