Solihull Council is considering an emergency programme of cycling and walking measures to aid social distancing and access to local employment, schools and shops across the borough.

A report ‘COVID19 – Emergency Walking & Cycling Measures’ will be discussed at Councillor Ken Hawkins, Cabinet Member for Environment & Highways, decision making session on Thursday 28 May.

The report looks at a number of temporary active travel related measures to support a phased approach to reopening businesses, schools, retail sites to kickstart economic recovery in line with Government policy.

For the foreseeable future, many workers will continue to work from home rather than their normal physical workplace.  Also, the Government guidance is that everybody (including critical workers) should continue to avoid public transport wherever possible, which has resulted in a noticeable increase in walking and cycling within Solihull.

The proposed emergency measures are being driven by the need for social distancing and also to improve cycling and walking provision in order to provide people with a practical alternative to public transport.

These proposals will also help make sure the road, bus and rail networks are ready to respond as demand increases, as well as making healthier habits easier now and in the future.

Councillor Ken Hawkins, Cabinet Member for Environment & Highways, said:

“As we try to emerge from the lockdown in the coming months we need to ensure that people can travel around the borough safely and maintain social distancing.

“I have asked for a report to be presented to me on Thursday to support cyclists and pedestrians across the borough with options that we can put in place by the Government’s 1 June deadline, for our first steps on the road to recovery.

“It’s clear for the foreseeable future that public transport will be problematic, so it’s important that people have other travel options. We need to begin planning for further relaxations of the current guidelines as our economy recovers.

“As part of this planning we have been asked by the Government to consider how cycling and walking can support the remodelling of public transport journeys and make sure local road networks do not suffer severe congestion as people return to work by car.

“The pandemic has provided an unwelcome opportunity, but an opportunity none-the-less to look again at our transport network.  Thursday’s report is the first step towards building a transport network that not only supports our economy but also takes account of the climate change challenge and our ambition to be a zero carbon Council by 2030 and zero carbon region by 2041.”