Road closures and wider pavements introduced to support social distancing

Published: Friday, May 22, 2020

In order to support social distancing measures and ensure the safety of pedestrians and also improve conditions for cyclists, the council will carry out works next week to widen a pavement in Southfields and close a busy road in Balham.

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A stretch of Bedford Hill, close to its junction with Balham High Road will be closed to all non-essential vehicles from early next week.

The closure will prevent all through traffic from entering an area of Bedford Hill between Balham High Road and Rossiter Road. Residents will still be allowed access and any shops that are open can continue to have deliveries - but all other vehicles will be banned.

At the same time, pavements will be widened with temporary barriers so that an ongoing £1m environmental improvement and road safety scheme in Bedford Hill can continue to progress while traffic and footfall is lighter.

Meanwhile, a wider pavement will also be introduced next week in Wimbledon park Road at a busy bus stop near Southfields tube.

The pavement at this location is narrow so will be widened with temporary barriers to allow pedestrians to keep to a safe distance from those queuing for buses.

And similar measures will be introduced at the junction of Elsenham Street and Replingham Road so that pedestrians can maintain a safe distance from engineers working on an ongoing £1.6m Southfields area refurbishment scheme.

And changes are also being made in Huron Road and Elmbourne Road in Tooting Bec where a traffic calming and road safety scheme will resume with changes to the existing parking arrangements so that pavements are made wider allowing pedestrians to keep to the two metre rule.

The changes are being announced just days after the council confirmed it was looking into a range of social distancing measures to help keep pedestrians and cyclists safe during the coronavirus pandemic.

The projects, designed to create more space so that people can more easily follow social distancing guidelines, include the potential closure of some roads, widening pavements and introducing ‘one way’ walking systems on others, improving cycling routes and fast tracking ‘school streets projects’

Transport spokesman Cllr Paul Ellis said: “These changes are just the first in a wider list of measures being investigated and evaluated so that we can improve safety conditions for people walking and cycling.

“Over the course of the coming days and weeks we plan to unveil additional measures to support our residents who are travelling by foot or on bikes. But it is important that the measures we propose are sensible and scrutinised properly so that we can be sure they are effective and don’t simply shift transport problems from one place to another.

“We are fully committed to doing what we can in an imaginative and effective way to encourage people to adopt new forms of travel and supporting them to do so in the safest possible way.”

Residents and businesses can make suggestions for further travel improvement measures by emailing the council’s recently set up Rapid Response Team at