Measures to allow more space for social distancing in Torbay include closing a traffic lane in Paignton.
The closure in Station Square is one of six ‘pop-up’ footway and cycle schemes being introduced after the Government agreed £41,000 of funding from Torbay Council’s bid for up to £55,000.
A statement from the council said: “The six temporary schemes, which are being put in place now, are to help improve the local environment for those who want to walk and cycle more around the Bay, whilst maintaining social distancing. It will also help avoid overcrowding on public transport.
“These pop-up schemes have been funded by the Government’s Emergency Active Travel fund for the main purpose of promoting cycling as a replacement for journeys that were previously made on public transport.
“The highest levels of funding has been given to areas which, until the pandemic, had high levels of public transport use, especially for short and local journeys which can now be cycled.”
The six schemes will involve widening of pavements and creating areas of shared space for cyclists and pedestrians. They are:
- Torbay Road, Torquay – temporary widening of the footway that runs under the bridge on the seafront, opposite the Abbey Sands development;
- Torre Abbey Sea Front and Meadows – existing wide footways to be converted into a shared footway and cycle way. This will link to the already existing cycle way in the area;
- Station Square, Paignton – closure of a traffic lane so the footway opposite the Train Station can be extended;
- Marine Drive, Paignton –temporary widening of the footway between Paignton seafront and Preston seafront;
- Dartmouth Road, Paignton – temporary arrangement to provide a shared footway/cycleway to link to existing cycle provision outside of the shops at Waterside;
- Temporary road closures outside two primary schools, Curledge Street in Paignton and Furzeham in Brixham, and will be operational at the beginning and end of the school day to allow for social distancing.
Town centres will be monitored to see if more social distancing issues are identified.
Torbay Council Cabinet member Mike Morey said: “As social distancing guidance is here to stay we need to provide improvements at certain locations across the Bay to encourage more people to walk and cycle for both commuting and pleasure.
“The main purpose of this funding is to promote cycling and walking as a replacement for journeys previously made by public transport.
“This funding will allow us to act in an effort to embed walking and cycling into residents habits and therefore reap the associated health, air quality and congestion benefits.”
The temporary schemes will be monitored during the 18 months they are planned to be in place, and may become permanent.
The council is working on another bid to be submitted in early August for more than £200,000 for permanent schemes.