One unexpected outcome of the Covid-19 Pandemic is a change in the way our streets are used, with the combination of low traffic levels, good weather and a more home centered existence for most of us, our streets have become real community spaces, where neighbours can meet – often for the first time – and keep up social connections as well as finding ways to support each other.
As the lockdown has eased, and we have seen an increase in traffic levels on our streets, we are also compelled to notice how little space we have as pedestrians, with our narrow pavements unfit to support the social distancing regime required. Some people have started to wonder if things can be improved upon for the future – if we can capture the renewed social side of our streets, and better support a more livable environment where walking and cycling are prioritised over the movement of motor vehicles.
As a part of the measures to tackle Covid-19 the Government has released funding to support things like pavement widening and street changes, and our council has a chunk of it to put in place emergency measures now, and also the opportunity to receive funding for longer term changes. Keen that our area should not be left out of this, Forum member group Hanover Action have submitted the following deputation to the council, which will be received by the Environment Transport and Sustainability Committee on Tuesday June 23rd.
The outcome of this will be discussed at our Community Zoom on Thursday 25th. All residents are welcome to join this – see HERE for the link and more information.
Local environmental community group Hanover Action want a Liveable or Low
Traffic Neighbourhood to be created across Hanover. Demand amongst
residents to make the streets more open for people and closed to through traffic
is very high here and has increased since lockdown began. People have enjoyed
the reduction in traffic, while social distancing has been made more challenging
by the narrow streets.
Numerous requests have been made by the residents of Hanover to the
crowdsourcing website WidenMyPath, for measures to reduce traffic and make
active travel easer for cyclists and pedestrians.
Some streets in the area already have minimal traffic, and people in other streets
want the same quality of life, improved social interactions, support of local retail,
and ease of active travel enabled by a Liveable Neighbourhood.
Hanover Action are well placed to support the roll out of a pilot Liveable or Low
Traffic Neighbourhood scheme in the area. We are committed to supporting
council officers in many practical ways to bring this about. We are able to
represent the residents and articulate local issues, and we are well set up to
engage with further residents, to bring the community with us to lay the
groundwork for such a pilot. We are also committed to taking care of subsequent
practical measures, such as looking after street planters and trees, and of course
using the streets to their full social potential. Essentially, we want to support
BHCC’s officers in any way we can to lighten the load and to make a pilot LTN in
Hanover a great success that other areas of the city will want to copy.
The Department for Transport’s emergency COVID-19 transport guidelines
specifically mentioned low traffic neighbourhoods. Please can you commit to
working with us, and harnessing the enthusiasm and commitment in Hanover as
part of your emergency transport activity?
We would be grateful if you could share with us and the public how residents can
feed in to the process and what the timescales are. We would also be grateful if
you could share key decisions with us about the Local Cycling and Walking
Infrastructure Plan and Emergency Active Travel Fund announced by the
Government, in particular, how we might draw on the fund to benefit our area