Bristol Green Party Logo

Wednesday, 15th Apr 2020

Coronavirus: Bristol Greens call for calmer streets and more space for social distancing

UPDATE 14th May 2020: In response to these calls from Bristol Green Party, Bristol Cycling Campaign, Living Streets and others, Bristol City Council has now announced some road improvements. This is an important step in the right direction which Bristol’s Green Councillors are pleased to see. However, many busy streets have not been included yet, so we will continue lobbying for other roads where we know that road space reallocation is necessary, and we will keep a close eye on timescales and delivery.

15th April 2020

Bristol’s Green Councillor group have today called on Bristol Council to look into road space reallocation and traffic calming measures to combat coronavirus. The measures proposed are aimed at making it easier for people in the city to exercise safely while social distancing and to reduce demands on the NHS.

Leader of the Green Councillor Group, Eleanor Combley, sent an email (see below) to Mayor Marvin Rees and the Cabinet Transport lead Councillor Kye Dudd outlining some of the measures that the Council might look into, including taking space from cars to widen pedestrian space in busy areas or near shops, filtering measures to slow traffic in residential areas, and temporary widening of cycle lanes. She said “we should do everything in our power to keep people safe”.

As cities around the world implement measures to allocate more road space to cyclists and pedestrians in response to the pandemic, UK Councils are starting to look into the issue. Brighton and Hove Council recently confirmed they are exploring similar measures, and Hackney councillors are expected to vote soon on a list of ‘filtered’ streets.

Leader of Bristol Green Group, Councillor Eleanor Combley said:
“During this crisis it is important that we do everything we can to reduce the burden on the NHS. We can do that by keeping people safe and preventing road traffic accidents. And we can also help slow the spread of COVID-19 by ensuring people have the space to move around for exercise or essential shopping at a safe distance from each other. That is why I am calling on Bristol City Council to take temporary measures to make more space available to pedestrians and cyclists and reduce crowding.

“Cities across the world are already doing this, from Auckland to Winnipeg and from Berlin to Bogota, and in the UK Transport for London and other councils such as Brighton and Manchester are already actively considering what can be done. We should do everything in our power to keep people safe.”

Email from Cllr Eleanor Combley

FAO Mayor Marvin Rees and Cabinet Transport Lead Kye Dudd

Anecdotal evidence and stories in the media suggest that some Bristol residents are finding it hard to practise social distancing when outside the house for shopping or exercise – many of the pavements in our city are not wide enough to allow for the 2 metres recommended distance. There have also been many reports by residents and police forces that some drivers are taking advantage of quieter streets to drive dangerously fast. This poses even more of a danger to people who are finding they need to step into the road to adhere to social distancing on busy pavements.

To tackle this, we believe the Council should look at what it can do to temporarily reclaim streets for people and communities. Other councils such as Brighton & Hove, Hackney, as well as Transport for London are looking into road space reallocation measures. Some cities like Manchester have already taken action. Traffic calming measures, combined with measures to provide more space for people, can help us tackle the pandemic in Bristol by:

  • Reducing chances of transmission of covid-19 while people are outside the house
  • Allowing people taking daily exercise to safely social distance
  • Reducing road traffic accidents and thus strain on local hospitals

In order to achieve this we call on you to commit the Council to explore how we might implement some or all of the following measures in Bristol:

  • Cones or other temporary measures to widen pavement space in areas with significant footfall or outside busy shops
  • Temporary measures to close residential streets to through traffic
  • Temporary walking and cycle lanes where possible to be reclaimed from the road
  • Filtering measures to slow traffic in residential streets (As Hackney council is doing)
  • Changing traffic priority measures to improve pedestrian crossing times (to prevent crowds forming while waiting to cross)
  • Extending 20mph to any residential roads not already covered by it – leading doctors have been calling for this to lower the baseline demands placed on the NHS, for example this article in the British Medical Journal.
  • Temporary road pedestrianisation
  • Temporary widening of bike lanes where possible to allow cyclists safe overtaking

These measures could be implemented through introducing an Experimental Traffic Order, or there may be other mechanisms available. We encourage the Cabinet member to liaise with his counterparts in other Councils that are leading on this, to explore creative solutions. We know council staff are busy at the moment, but highways workers have been continuing work such as re-lining existing cycle lanes during the pandemic, and given the multiple benefits of reallocating space to pedestrians outlined above, it would be worth prioritising. You will of course want to liaise with emergency services about any such measures.

Thank you so much for your consideration of this matter, and for all the work you are doing at this time of crisis.

