Making public places safer
As we begin to recover from the coronavirus pandemic and lockdown restrictions are eased, our roads and open spaces will become busier. The importance of staying safe and saving lives by keeping to social distancing guidelines still remains. Being able to keep at least 2 metres apart when outside our homes will ensure we help protect the most vulnerable and reduce the rate of infection.
As a council, our statutory duty is to make these rules as easy as possible to follow. This might be taking simple measures, such as cutting back vegetation to widen footpaths or installing signs and social distancing reminders on pavements. Some schemes however will have a bigger impact, such as making our town centres pedestrian areas only or creating pop-up cycle lanes at busy points. We also want to maintain some of the positive changes seen during this time, such as an increase in cycling and fewer cars on our roads.
We need to work quickly to introduce these measures and help to keep everyone safe, whilst still engaging with communities and road users. We are constantly reviewing any measures we put in place and have fast tracked our procedures for suggesting new safety schemes.
Our approach to keeping people safe is made up of five themes:
- High Streets: supporting our High Streets through recovery and bringing back trade within a safe and secure environment
- Return to work: supporting businesses to help staff travel to and from work safely and sustainably by promoting key cycling and walking routes
- Schools re-opening: supporting schools return by protecting students and providing safe access and spaces at and near school gates
- Parks and open spaces: supporting our residents by providing access to safe environments in our parks and open spaces for people to exercise and enjoy leisure time
- Public transport: supporting our public transport partners by managing bus stops safely
Read about each of the themes below by expanding the sections.
We are looking at introducing measures that support and encourage more walking and cycling in and around our town centres and local communities. We need to act quickly to make these changes as non-essential businesses start to reopen from 15 June 2020. These measures will also support local trade and businesses, enabling easy and safe access for the public.
Shops, restaurants and cafes will need to trade outside, immediately in front of their premises. We will need to provide extra space for people to get around safely, and be able to maintain social distancing, whether on foot or bicycle. There is limited space available, so road space for cars will need to reduce. We will however continue to maintain our network of council car parks and their associated free parking.
Staple Hill High Street
From Monday 6 July we will relocate the temporary closure barriers on Charnell Road to the Teewell Hill end of the road. This is following feedback from residents and will help them access their properties.
For more information read our frequently asked questions
Thornbury High Street
From Monday 8 June, the High Street between The Close and Castle Court is closed to all through traffic, effectively pedestrianising the town centre. This will help to boost the economy and allow people to shop safely as lockdown restrictions are eased. Further information is available in our frequently asked questions document and traders are welcome to download and print our social distancing poster to use on their premises.
Update Friday 3 July
We have been grateful to receive feedback from a number of traders, hospitality owners, residents and visitors, as a result of which we have reviewed the measures as they stand and the following changes will be made from Friday 3 July:
- The police parking bay will be changed to disabled parking and extra disabled parking will be added.
- The ‘hard’ road closure will be replaced by a ‘soft’ closure. This means, the welfare facilities, security guards, cones and signs will be replaced, initially by barriers with a three-metre gap in the main carriageway to allow deliveries and emergency vehicles through. It will be monitored by cameras. In a few weeks’ time the barriers will be replaced with large, attractive planters that are currently on order.
- The current two-way traffic system for deliveries through the closure will be replaced with a one-way system from the Castle Court end towards Chapel Street.
- The closure will be extended to Chapel Street, with changes to road markings, so the High Street road will sweep to the right and direct traffic down Chapel Street.
- The road between Chapel Street and The Close will be restricted for residents and blue badge holders. This is to reduce the number of vehicles turning in The Close and to protect children exiting the playing fields.
Return to work
We want to encourage those who have taken up cycling or walking to work to continue doing so, whilst maintaining social distancing and helping us all to stay safe.
- investigating pop-up cycle lanes along important routes and at busy areas
- clearing vegetation on some of our busiest cycle routes to maximise the width of pathways
- improving access to cycling and walking routes
- installing social distancing reminder signs and stencils on pavements
We have also brought forward some of our existing schemes while the roads are quieter:
- Great Stoke (rabbit roundabout) in Stoke Gifford will be completed three months earlier – we have opened up new shared use pathways with this scheme to help with social distancing
- A4018 shared use pathway and new crossing to provide safer facilities for cyclists and pedestrians – work started on 5 May instead of January 2021 and is due for completion in the autumn
Bristol Parkway railway bridge
From Sunday 14 June, the road under the railway will be reduced to one lane of traffic using shuttle traffic signals. This is to make space so cyclists and pedestrians can socially distance while using the shared use pathways on either side of the carriageway. Further information on this scheme is available in our frequently asked questions document.
- creating additional footpath space by reallocating some road space
- suspending parking bays in some locations
- installing reminder signs and stencils on pavements
To begin, we have concentrated on introducing these measures to 29 primary schools identified as higher risk, due to their busy location or narrow access. This will be followed by working with our secondary schools as they plan to return from 15 June.
Frampton Cotterell Primary School ‘school street’
Following a request from Frampton Cotterell Church of England Primary School and communicating with residents directly affected, we are trialling a ‘school street’ on the road directly outside the school. A section of the road will be closed to motorised traffic between 3pm and 3.45pm Monday to Friday during term time.
A school street ensures that parents, carers, and their children can maintain social distance when leaving the school at the end of the day. School streets is part of a national campaign which also aims to reduce congestion and improve air quality and road safety as well as encouraging active travel to school and healthier lifestyles for families.
Access for emergency vehicles will be maintained. Residents within this section of road will be asked to avoid entering and leaving during the 45-minute closure each day. A member of staff from the school however will be present during the closure to allow residents to use the road if necessary.
The staff member will put out and remove cones and ‘road closed’ signs each day and permanent diversion signs will be in place around the area to ensure drivers are aware of the closure.
Parks and open spaces
All our parks and open spaces have remained open since restrictions were put in place. As guidelines have now changed and people are getting out and about more, it is essential that these facilities remain safe spaces for us all to visit.
Measures we are introducing include:
- guidance for all visitors to our parks and open spaces
- social distancing markers in our busiest parks
- temporary closure of some car parks and facilities
- signs, banners and stencils to remind users of social distancing
- new protocols and risk assessments for friends and volunteer groups
Schemes in place
The map shows you the measures implemented across South Gloucestershire to help maintain social distancing. Select a marker for further information on that location.
Answers to your questions
Our contact centre is currently receiving a high number of enquiries, so we have pulled together the common questions we are being asked, this information is updated regularly. Visit our answers to your questions page.
Have your say
To make a suggestion for improvements in your area, complete a request form.