The pandemic shutdown has created an invaluable opportunity to prioritise pedestrians and cyclists, reduce pollution and create better shared space in Lewes, say Cycle Lewes and Lewes Living Streets
Everyone seems to agree that social distancing will remain a key weapon against Covid-19 for some time. Which means we may need to rethink how we use our public spaces, including our roads.
Cycle Lewes and Lewes Living Streets are calling for a redesign of key public roads in Lewes to encourage less traffic, less speeding and create more space for pedestrians and cyclists. This, they believe, could enable residents to move around more easily and safely, encourage visitors and tourists into town, as well as reducing air pollution and carbon emissions (a third of which globally are generated by transport).
Cycle Lewes and Lewes Living Streets have proposed eight steps to reduce traffic and improve shared space in central Lewes:
- Remove on-street parking along Lewes High Street, School Hill, Friars Walk and Lansdown Place (give residents with permits free parking in off-street car parks instead)
- Reallocate that space to pedestrians and contra-flow for cyclists, dependent on configurations.
- Restrict loading and unloading to certain hours in these areas.
- Ban all traffic from Cliffe High Street except during limited loading periods.
- Reduce the amount of ‘through traffic’ coming in/out of Lewes (which should use the A27 by-pass) through signage, narrower carriageways, and change of phasing of traffic lights (including priority for pedestrians).
- Provide two-way access for cyclists on Little East Street (either along its full length or to Albion Street and then make School Hill from Albion Street down to Eastgate Street two-way).
- Restrict motor traffic around schools to pick up and drop off times during term time.
- Rigorously enforce the 20mph and other speed limits in town including use of all CCTV.
Sheila O’Sullivan at Cycle Lewes says: “We recognise the need to develop plans that are sympathetic to our local traders as well as residents and visitors. By working with businesses, their representative bodies, local councillors and residents, we believe we can reduce noise and pollution, enable safe social distancing and make our town a more pleasant place to be.”
She adds; “The recent lockdown has created a golden opportunity to rethink radically how space in central Lewes is used for the benefit of everyone. Let’s not waste it.”
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