It looks like the Covid-19 virus, and others like it in the future, will be with us for the foreseeable future. It’s inevitable that we are going to have to adopt social distancing into our future lifestyles, meaning we’re going to have to keep at least two metres apart when out in public.
Over the years it hasn’t seemed important for council planners to provide much space for walking, let alone cycling, infrastructure, and now some local authorities are hurriedly trying to expand this to enable space on our streets for social distancing.
On 7 May Deputy Minister for Economy and Transport Lee Waters announced that there would be funding made available to local authorities in Wales to provide temporary alterations to streets to make social distancing possible:
Today I am writing to all local authorities in Wales to invite them to put forward expressions of interest to introduce temporary measures to improve the safety and conditions for sustainable and active travel modes in their area.
We will make grant funding available to respond quickly to the transport opportunities and challenges that the Covid 19 crisis brings.
We also view this as an opportunity to assess and highlight the most important areas of the city for these alterations to occur, and to ensure that these get priority. A new online community resource has emerged called WidenMyPath, that shows transport hot-spots and allows anybody to add their own to the map.
The interactive map below shows all the hot-spots that have been added so far; click and drag the map to move it, click on each icon to see the suggestion for improvement, click on the thumb to agree, and feel free to add your own!
As this is a community-led resource we feel that the data gathered is invaluable for making improvements to walking and cycling in Cardiff, and we will be presenting it as such to the relevant council officials.
With any luck some of these changes will be implemented and, once the emergency is over, perhaps some of them will stick.