Eleanor Combley
Councillor, Bishopston and Ashley Down
Leader, Green Group, Bristol City Council

-          Cones or other temporary measures to widen pavement space in areas with significant footfall or outside busy shops

-          Temporary measures to close residential streets to through traffic

-          Temporary walking and cycle lanes where possible to be reclaimed from the road

-          Filtering measures to slow traffic in residential streets (As Hackney council is doing)

-          Changing traffic priority measures to improve pedestrian crossing times (to prevent crowds forming while waiting to cross)

-          Extending 20mph to any residential roads not already covered by it – leading doctors have been calling for this to lower the baseline demands placed on the NHS, for example this article in the British Medical Journal.

-          Temporary road pedestrianisation

Temporary widening of bike lanes where possible to allow cyclists safe overtaking

Cleo Lake launches GiveNTech campaign to tackle digital exclusion

Cleo Lake launches #GiveNTech campaign to tackle digital exclusion

Green Councillor Cleo Lake has launched a campaign to redistribute unused IT equipment to tackle digital exclusion during pandemic

Protecting renters shouldnt mean that renters pay more

‘Protecting renters’ shouldn’t mean that renters pay more

Green Councillor Carla Denyer has responded with alarm to Labour’s ‘five-point plan to protect renters’, which would require struggling tenants to take an economic hit, rather than landlords.

Trace every case of coronavirus to save lives

Trace every case of coronavirus to save lives

Bristol’s Green Party councillors have called for a new local emergency workforce to “contact trace” new cases of coronavirus to be ready for when the country emerges from lockdown. They call for a local system of testing, contact tracing and quarantine which would enable us to take control of the deadly coronavirus, save lives and avoid further lockdown. The call follows a Green report (1) on the issue published earlier in the month and increasing calls from public health officials for Government to rethink its centralized approach which puts too much focus on a tracing app without the wider system of support needed. (2)

People need clean safe air now more than ever  Greens call on Mayor to rethink delays

“People need clean, safe air now more than ever” - Greens call on Mayor to rethink delays

Bristol’s Green Councillors have questioned the Mayor‘s calls to delay the start date of Bristol’s Clean Air Zone next year, pointing to mounting evidence that air pollution is linked to greater fatalities from Coronavirus

Green Councillors more funding needed for coronavirus support

Green Councillors: more funding needed for coronavirus support

Bristol Green councillors have joined Green councillors from across the country demanding urgent funding for local authorities to tackle the coronavirus crisis.

Coronavirus Bristol Greens call for calmer streets and more space for social distancing

Coronavirus: Bristol Greens call for calmer streets and more space for social distancing

Bristol’s Green Councillor group have today (Wednesday April 15) called on Bristol Council to look into road space reallocation and traffic calming measures to combat coronavirus.

Information and support in Bristol

Information and support in Bristol

Coronovirus (COVID 19) – what we all need to know We must stay at home to protect the NHS and save lives. Only go outside for food, health reasons or work (where this absolutely cannot be done from home). If you have to go out stay 2 metres (6ft) away from other people. Wash your hands as soon as you get home. Do not meet others, even friends or family as you can spread the virus even if you don’t have symptoms.

We will continue to work hard for you

We will continue to work hard for you

We have all been affected in different ways by the coronavirus pandemic, but it is the most vulnerable across our city who continue to be impacted the most.

A defunct plan for a bygone era  regional authority approves roadbuilding plans

A defunct plan for a bygone era” - regional authority approves road-building plans

Last Friday (20 March) the West of England Combined Authority (WECA) approved a transport plan that will fund new road building projects across the region but commits no funding for public transport or walking and cycling schemes.

Greens lift the ban on asylum seekers working

Greens: 'lift the ban' on asylum seekers working

Green Councillors call for end to illogical ban on asylum seekers supporting themselves

Council heading in wrong direction on climate emergency

Council heading in wrong direction on climate emergency

Over a year after Bristol Council’s declaration of a Climate Emergency, Green Councillors say the Labour administration are making a series of bad decisions that will only make the emergency worse.

Mayors inaction on air pollution  plans delayed again

Mayor's inaction on air pollution - plans delayed again

Letter on the Mayor's inaction on air pollution from Green Group leader Eleanor Combley

Labour cabinet pass potentially illegal transport plan

Labour cabinet pass 'potentially illegal' transport plan

Last night Bristol’s Labour cabinet passed a regional transport plan that Greens warned is incompatible with the climate emergency and may be illegal under the UK’s climate commitments.

