The Urban Design Group has published a "How to Guide - Fast Urban Change for Life Saving Streets" to help local authorities to  fast-track changes in street design using measures that can be implemented  within the existing  powers of a local authority and without the need for lengthy bureaucracy. 

With a partial relaxation of the COVID-19 Lockdown, people who cannot work from home are being encouraged to return, but without using public transport. With the restrictions on the amount of exercise being lifted, streets and urban spaces are also under increasing pressure. Local authorities have been meeting these challenges by  introducing a range of measures from traffic-free periods in city centres and neighbourhoods; creating low traffic neighbourhoods; undertaking pavement extensions at pinch points or busy areas; and creating temporary or ‘pop-up’ cycle routes like in Leicester ( as illustrated)

The guide sets out how local authorities can create better space for making movement safer, leisure, children’s play and neighbourhoods.

UDG’s approach to space

  • Space for movement: Social distancing mean that public transport systems will be running at as little as a tenth of their capacity, leaving millions of journeys a day needing to be made by other means. UDG is concerned that if people switch these journeys to cars, towns and cities will grind to a halt, air quality will deteriorate and road danger will increase. UDG says: "Make walking and cycling the easiest and most safe ways to get about."
  • Space for work and leisure: Space need to be used a way that is best for people, society, and the environment. UDG says: "Space outside shops, cafes, restaurants, and bars will enable the economy to be unlocked, and people to safely come together. Extra space can be provided swiftly by extending footways."
  • Space for children and neighbourliness: The COVID-19 crisis has bought communities together. UDG says: "To keep residential streets as places where children can learn to ride a bike or play together, and community life can flourish, Play Streets, School Streets and low traffic neighbourhoods with 20mph limits can be created at minimal cost."

The Urban Design Group is an organisation that works to improve the quality of new housing and urban development in the UK and internationally.


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