Greens criticise lack of action as climate and transport proposal is blocked

Greens criticise lack of action as climate and transport proposal is blocked

Green councillors have criticised what they called a “business as usual” approach as Labour and Tory councillors voted down a Green amendment to tackle Bristol’s transport issues and reduce carbon emissions.

Green Party welcomes Greta Thunberg to Bristol

Green Party welcomes Greta Thunberg to Bristol

Greta Thunberg has announced she will be visiting Bristol on Friday 28 February to join a Youth Strike 4 Climate demo.

Green budget amendment tackles transport and climate crisis

Green budget amendment tackles transport and climate crisis

Green Councillors have submitted an amendment to next week’s Council budget meeting to deal with Bristol's gridlocked transport system and boost the Council’s work to tackle the climate emergency.

Regions Transport Plan must be changed in light of Climate Emergency

Region’s Transport Plan must be changed in light of Climate Emergency

Green Mayoral candidate, Climate Emergency leader, and UWE transport expert call on the Metro Mayor and Council leaders not to approve the Joint Local Transport Plan in its current form next month, stating that proposed new roads will worsen the climate crisis and congestion.

Bristol Airport expansion plans rejected

Bristol Airport expansion plans rejected

Press Release from Bristol Airport Action Network (BAAN), one of the key campaigning organisations .

Chocolate Path melts into river after council fails to act

Chocolate Path 'melts' into river after council fails to act

Green Councillors have accused Bristol's Labour administration of “enormous incompetence” for failing to carry out important works to repair Bristol’s ‘chocolate path’ long after funding was approved in September 2018, leading to its recent collapse and the closure of Cumberland road.

Why we need to tackle the ecological emergency too

Why we need to tackle the ecological emergency too

Carla Denyer writes for 24/7 about why we need to address the Ecological Emergency as well as the Climate Emergency

Greens to join march against Bristol Airport Expansion

Greens to join march against Bristol Airport Expansion

Bristol Green Councillors will be joining a march taking place 31 January in the city against the expansion of Bristol airport, as the planning decision in North Somerset draws nearer, with the date now set for 10 Feb.

Council passes Green motion to reboot democracy with Citizens Assemblies

Council passes Green motion to ‘reboot democracy’ with Citizens' Assemblies

At Full Council today (14 January) a Green Party motion passed to ‘reboot democracy’, committing Bristol to trialling participatory democracy schemes such as citizens’ assemblies.

Mayor continues to support airport expansion

Mayor continues to support airport expansion

Despite growing pressure from climate activists, local councils and Greens, Bristol’s Labour Mayor Marvin Rees continues to back the expansion of Bristol Airport, a development Greens say is incompatible with Bristol's own carbon neutrality targets.

Reboot democracy with Citizens Assemblies

'Reboot democracy' with Citizens' Assemblies

Green Councillors in Bristol have proposed putting decision making on some major issues in the hands of ordinary Bristolians through ‘Citizens’ Assemblies’ and other forms of participatory democracy.

Bristol Labour block opportunity to oppose airport expansion

Bristol Labour block opportunity to oppose airport expansion

Labour and Tory councillors voted against providing time to debate the Green motion in what could be the last chance for the council to make a statement before the planning decision at North Somerset Council.

Rescuing Our Healthcare  with 6 billion per year

Rescuing Our Healthcare - with £6 billion per year

We will push the government to prioritise the health and happiness of those in Bristol and across the UK.

Green Party Manifesto  to tackle Climate Emergency and deliver Social Justice

Green Party Manifesto - to tackle Climate Emergency and deliver Social Justice.

A Green New Deal to tackle the Climate Emergency and deliver Social Justice.

One year on from declaring a Climate Emergency  is Bristol on track

One year on from declaring a Climate Emergency – is Bristol on track?

One year after declaring a Climate Emergency in Bristol, Greens say new information from environmental group shows the city needs to radically step up action to meet climate targets.

Green candidate Carla Denyer will be only Unite to Remain candidate in Bristol West

Green candidate Carla Denyer will be only ‘Unite to Remain’ candidate in Bristol West

Greens bid to win Bristol West  launch crowdfunder

Greens bid to win Bristol West – launch crowdfunder

Candidate Carla Denyer has launched a crowdfunder campaign aiming to raise enough funds to take the seat from Labour. Greens in strong position to win after Euro results place them ahead of Lib Dems, and Labour suffered devastating electoral defeat.

We use cookies on our website to improve your experience, by using our website you accept the use of these cookies. Read More Close